Homeopathic Berberis (Barberry): Facts, Health Benefits, and Uses

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Homeopathic Berberis (Barberry)There are various medicinal plants that have been used for centuries within many cultures. Throughout history, several of them have become equally as effective homeopathic remedies, including berberis.

Homeopathic berberis is made from the deciduous shrub Berberis vulgaris—also well known as barberry. In traditional Chinese medicine, barberry has been used for diarrhea. Ayurvedic doctors used barberry as a detoxifier and liver tonic.

Ancient Greek and Arabian physicians once used barberry to treat gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice, while Native Americans used the plant for peptic ulcers. Today, Western herbalists use barberry for liver problems caused by alcohol or drug abuse.

As a homeopathic remedy, berberis has been a popular remedy for kidney disorders, bladder conditions, gallbladder problems, joint pain, and lower back pain. Read on to learn more about homeopathic berberis, and its many health benefits and uses.

Berberis: Facts and History

The large barberry evergreen shrub belongs to the Berberidaceae family, and it is native to central and southern Europe, western Asia, and northwest Africa. It is also found in Scandinavia, North America, and the British Isles.

The barberry plant will grow between three and eight feet tall, and produces a fruit called Fructis berberidis, which is harvested in early autumn. The barberry stem and root are also collected in autumn or spring, while the leaves are gathered in May and June. Other names for barberry include European barberry or ambarbaris.

Berberis extract is thought to have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, astringent, and anti-parasitic properties.

The most important constituents in berberis include:

  • Berberine
  • Berbamine
  • Oxyacanthine
  • Columbamine
  • Tannin
  • Resin
  • Pectin
  • Jatrorrhizine
  • Palmatine
  • Polyphenolic compounds

There are also alkaloids in barberry thought to inhibit cancer.

Dr. Hesse of Germany first “proved” the effectiveness of homeopathic berberbis in 1835. Homeopathic berberis is made from the bark of the small or medium-sized root branches of the barberry plant. The branches are then dried and chopped, steeped in alcohol, filtered, diluted, and succussed. As a result, the homeopathic remedy contains virtually no traces of the barberry plant, and the final product may be extremely helpful for treating a wide variety of health conditions.

How Homeopathic Berberis Treats Kidney Problems

Today, the homeopathic berberis is largely taken for kidney disorders such as severe pain from kidney stones. It is used for shifting and stitching pain around the groin and entire kidney region. The sharp pain will also radiate to the thighs, and over the whole body. The person’s urine will appear dark yellow or bright red. Berberis is also thought to prevent the need for a kidney transplant, and it could help treat lupus when the kidneys are attacked. Symptoms will improve from standing; however, they will worsen from stooping and rising again, lying down, or sitting.

Scientific evidence supports the notion that homeopathic berberis is effective in the treatment of kidney problems. In a study published in the journal Homeopathy in 2013, researchers from the University of Madras in India found that an ultra-diluted homeopathic berberis could effectively treat kidney stones in rats.

The kidney stones were formed by adding ethylene glycol to the drinking water of the rats. This process increased the levels of stone-forming elements in the urine like uric acid, phosphorus, and calcium. All levels were normalized with the homeopathic berberis remedy. The berberis also prevented the decrease of magnesium in the urine, which is known to prevent kidney stones.

In another study from 2014, the same researchers found that homeopathic berberis treated kidney stones linked with free radical damage. The remedy improved the activity of the antioxidants such as glutathione, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol (vitamin E), glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.

Homeopathic Profile and Other Uses and Health Benefits of Berberis

In homeopathy, the remedy profile is a significant indicator in determining whether homeopathic berberis is the best remedy for you. People that respond well to berberis are prone to inertia, lethargy, and listlessness. The classic patient will find it difficult to think straight or to sustain any mental effort required for an activity. They will also be especially anxious at twilight, when objects appears larger or distorted and may be mistaken for monsters. They will dwell on their thoughts until they become almost unbearable.

Common physical symptoms will include hollow eyes and cheeks, pallor, and dry mucous membranes. Besides kidney problems, the sharp, neuralgic, or colicky pain that radiates throughout the body is often also associated with joint and inflammatory conditions like gout and arthritis.

What are other health benefits of berberis? It is also used for genital herpes, headaches, hemorrhoids, vaginal pain, and sexual problems. Let’s take a further look at how homeopathic berberis is useful for bladder issues, gallbladder problems, joint pain, and lower back pain.

1. Gallbladder Conditions

Berberis is used for gallbladder problems, including an inflamed gallbladder or gallstones along with pain in the upper abdomen. As a result, the person may develop jaundice with pale stools. The person will also experience a sharp, tearing, and radiating pain in the gallbladder region that extends toward the stomach. Resting will improve symptoms; however, symptoms worsen from movement, standing, and pressure on the upper abdomen.

2. Bladder Infections

Berberis may treat urinary disturbances or bladder infections like urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cystitis is considered a common lower UTI, which is common in women. It is used for shifting, violent burning, and cutting pains in the urethra during and after urination. The person will also experience pain the groin, urine retention after urinating, a frequent desire to urinate, and the urine may look dark yellow or green with brown or white sediment. Pain in the reproductive areas may lead to painful sex. Standing or during urination will worsen symptoms; however, symptoms improve after urinating.

3. Joint Pain

Homeopathic berberis is used for gout, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is common for general joint and muscle aches that affect the arms and legs. There will also be a sharp pain that radiates outward and down the limbs. Symptoms improve in the afternoon, while movement likely worsens symptoms.

4. Lower Back Pain

Berberis is often the homeopathic remedy of choice for back pain caused by urinary problems. The pain in the lower back will radiate outward or down the front of the thighs or hips. There is also stiffness, stitching pain in the side of the body or abdomen, tender kidneys, and pain in the balls of the feet. Rest will improve lower back pain, while things tend to worsen from sitting, standing, movement, lying down, or fatigue.

Final Thoughts on Homeopathic Berberis

Where can you find homeopathic berberis? It can be found online or at the health food store in liquid or pellet form. Homeopathic berberis can also be acquired right from your homeopath, if they determine the remedy best matches your mental, emotional, and physical symptom picture. Your homeopath will likely have berberis on hand to take home with you as well to help treat your health issues.

As mentioned, berberis is often prescribed for kidney issues like kidney stones, gallbladder problems, bladder issues, and digestion in general. It is also used for a stitching and colicky pain that is common in joint, lower back, bladder, and gallbladder pain. Visit your homeopath for the right berberis dosage and potency. They will also be able to tell you whether you should change your dosage, or the remedy, during follow-up appointments.

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“Homeopathy: Berberis,” herbs2000; http://www.herbs2000.com/homeopathy/berberis.htm, last accessed July 11, 2017.
“Berberis,” Home Remedy Central; http://www.homeremedycentral.com/en/homeopathic-remedies/homeopathy/berberis.html, last accessed July 11, 2017.