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Herbs & Plants

Cistus creticus

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Botanical Name : Cistus creticus
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
Species:C. creticus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Cistus incanus auct, Cistus polymorphus, Cistus villosus creticus.

Common Names : Pink Rock-Rose, Hoary Rock-Rose, Rock Rose, Cretan rockrose

Habitat :Cistus creticus is native to southern Europe and the area around the eastern Mediterranean, but is naturalized in other areas of the world, such as California. It grows on amongst the scrub and in bushy places on rocks, dry hills etc to 1000 metres.
Description:
Cistus creticus is a compact and bushy, evergreen shrub, growin.g to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August.The colours of the flowers can vary from rose pink to purple. It prefers a well-drained soil and does best in full sun. All cistus do best if pruned after flowering which will retain shape and provide healthy young growth for next years flowers. The seeds were collected at 2000m if that is relevant. This plant is the source of the resin labdanum – used in perfumes as a replacement for ambergris! Few seeds collected.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position in a dry or moist well-drained light sandy soil. Withstands drought once it is established. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, but they require protection in severe winters. Plants are somewhat hardier when grown in poor soils. This is usually a short-lived plant in cultivation, it probably exhausts itself by its very free-flowering habit. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position. Dislikes pruning or root disturbance. Plants should be pot grown and then planted out in their final positions whilst still small. Individual flowers only last one day but there is a long succession of them. A polymorphic species, some forms do not yield much gum. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. The flowers are very attractive to bees. The leaves, which exude a balsamic resin, are especially fragrant on warm sunny days.
Propagation:
Seed – gather when ripe and store dry. Surface sow in late winter in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out the in the following spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed stores for at least 3 years. Cuttings of softish to half-ripe wood, 8cm long with a heel or at a node, June/August in a frame. Roots are formed within 3 weeks. High percentage. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 8 – 12cm with a heel or at a node, September/October in a frame. High percentage. Lift and pot up in the spring, plant out when a good root system has formed. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The oleo-resin obtained from the leaves and stems is used as a commercial food flavouring in baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum etc.
Medicinal Uses:
This plant is an aromatic, expectorant, stimulant herb that controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects. It is used internally in the treatment of catarrh and diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue. The leaves are harvested in late spring and early summer and can be dried for later use, or the resin extracted from them.

Other Uses :
Resin.

The glandular hairs on the leaves yield the oleo-resin ‘ladanum’, used medicinally and in soaps, perfumery, fumigation etc. This resin is an acceptable substitute for ambergris (which is obtained from the sperm whale) and so is important in perfume manufacture. The resin is collected by dragging a type of rake through the plant, the resin adhering to the teeth of the rake, or by boiling the twigs and skimming off the resin[64, 89]. Most resin is produced at the hottest time of the year.  There is a mauve-flowered variety of this species that is the most prolific producer of the resin

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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cistus_creticus
http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/4551
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cistus+creticus

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Herbs & Plants

Ziziphus mauritiana

Botanical Name : Ziziphus mauritiana
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ziziphus
Species: Z. mauritiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Chinese date Ber, Chinee apple, Jujube, Indian plum, Regi pandu, Indian jujube and masau.
While the better-known, smooth-leaved Chinese jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) of the family Rhamnaceae, is of ancient culture in northern China and is widely grown in mild-temperate, rather dry areas, of both hemispheres, the Indian jujube, Z. mauritiana Lam. (syn. Z. jujuba L.) is adapted to warm climates. It is often called merely jujube, or Chinese date, which leads to confusion with the hardier species. Other English names are Indian Plum, Indian cherry and Malay jujube. In Jamaica it may be called coolie plum or crabapple; in Barbados, dunk or mangustine; in Trinidad and Tropical Africa, dunks; in Queensland, Chinee apple. In Venezuela it is ponsigne or yuyubo; in Puerto Rico, aprin or yuyubi; in the Dominican Republic, perita haitiana; in the French-speaking West Indies, pomme malcadi, pomme surette, petit pomme, liane croc chien, gingeolier or dindoulier. In the Philippines it is called manzana or manzanita (“apple” or “little apple”); in Malaya, bedara; in Indonesia and Surinam, widara; in Thailand, phutsa or ma-tan; in Cambodia, putrea; in Vietnam, tao or tao nhuc. In India it is most commonly known as ber, orbor.
Bengali Name : Kul

Habitat : The species is believed to have originated in Indo-Malaysian region of South-East Asia. It is now widely naturalised throughout the Old World tropics from Southern Africa through the Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent and China, Indomalaya, and into Australasia and the Pacific Islands. It can form dense stands and become invasive in some areas, including Fiji and Australia and has become a serious environmental weed in Northern Australia.

