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Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) has been used as a healing herb for many thousands of years. The Egyptians used it to prevent plagues – a testimony to its antibiotic properties. The Ayurvedics were more likely to prescribe it for dysentery, mouth ulcers, sore throats, and skin infections. Barberry has been proven to be a more powerful antibiotic and antibacterial agent than many of the current pharmaceutical products available today on prescription from the chemists. The Common Barberry, a well-known, bushy shrub, with pale-green deciduous leaves, is found in copses and hedges in some parts of England, though a doubtful native in Scotland and Ireland. It is generally distributed over the greater part of Europe, Northern Africa, and temperate Asia. As an ornamental shrub, it is fairly common in gardens. Barberry has many health properties, it is a stimulant and respiratory aid, and in addition to the antibiotic and antibacterial properties already mentioned, it is also an antifungal. It decreases the heart rate, can shrink tumours, stimulate intestinal movement, reduce bronchial constriction and enlarges blood vessels. It has been known to treat many conditions such as skin infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, arthritis, conjunctivitis, high blood pressure, throat infections, mouth ulcers, abnormal and uterine bleeding (painful periods). The part of the plant, which is used in herbal medicine, is the berries, roots, and the bark, which is ground up. It can be taken in the form of a tea or infusion, it can be used as a gargle for sore throats, used as an eyewash, douche, compress, or as a powder. To make a decoction (tea), take one teaspoon of powdered root bark and put it into a small enamel pan. Add two cups of water to this. Cover and boil for fifteen to thirty minutes, ensuring that as little liquid is lost as possible. Allow the mixture to cool before use. As barberry is very bitter,
I suggest that you sweeten the liquid with honey before consuming. Drink only one cup per day. Alternatively, to use it as a compress to treat conjunctivitis, soak a clean cloth in the decoction and place over your infected eyes – don’t add any honey! Barberry can be used in conjunction with other herbs such as garlic, ginger, saffron, and wild sunflower. Caution – barberry may stimulate the uterus and therefore, pregnant women should not use it. Please also note, barberry is a very powerful herb and should only be used in small doses and under the supervision of a doctor or alternative healthcare practitioner. If too high a dosage is taken, barberry can cause nausea, vomiting, hazardous drops in blood pressure and dizziness.
Berberis vulgaris. Berberry is a herbal remedy which treats many ailments from many ailments from throat infections to peRiod pain.