Botanical Name: Berberis concinna
Common Names: Berberry
Habitat: Berberis concinna is native to E. Asia – Himalayas in Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet. It grows on woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade.
Berberis concinna is a low-growing, semi-evergreen shrub. with stout, spiny stems. An erect plant that is much-branched from the base, it can reach a height of 2 metres. It is in flower from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It (2013).
Prefers a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but it is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. A very ornamental plant. Plants can be pruned back quite severely and resprout well from the base.
Through 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: Fruits are edible- eaten raw. The fleshy oblong berries are up to 18mm long.
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.
Other Uses:This is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.The roots and stems of all Berberis species contain alkaloids and, when cut open, are a strong yellow colour. This has been utilized by various cultures to make a yellow dye for cloth etc.
All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid berberine – this is most concentrated in the roots, stems and inner bark, and least concentrated in the fruits. In small quantities berberine has a range of effective medicinal applications but, in excess, can cause vomiting, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, lethargy, and other ill-effects.
The fruit of most, if not all, members of this genus are more or less edible and can be eaten in quantity since the levels of berberine in the fruit are very low.
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.