Description:
Z. mauritiana is a medium-sized spiny, evergreen shrub or small tree that grows vigorously and has a rapidly developing taproot, a necessary adaptation to drought conditions. The species varies widely in height, from a bushy shrub 1.5 to 2 m tall, to a tree 10 to 12 m tall with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm. Z. mauritiana may be erect or wide-spreading, with gracefully drooping thorny branches, zigzag branchlets, thornless or set with short, sharp straight or hooked spines.

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The leaves are alternate, ovate or oblong elliptic with rounded apex, with 3 depressed longitudinal veins at the base. The leaves are about 2.5 to 3.2 cm long and 1.8 to 3.8 cm wide having fine tooth at margin. It is dark-green and glossy on the upper side and pubescent and pale-green to grey-green on the lower side. Depending on the climate, the foliage of the Z. mauritiana may be evergreen or deciduous.
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The flowers are tiny, yellow, 5-petalled and are usually in twos and threes in the leaf axils. Flowers are white or greenish white and the fruits are orange to brown, 2–3 cm long, with edible white pulp surrounding a 2-locular pyrene.

This quick growing tree starts producing fruits within three years. The fruit is a soft, juicy, drupe that is 2.5 cm diameter though with sophisticated cultivation the fruit size may reach up to 6.25 cm long and 4.5 cm wide. The form may be oval, obovate, round or oblong; the skin smooth or rough, glossy, thin but tough. The fruit ripen at different times even on a single tree. Fruits are first green, turning yellow as they ripen. The fully mature fruit is entirely red, soft, juicy with wrinkled skin and has pleasant aroma. The ripe fruit is sweet and sour in taste. Both flesh texture and taste are reminiscent of apples. When under ripe the flesh is white and crispy, acid to subacid to sweet in taste. Fully ripe fruits are less crisp and somewhat mealy; overripe fruits are wrinkled, the flesh buff-coloured, soft, spongy and musky. At first the aroma is apple like and pleasant but it becomes peculiarly musky when overripe. There is a single, hard, oval or oblate, rough central stone which contains 2 elliptic, brown seeds, 1/4 in (6mm) long.

Varieties:
In India, there are 90 or more cultivars differing in the habit of the tree, leaf shape, fruit form, size, color, flavor, keeping quality, and fruiting season. Among the important cultivars, eleven are described in the encyclopaedic Wealth of India: ‘Banarasi (or Banarsi) Pewandi’, ‘Dandan’, ‘Kaithli’ (‘Patham’), ‘Muria Mahrara’, ‘Narikelee’, ‘Nazuk’, ‘Sanauri 1’, ‘Sanauri 5’, ‘Thornless’ and ‘Umran’ (‘Umri’). The skin of most is smooth and greenish-yellow to yellow.

Cultivation:
In India, the tree does best on sandy loam, neutral or slightly alkaline. It also grows well on laterite, medium black soils with good drainage, or sandy, gravelly, alluvial soil of dry river-beds where it is vigorously spontaneous. Even moderately saline soils are tolerated. The tree is remarkable in its ability to tolerate water-logging as well as drought.

Propagation:
Propagation is most commonly from seed, where pretreatment is beneficial. Storage of the seed for 4 months to let it after-ripen improves germination. The hard stone restricts germination and cracking the shell or extraction of seeds hastens germination. Without pretreatment the seeds normally germinate within six weeks whereas extracted seeds only need one week to germinate

Seedlings to be used as rootstock can be raised from seed. Several studies indicate that germination can be improved by soaking seeds in sulfuric acid. Germination time can also be shortened to 7 days by carefully cracking the endocarp. Ber seedlings do not tolerate transplanting, therefore the best alternatives are to sow the seeds directly in the field or to use polythene tubes placed in the nursery bed. Seedlings are ready for budding in 3 to 4 months. In addition, seedlings from the wild cultivars can be converted into improved cultivars by top-working and grafting. Nurseries are used for large scale seedling multiplication and graft production. The seedlings should also be given full light. The seedlings may need as long as 15 months in the nursery before planting in the field.

