The Barberry shrub, native to Europe, Africa and Asia has long red berries which have a sharp acidic flavour. The berries contain a unique compound called berberine, which acts as an antioxidant and has anti inflammatory properties.
Barberry should not be used during pregnancy as it can cause brain damage in the baby. It should be avoided during breastfeeding as well as it can enter the breast milk and can harm a nursing infant. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking Barberry in any form during pregnancy.
Barberry has been used in culinary dishes and added to jams, jellies or salads or used to make tea as well as for making wine. It has also been used as a herbal medicine for centuries. It is believed to be useful in treating a range of conditions from diabetes, kidney or bladder problems, stomach cramps, bowel problems, acne, arthritis, circulation problems, to dental plaque and swollen gums. While it is safe to be consumed as food, its use and efficacy in medicinal purposes has not been proven. The FDA does not approve of Barberry for medical treatment.