Common barberry is a strong-branched shrub. Branches are yellowish-gray, with three-part spines (modified leaves). The leaves are alternate, oblong-obovate, finely filiform. The flowers are small; light yellow, fragrant, in drooping racemes. The sepals are six in number, petal-shaped, yellow, with six corolla lobes. Six stamens, pistil with upper ovary. Fruits-red oblong small sour berries. Height 1-2. 5 m. Amur Barberry is similar to common barberry.
Fruits contain sugars, organic acids, mainly malic, citric, tartaric, choline-like substances, coloring substances, mineral salts and vitamins. Immature fruits, leaves, roots and bark contain alkaloids: berberine, oxyacanthine, berbamine, leontyne, and several others. Vitamin E (tocopherol) and essential oil were found in the leaves during fruiting. The active leaf alkaloid is berberine.
Barberry was used in ancient times. Its fruits quench thirst well, excite appetite, act as a calming effect, strengthen the heart muscle and have antipyretic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and choleretic effects. The fruit is used to excite appetite, quench thirst, reduce heat in feverish conditions, as a remedy for diarrhea, hemorrhoids, as well as as a choleretic, diuretic and improving blood circulation. Tincture of leaves is used for malarial enlargement of the spleen and liver diseases. Water infusion of barberry root bark treats liver and kidney diseases, accompanied by dropsy and jaundice, especially cholelithiasis, gout, rheumatism and backache (lumbago). Water infusion of root bark is also used as a hemostatic agent for uterine bleeding.
In scientific medicine, alcohol tinctures of barberry leaves are used. It is established that tinctures of leaves have a hemostatic, anti-inflammatory effect, cause contraction of the uterus muscles, constrict blood vessels, quicken the pulse, lower blood pressure and increase bile secretion. Tinctures of leaves are used for bleeding in the postpartum period and for inflammation of the uterine mucosa (endometritis). In diseases of the gallbladder, barberry preparations improve the outflow of bile, reduce pain and inflammation. Tinctures of barberry are contraindicated in menopausal bleeding and with a delay in the uterus of the membranes and parts of the baby's place.
Tincture of barberry leaves is used in scientific medicine in many countries. In England and China, barberry preparations are used as a hemostatic agent for internal bleeding. In the United States and many other countries, barberry preparations are used for the treatment of liver and gall bladder diseases and as a tonic for the stomach and intestines. Crushed dry barberry fruits are used as a favourite seasoning for meat dishes in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
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