Scientists in India have standardised propagation techniques for Ber establishment. Budding is the easiest method of vegetative propagation used for improved cultivars. Different types of budding techniques have been utilised with ring-budding and shield-budding being the most successful. Wild varieties of ber are usually used as the root-stock. The most common being Z. rotundifolia in India and Z. spina-christi in Africa.

Edible Uses:
In India, the ripe fruits are mostly consumed raw, but are sometimes stewed. Slightly underripe fruits are candied by a process of pricking, immersing in a salt solution gradually raised from 2 to 8%, draining, immersing in another solution of 8% salt and 0.2% potassium metabisulphite, storing for 1 to 3 months, rinsing and cooking in sugar sirup with citric acid. Residents of Southeast Asia eat the unripe fruits with salt. Ripe fruits crushed in water form a very popular cold drink. Ripe fruits are preserved by sun-drying and a powder is prepared for out-of-season purposes. Acid types are used for pickling or for chutneys. In Africa, the dried and fermented pulp is pressed into cakes resembling gingerbread.

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Young leaves are cooked and eaten in Indonesia. In Venezuela, a jujube liqueur is made and sold as Crema de ponsigue. Seed kernels are eaten in times of famine.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits are applied on cuts and ulcers; are employed in pulmonary ailments and fevers; and, mixed with salt and chili peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness. The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative. The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy. They check diarrhea, and are poulticed on wounds. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas.

The leaves are applied as poultices and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever and, together with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds. The bitter, astringent bark decoction is taken to halt diarrhea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis. The bark paste is applied on sores. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as a febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is dusted on wounds. Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion.

Other Uses:
Wood: The wood is reddish, close-grained, fine-textured, hard, tough, durable, planing and polishing well. It has been used to line wells, to make legs for bedsteads, boat ribs, agricultural implements, house poles, tool handles, yokes, gunstocks, saddle trees, sandals, golf clubs, household utensils, toys and general turnery. It is also valued as firewood; is a good source of charcoal and activated carbon. In tropical Africa, the flexible branches are wrapped as retaining bands around conical thatched roofs of huts, and are twined together to form thorny corral walls to retain livestock.

Leaves: The leaves are readily eaten by camels, cattle and goats and are considered nutritious. Analyses show the following constituents (% dry weight): crude protein, 12.9-16.9; fat, 1.5-2.7; fiber, 13.5-17.1; N-free extract, 55.3-56.7; ash, 10.2-11.7; calcium, 1.42-3.74; phosphorus, 0.17-0.33; magnesium, 0.46-0.83; potassium, 0.47-1.57; sodium, 0.02-0.05; chlorine, 0.14-0.38; Sulphur, 0.13-0.33%. They also contain ceryl alcohol and the alkaloids, protopine and berberine.

The leaves are gathered as food for silkworms.

Dye: In Burma, the fruit is used in dyeing silk. The bark yields a non-fading, cinnamon-colored dye in Kenya.

Nectar: In India and Queensland, the flowers are rated as a minor source of nectar for honeybees. The honey is light and of fair flavor.

Lac: The Indian jujube is one of several trees grown in India as a host for the lac insect, Kerria lacca, which sucks the juice from the leaves and encrusts them with an orange-red resinous substance. Long ago, the lac was used for dyeing, but now the purified resin is the shellac of commerce. Low grades of shellac are made into sealing wax and varnish; higher grades are used for fine lacquer work, lithograph-ink, polishes and other products. The trees are grown around peasant huts and heavily inoculated with broodlac in October and November every year, and the resin is harvested in April and May. The trees must be pruned systematically to provide an adequate number of young shoots for inoculation.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziziphus_mauritiana
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/indian_jujube.html#Origin%20and%20Distribution

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Herbs & Plants

Cornus mas

Botanical Name : Cornus mas
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Cornus
Species: C. mas
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cornales

Common Name :European Cornel or Cornelian Cherry.

