Indian Barberry

Botanical Name: Berberis asiatica
Kingdom:    Plantae

Common Name:Chutro, Rasanjan (Nep); marpyashi (Newa); Daruharidra, Darbi (Sans)

Habitat:Indian Barberry is native to E. Asia – Himalayas (Nepal)
It is normally found in  shrubberies, grassy and rocky slopes up to 2500 metres. Found in heavy shade, on north-facing slopes  and on open hillsides in the drier areas .

Indian Barberry  is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in) at a medium rate. It is a large thorny shrub with yellow wood & whitish or pale Grey branches.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.


The root-bark is light coloured, corky, almost inodorous, with a bitter, mucilaginous taste. It contains much Berberine, and a dark-brown extract is made from it employed in India under the name of ‘Rusot.’ This extract is sometimes prepared from the wood or roots of different species of Barberry. It has the consistency of opium and a bitter, astringent taste.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate , whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated . When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame

Edible Uses:
Fruit  is eaten  raw or dried and used like raisins. This species is said to make the best Indian raisins. Fully ripe fruits are fairly juicy with a pleasantly acid flavor, though there are rather a lot of seeds. The fruit is abundantly produced in Britain. The fruit is about 8mm long.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial;  Cancer;  Laxative;  Odontalgic;  Ophthalmic;  Tonic.

The roots  are used in treating ulcers, urethral discharges, ophthalmia, jaundice, fevers etc. The roots contain 2.1% berberine, the stems 1.3%. The bark and wood are crushed in Nepal then boiled in water, strained and the liquid evaporated until a viscous mass is obtained. This is antibacterial, laxative and tonic. It is taken internally to treat fevers and is used externally to treat conjunctivitis and other inflammations of the eyes. Tender leaf buds are chewed and held against affected teeth for 15 minutes to treat dental caries. The fruit is cooling and laxative. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Indian berberry has been made official in the Pharmacopoeia of India.It is an amportant indigenous medicine.The bark is useful in restoring the disordered process of neutrition and restores the normal function of the system.It helps open the natural pores of the body, arrest bleeding and induces copious perepiration despite the astrigent properties.The drug also constitute anti-tubercular activities.

Fever: Indian barberry is as valuable as quinine in maleria fevers.It is particularly useful in relieving pyrexia and checking the return of the violent intermittent fevers.The herb’s- bark and the root- bark are given as a decoction. It should be given twice or thrice a day.The decoction is given in doses of 150 grams between paroxysms of fever.

Monorrhagia: Indian barberry arrestes excessieve bleed loss during the monthly period.In skin diseases the decoction of the bark and the root-bark is efficacious as a cleanser for ulcers ans sores, as it helps formation of scar over the wounds.

Stomach Disorders :  Indian barberry is very useful in all kinds of stomach disorders.It is also effective in the treatment of Cholera.It is a popular remedy of diarrhoea and dysentery in Northwern India.It is useful in bleeding piles treatment. It is given with butter. A dilute solution can also be externally applied on the piles.

Eye Problems: The drug is highly beneficial in the treatment of all kinds of eye disorder.
It is mixed with butter and alum or with opium or lime juice and applied externally on the eye lids to cure opthalmia and other eye diseases. Mixed with milk, it can be used effectively as a lotion of Conjunctivitis.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the roots and stems. The spiny branches are used to make fencing around fields in Nepal.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Miracle of Herbs


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