barberry plant
                                         Fights Bacterial Infections

Barberry Root (berberis vulgaris) has long been used as a herbal remedy for the treatment of a variety of complaints. All parts of the plant can be used, although the yellow root bark is the most concentrated source of active ingredients. The roots are an astringent and antiseptic.

Barberry is native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. The berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C. Barberry is an important food for many animals, especially birds.

Barberry Root has a long history of treating liver dysfunction and promoting bile flow. The herb was almost always used in the past as a remedy for jaundice. Barberry is also considered one of the most effective herbs for fighting bacterial infection and for relieving digestive disorders. It is thought that liver function is greatly helped with Barberry. Its berberine content, a bitter alkaloid, stimulates the secretion and flow of bile that eases liver congestion. As a bitter, stomachic tonic, Barberry helps to regulate the digestive process. The berberine in the root bark kills helicobacter pylori, a bacterium implicated in both ulcers and chronic gastritis, and Barberry has also been considered an excellent remedy for dyspepsia.

Barberry is an antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and is said to be extremely effective for fighting bacterial infection. The berberine content inhibits bacteria from attaching to human cells and helps to prevent infection. Laboratory tests have also claimed that berberine has been effective against some bacteria that have become antibiotic-resistant. The other alkaloid in Barberry, berbamine, helps to reduce inflammation and has been found to be useful in treating amoebic hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also shown activity against staph, strep, salmonella, shigella and E-coli. Barberry's antimicrobial properties also benefit the intestinal tract. Medicinal use of barberry dates as far back as ancient Egypt, and it has been used in Indian folk medicine to treat diarrhea, reduce fever, improve appetite, relieve upset stomach, and promote vigor as well as a sense of well-being.

Barberry is also used to ease inflammation and infection of the urinary (bladder and urinary tract infections), gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts (sore throat, nasal congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis) as well as candida (yeast) infections. The stem, root bark, and fruit of barberry contain alkaloids, the most prominent of which is berberine. Laboratory studies in test tubes and animals suggest that berberine has antimicrobial (killing bacteria and parasites), anti-inflammatory, hypotensive (causing a lowering of blood pressure), sedative, and anticonvulsant effects. Berberine may also stimulate the immune system. It also acts on the smooth muscles which line the intestines. This last effect may help improve digestion and reduce gastrointestinal pain.

Most birds will 'mouth' or chew the Pau d'Arco bark in Herb Salad rather than eat whole and swallow.

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