Habitat :  Cornus mas  is native to southern Europe (from France to Ukraine), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. It grows in woodlands, especially in calcareous soils

Description:
It is a medium to large deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5–12 m tall, with dark brown branches and greenish twigs. The leaves are opposite, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin. The flowers are small (5–10 mm diameter), with four yellow petals, produced in clusters of 10–25 together in the late winter, well before the leaves appear. The fruit is an oblong red drupe 2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter, containing a single seed….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Early winter, Late winter, Mid spring, Mid winter. Form: Rounded.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Border, Firewood, Pest tolerant, Hedge, Screen, Specimen, Woodland garden. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil of good or moderate fertility, ranging from acid to shallow chalk. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil and a sunny position but also succeeds in light shade. Plants are fairly wind resistant. Plants grow and crop well in pots. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. At one time the cornelian cherry was frequently cultivated for its edible fruit, though it has fallen into virtual disuse as a fruit crop in most areas. It is still being cultivated in parts of C. Europe and there are some named varieties. ‘Macrocarpa’ has larger fruits than the type. ‘Nana’ is a dwarf form, derived from a yellow-fruited clone. ‘Variegata’ has been seen on a number of occasions with very large crops of fruit, even in years when the type species has not fruited well. ‘Jolico’ has well-flavoured fruits 3 times larger than the species. There are also a number of cultivars with yellow, white and purplish fruit. Seedlings can take up to 20 years to come into fruit. Plants produced from cuttings come into fruit when much younger, though they do not live as long as the seedlings. A very ornamental plant it flowers quite early in the year and is a valuable early food for bees. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 – 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, taken with a heel if possible, autumn in a cold frame. High percentage. Layering of new growth in June/July. Takes 9 months
Uses:-

Fruit:
The berries when ripe on the plant bear a resemblance to coffee berries, and ripen in mid to late summer. The fruit is edible, but the unripe fruit is astringent. The fruit only fully ripens after it falls from the tree. When ripe, the fruit is dark ruby red. It has an acidic flavour which is best described as a mixture of cranberry and sour cherry; it is mainly used for making jam, makes an excellent sauce similar to cranberry sauce when pitted and then boiled with sugar and orange, but also can be eaten dried. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, the fruit is used for distilling vodka, while in Albania it is distilled into raki. In Turkey and Iran it is eaten with salt as a snack in summer, and traditionally drunk in a cold drink called kizilcik sherbeti. Cultivars selected for fruit production in Ukraine have fruit up to 4 cm long.

Flower:
The species is also grown as an ornamental plant for its late winter flowers, which open earlier than those of forsythia, and, while not as large and vibrant as those of the forsythia, the entire plant can be used for a similar effect in the landscape.

Wood:
The wood of C. mas is extremely dense, and unlike the wood of most other woody plant species, sinks in water. This density makes it valuable for crafting into tool handles, parts for machines, etc.  Cornus mas was used from the seventh century BC onward by Greek craftsman to construct spears, javelins and bows, the craftsmen considering it far superior to any other wood. The wood’s association with weaponry was so well known that the Greek name for it was used as a synonym for “spear” in poetry during the fourth and third centuries BC. In Italy, the mazzarella, uncino or bastone, the stick carried by the butteri or mounted herdsmen of the Maremma region, is traditionally made of cornel-wood, there called crognolo or grugnale, dialect forms of Italian: corniolo.

The red dye used to make fezzes was produced from its bark and tannin is produced from its leaves.

Garden history:
Cornus mas, the Male Cornel, was named to distinguish it from the true Dogberry, the Female Cornel, C. sanguinea, and so it appears in John Gerard’s Herbal. The shrub was not native to the British Isles. William Turner had only heard of the plant in 1548,  but by 1551 he had heard of one at Hampton Court Palace. John Gerard said that it was to be found in the gardens “of such as love rare and dainty plants” and by the 17th century, the fruits were being pickled in brine or served up in tarts.

The appreciation of the early acid yellow flowers, of little individual interest, is largely a 20th-century development.  The Royal Horticultural Society gave Cornus mas an Award of Merit in 1924.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Oil; Oil.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Fruit – raw, dried or used in preserves. Juicy, with a nice acid flavour. The fully ripe fruit has a somewhat plum-like flavour and texture and is very nice eating, but the unripe fruit is rather astringent. It is rather low in pectin and so needs to be used with other fruit when making jam. At one time the fruit was kept in brine and used like olives. The fruit is a reasonable size, up to 15mm long, with a single large seed. A small amount of edible oil can be extracted from the seeds. Seeds are roasted, ground into a powder and used as a coffee substitute

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits have a mildly astringent action. The same fruits, when eaten fresh, are a good gastro-intestinal astringent and used for bowel complaints and fevers, while also used in the treatment of cholera.   Apart from its astringent properties, cornel bark can be used as a tonic and febrifuge.  The flowers are used in the treatment of diarrhea.

