Berberis vulgaris L.

Berberis vulgaris L.


Botanical name:          Berberis vulgaris L.Berberis-vulgaris-L.

Kingdom:                    Plantae

Order:                          Ranunculales

Family:                        Berberidaceae

Genus:                         Berberis

Local name:                 Rasaut

Sindhi name:               Raswal

English name:            European barberry

Part used:                     Whole plant


Berberis vulgaris L. 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. Flowers are yellow, 4–6 mm across, produced on 3–6 cm long panicles in late spring. 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, rich in vitamin C.1


Berberis vulgaris L. is native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles, Scandinavia, North America, and Iran.2

 Ethnomedicinal uses in Skin Diseases:

 Leaves of  Berberis vulgaris L. are grind it and then boil in water drink it once cup daily for measle and ringworm in Districts Ghotki and sukkur.


The chief constituents of Berberis vulgaris L. are berberine, a yellow crystalline, bitter alkolaiod, 4 chelidonic acid,  tannin, wax, resin, fat, albumin, gum, starch and other alkaloids.5  Three types of isoquinoline alkaloids are detected  from roots, stems, and branches. These include protoberberine (berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine and columbamine), bisbenzylisoquinoline (berbamine, oxyacanthine and aromoline) and aporphine (magnoflorine).3

Chemical Structures:



Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology / Scientific Studies:

Leaves of Berberis vulgaris L. are  used for the treatment of lupus, tuberculosis, eczema, and as bandages for swellings.4  Roots of Berberis vulgaris L. are  used for the treatment of cancer, dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, gastric ulcer,  gastrointestinal and  respiratory disorders.5 Fruit is used as pruritic, antiseptic, appetizer, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, for asthma, snake bite, rheumatism, bronchitis cough, mouth ulcer, fever, leprosy, conjunctivitis, and as a blood purifier. The concentrated juice of plant is applied for gums, skin dryness and teeth trouble.   Berberis vulgaris L. is also used in cardiovascular disorder such as, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy. It is also reported as antiinflammatory, antihistaminic, and antispasmodic properties.6


  1. Kern, Frank D. (1921), Observations of the dissemination of the barberry. Ecology. 2, p. 211-214. 74532
  2. Richard, N. & Erneberg, M. The United States naturalized flora largely the product of deliberate introductions.  Annals of the Missouri & Botanical Garden Research, 89(2), 176-189.
  3. Arayne, M., Saeed, S, Najma, B. & Saima, S.  (2007). The Berberis story: Berberis vulgaris in theraputics. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 20(1), 83-92.
  4. Bakker, J. P., Bakker, E. S., Rosen, E., Verweij, G. L. & Bekker, R. M. (1996). Soil seed bank composition along a gradient from dry alvar grassland to Junipers shrubland.Journal of Vegetation Science, 7(2), 165-176.
  5. Bhattacharje, S. K. (2004), Hand Book of Medicinal Plants, Vol. 3, 58-59,  Jain, S., Pointer Publisher, Jaipur, India.
  6. Baquar, S. R. (1989), Medicinal and Poisonous Plant of Pakistan, p.72-73, published by printer Pakistan.