If you are wondering what are the health benefits of barberry, you should ask any Iranian cook! Berberis vulgaris or barberry benefits are plenty and they are extensively used in Iranian cooking.
You will see a lot of these fruits being used in Persian restaurants and can find them in Middle Eastern grocery stores under the name of zereshk. Its botanical name is Berberis vulgaris and it is a shrub that grows tart or red berries. Today it can be found all over the world. Barberries have several health benefits so let’s check out the most impressive among them.
What are Barberries? Barberries are a native plant of Europe as well as Africa and Asia and have been used in medicine for more than 2500 years, in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Native American medicinal systems. It is a deciduous shrub bearing oval shaped, red fruits. You can consume it orally as well as use it externally for treating several health issues.
Nutritional Value – Berberine Health Benefits
- Barberries are a rich source of Vitamin C.
- It also contains Vitamin B, such as Thiamine, and Zinc, offering good medicinal value. It is capable of killing bacteria; fungi and protozoa.
- The fruits as well as the stem and root bark contain protoberberine alkaloids along with Isoquinoline, for curing several illnesses.
- One gram of Barberry fruit contains:
- 316 Energy Calories
- Protein – 3.6 grams
- Carbohydrates – 63.9 grams
- Sugar – 27.2 grams
- Fat – 3.5 grams
- Dietary Fiber – 7.4 grams
- Vitamin C – 24 mg
Note: Check out the calories present in one serving of Barberries.
Barberries mainly consist of an active constituent known as berberine. It is found in the root, stem and bark of the barberry shrub.
- Berberine sulfate, an alkaloid present in Barberries, helps fight antibiotic resistance. Thus, it can help you fight the flu and viral cold.
- Berberine also has anti tumor; anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
- Berberine is a powerful plant alkaloid that can stimulate the immune system. It has natural anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that can inhibit the ability of bacteria to attach itself to our body cells.
Older adults who take a lot of antibiotics can reduce inflammation, bacterial infections etc. by consuming barberries.
Your bladder will fall in love with barberries.
- Barberine present in the root bark of the shrub has antibacterial properties that combat urinary tract infections. The berberine extract is capable of antimicrobial activity against bacteria, such as Chlamydia; viruses; fungi and protozoans.
- It controls the adhesion of bacteria to the cells lining the urinary bladder, specifically E coli.
- It also prevents inflammation of the urinary tract.
- It contains Vitamin C that has a diuretic action enabling the body to flush out bacteria and fighting off infection.
One of the important barberry benefits is that it has a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
- It reduces cholesterol. It actually increases the production of liver receptors that bond with cholesterol and help in its excretion.
- It also has antioxidant properties that reduce lipid peroxidation. Antioxidants help prevent high blood cholesterol by preventing the synthesis of cholesterol.
- Antioxidants present in the fruit also help towards fat loss.
Many medicinal properties of barberries have been reported for improving heart health.
- Barberries help improve hypertension and ischemic heart problems along with cardiac arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy.
- It is also useful for treating Atrial fibrillation. According to a study, the active alkaloid present in it results in a biochemical action that improves atrial fibrillation.
- It also reduces serum cholesterol as well as triglycerides, which goes towards improving heart health and general well being.
- Barberries contain berberine, which improves the way in which the body cells react to insulin. Insulin is connected with regulating the amount of sugar circulating in the blood.
- Barberries are also capable of preventing diabetes and regulating or alleviating the symptoms, as it helps in controlling sugar levels in the blood.
It acts on and helps the gastrointestinal tract.
- Berberine present in Barberries act on the smooth muscles lining the intestines. This helps in improving digestion and reducing gastrointestinal pain.
- It can also be used as an effective remedy against diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea and that caused by food poisoning.
Barberries can help improve gastrointestinal related problems much faster than antibiotics, as it has astringent properties.
Liver and Gallbladder
- Barberries are known to increase the flow of bile, so it has been used in problems related to the liver and gallbladder.
Barberry has been used in dental treatment as well.
- Barberry has been used for treating tartar and swollen gums or gingivitis.
- Brushing teeth with barberry extract gel that contains 1% berberine for around three weeks is effective in reducing gingivitis.
It is sold as an herbal supplement. All herbal supplements must be bought from reliable sources for minimising contamination risks. Follow the directions on the package before consuming. Do not consume barberry if you are pregnant. Also, it is not safe to give to infants.
Barberry contains a good amount of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that suppresses growth of fatal tumors in the body.
- It kills cancer cells that can escalate during radiation and chemotherapy, thereby reducing the negative effects of chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
- It helps cope with side effects of chemotherapy.
Easy to Use
The berries can be easily incorporated in your everyday dishes.
- Barberries can be used for making jam or jelly.
Last Word – Health Benefits of Barberry
Barberries are the red berries seen on the Berberis vulgaris plant. They contain berberine, which has plenty of health benefits. It can be used for boosting your immune system, for a healthy heart and for reducing cancer risks.
Barberine is effective for treating several digestive and age related problems. Universally, barberries have been used for medicinal purposes and for healing hypertension, diabetes, excessive cholesterol and diseases related to free radicals. The fruits, bark and the roots of the plant are used for making herbal medicine.