Other Uses
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Oil; Oil; Tannin; Wood.

An oil is obtained from the seed. A dye is obtained from the bark. No more details are given. Another report says that a red dye is obtained from the plant, but does not say which part of the plant. The leaves are a good source of tannin. Wood – very hard, it is highly valued by turners. The wood is heavier than water and does not float. It is used for tools, machine parts, etc.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Cornel
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.bestplants.org/plantdetail.pl?ScientificName=Cornus%20mas

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Cornus+mas

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Herbs & Plants

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)/Jaundice Berry

Botanical Name:Berberis vulgaris
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Berberis
Species: B. vulgaris
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Other Names: Berbery, Common Barberry, Jaundice berry, Mahonia,Barberry

Common Names/Synonyms :- Oregon Grape Root, Rocky Mountain Grape, Mahonia, Pepperidge, Pepperidge Bush, Holy Thorn, Sowberry, Oregon Grape, Berberry, Jaundice Berry, and Daruharidra.
Pepperidge, Pepperidge bush, Pipperidge bush, Sowberry

Habitat : Barberry is  native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia;  it is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, and North America. In the United States and Canada, it has become established in the wild over an area from Nova Scotia to Nebraska, with additional populations in Colorado, Idaho, Washington State, Montana, and British Columbia.  Although not naturalised, in rural New Zealand it has been widely cultivated as a hedge on farms. It is cultivated for its fruits in many countries. It grows in hard, gravelly soil in the northeastern states, and sometimes in rich soils in the western states.Hard, gravelly soil in the northeastern states, and sometimes in rich soils in the western state.

Description:
Berberis is a deciduous shrub growing up to 4 m high. The leaves are small oval, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are borne in clusters of 2-5 together, subtended by a three-branched spine 3–8 mm long. The flowers are yellow, 4–6 mm across, produced on 3–6 cm long panicles in late spring. The fruit is an oblong red berry 7–10 mm long and 3–5 mm broad, ripening in late summer or autumn; they are edible but very sour, and rich in Vitamin C.
Flowers: The flowers are small, pale yellow, arranged in pendulous racemes, 10 to 20 per raceme, towards the ends of the branches. Petals are not notched. Flowers: April – June
Berries: About 1/2 inch long, the bright red, oblong and slightly curved berries ripen in August and September. Bark: Has a slight odor and a bitter taste; colors the saliva yellow when chewed.
Leaves: Alternate or in rosettes
from previous year’s leaf axils; spatula shaped, with numerous spiny teeth; veins on the underside are prominent.
Root Bark: Yellow.

Parts Used: Bark of root or stem.

Harvest: Gather the Barberry root and stem bark in spring or fall, around March and November.

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History: Barberry has been used in herbal healing for more than 2,500 years. The ancient Egyptians used it to prevent plagues. India‘s Ayurveda healers used it for dysentery.
During the middle ages, European herbalists used Barberry to treat liver and gallbladder ailments, infections, stomach problems and skin conditions. Russian healers used it for inflammations, high blood pressure, and for abnormal uterine bleeding.
Native American Indians made a bitter brew from the yellow root. Used in small doses, Barberry tonic was used as an effective treatment for heartburn, stomach upset and ulcers. It was also used to stimulate appetite.

Edible Uses:
The berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavor; the thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places, they are not widely consumed. They are an important food for many small birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

A widely available Russian candy called  Barberis is made using extract from the berries, which are pictured on the wrapper.

In Europe, the berries have been traditionally used as an ingredient in making jam. The berries are high in pectin which makes the jam congeal as it cools after having been boiled. In southwestern Asia, especially Iran, the berries are used for cooking, as well as for jam-making. In Iran, barberries are commonly used as a currant in rice pilaf.

Constituents: Berberine (a yellow crystalline, bitter alkaloid), oxyacanthine, berbamine (another bitter alkaloid), tannin, wax, resin, fat, albumin, gum, and starch.

Medicinal Properties and Uses :- Barberry is believed to be an excellent remedy for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. Indicated for inflammation of the gall bladder, gall stones and jaundice (when due to a congested state of the liver). As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, it is believed to strengthen and cleanse the system. Also said to be effective in reducing an enlarged spleen The root-bark contains berberine, a bitter alkaloid, that aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems, acts as a mild purgative, and helps regulate the digestive processes. The antibacterial properties of the alkaloid berbamine have shown activity against Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella and Eschorichia Coli. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract. Barberry has a beneficial effect on the blood pressure by causing a dilatation of the blood vessels. This herb is also good for hepatitis, colic, diabetes and consumption. Historically, Barberry was used as a bitter tonic to stimulate digestion, and in the treatment of inflammatory arthritic, sciatica, and rheumatic complaints. Use of this botanical decreases heart rate, depresses the breathing, stimulates intestinal movement, reduces bronchial constriction, and kills bacteria on the skin. External applications have included use for sores, burns, ulcers, acne, itch, tetters, ringworm, cuts, bruises. Berberine is highly bactericidal, amoeboidal and trypanocidal. Bitter tonic, cholagogue, hepatic, laxative, antibilious, anti-emetic.

Its main Properties are Anti-emetic, Antiseptic, Astringent, Bitter, Cholagogue, Hepatic, Laxative, Purgative, Refrigerant, Stomachic, and Tonic.

Barberry acts on the gallbladder to improve bile flow and ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones, and jaundice.  Barberry’s strongly antiseptic property is of value in cases of amebic dysentery, cholera and other similar gastrointestinal infections.  Barberry is one of the mildest and best liver tonics known, good for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes.
The berberine in barberry has remarkable infection-fighting properties.  Studies around the world show it kills microorganisms that cause wound infections (Staphylococci, Streptococci), diarrhea (Salmonella, Shigella), dysentery (Endamoeba histolytica), cholera (Vibrio cholerae), giardiasis Giardia lamblia), urinary tract infections (Escherichia coli) and vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).  Berberine may also fight infection by stimulating the immune system.  Studies show that it activates the macrophages, white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.  In Germany, a berberine preparation, Ophthiole, is used to treat sensitive eyes, inflamed lids, and pinkeye (conjunctivitis).  Barberry contains chemicals that may help reduce elevated blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels.
The bark is astringent, antidiarrheal, and healing to the intestinal wall—in short, barberry has a strong, highly beneficial effect on the digestive system as a whole.  It helps in the treatment of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The decoction makes a gentle and effective wash for the eyes, although it must be diluted sufficiently before use.  Liquid of the chewed root was placed on injuries and on wounds, while cuts and bruises were washed with a root decoction.  A preparation of the bark or berries will be useful as a gargle for sore mouth and chronic opthalmia.    It has been successfully used to treat Leishmaniasis (infections transmitted by sandflies).  It has the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen and acts against malaria.

Main Uses: Barberry is mainly used today as a tonic to improve the flow of bile in such conditions as gallbladder pain, gallstones and jaundice. Barberry tinctures are used as a treatment for liver problems such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is also considered effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and respiration, reducing bronchial constriction, and for menstrual irregularities.
Berberine has strong anti-microbial and fungicidal properties. It is also astringent and anti-inflammatory. It is said to make a good eyewash. Inflamed eyelids or conjunctivitis can benefit from the application of a compress.
Barberry is one of the best remedies for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. It is indicated when there is an inflammation of the gall bladder or in the presence of gallstones. Barberry is also used when jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver.
Barberry tea is used as a gargle to soothe sore throats.

Preparation And Dosages:
Tincture: [1:5, 50% alcohol] 3 to 7 drops, 3 to 4 times a day.

Decoction: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon root bark with 1 cup water. Boil briefly, then steep for 5 minutes. Take 1/2 to 1 cup during the day, a mouthful at a time.
Ointment: An ointment made from a 10% extract of Barberry can be applied to the skin three times a day.

Combinations: In gall-bladder diseases Barberry combines well with Fringe Tree Bark and Culver’s Root.

Caution! Avoid during pregnancy; Barberry may stimulate the uterus. In high doses, it can cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, drop in blood pressure, and lowered heart rate and breathing. If you suffer from heart disease or chronic respiratory problems, do not take large doses of this herb and use only with the approval of your physician.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.midwestherbs.com/bulk_herbs/barberrybark.htm

http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Barberry.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berberis_vulgaris

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