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    Other Names:

    Agracejo, Barberry, Berberidis Cortex, Berberidis Fructus, Berberidis Radicis Cortex, Berberidis Radix, Berbéris Commun, Berberis jacquinii, Berberis sanguinea, Berbéris Vulgaire, Berberis vulgaris, Berberitze, Berberry, Berbis, Common Barberry,...
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    EUROPEAN BARBERRY Interactions
    EUROPEAN BARBERRY Overview Information

    European barberry is an herb. The fruit, bark, and roots are used to make medicine.

    The fruit of European barberry is used for kidney, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomforts such as heartburn, stomachcramps, constipation, lack of appetite, liver and spleen disease; for bronchial and lung discomforts; for spasms; to increase circulation; to boost the immune system; and as a supplemental source of vitamin C.

    The bark, root, and root bark of European barberry are also used for disorders of the GI tract, liver, gallbladder, kidney and urinary tract, respiratory tract, and heart and circulatory system; to reduce fever; as a "blood purifier;" and for narcotic withdrawal.

    European barberry root bark is also used for liver problems, gallbladder disease, jaundice, spleen disorders, diarrhea, indigestion, hemorrhoids, kidney and urinary tract diseases, gout, joint pain (rheumatism), arthritis, mid- and low-back pain, malaria, and a parasitic infection called leishmaniasis.

    In foods, European barberry fruit is used in making jam, jellies, and wine.

    In manufacturing, the fruit syrup is used for masking tastes in medicines.

    How does it work?

    European barberry contains chemicals that might cause stronger heartbeat. It also might help fight inflammation.

    EUROPEAN BARBERRY Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

    Insufficient Evidence for:

    • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that brushing teeth with a European barberry extract gel containing 1% berberine for 3 weeks reduces dental plaque. The effects appear to be similar to the anti-plaque effects of a commercial toothpaste (Colgate).
    • Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking European barberry by mouth for 8 weeks does not improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
    • Gum swelling (gingivitis). Early research suggests that brushing teeth with a European barberry extract gel containing 1% berberine for 3 weeks reduces gingivitis.
    • Kidney problems.
    • Bladder problems.
    • Heartburn.
    • Stomach cramps.
    • Constipation.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Liver problems.
    • Spleen problems.
    • Lung problems.
    • Heart and circulation problems.
    • Fever.
    • Gout.
    • Arthritis.
    • Other conditions.
    More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of European barberry for these uses.

    EUROPEAN BARBERRY Side Effects & Safety

    The fruit of European barberry is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in food amounts. There is not enough information to know if European barberry is safe in medicinal amounts.

    Special Precautions & Warnings:

    Children: European barberry is LIKELY UNSAFE for newborn infants when taken by mouth. It contains a chemical called berberine, which can cause brain damage, especially in premature babies who are jaundiced. Jaundice is a condition caused by too much bilirubin in the baby’s system. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Jaundice makes the skin and eyes of affected infants look yellow. Don’t expose children to European barberry.

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t use European barberry by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is LIKELY UNSAFE for your baby. The berberine in European barberry can pass from a mother’s body into her unborn child through the placenta. Brain damage has developed in newborns exposed to berberine. Similarly, berberine, as well as other harmful chemicals in European barberry, can be transferred to an infant through breast milk, and might cause brain damage.

    Bleeding disorder: European barberry contains a chemical called berberine. Berberine might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. In theory, European barberry might make bleeding disorders worse.

    Diabetes: European barberry contains a chemical called berberine. Berberine might lower blood sugar levels. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use European barberry in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.

    Low blood pressure: European barberry contains a chemical called berberine. Berberine might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking European barberry might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

    Surgery: European barberry contains a chemical called berberine. There is concern that berberine from European barberry might prolong bleeding, slow down the nervous system, and interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking European barberry at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

    EUROPEAN BARBERRY Interactions What is this?

    Major Interaction Do not take this combination

    • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) interacts with EUROPEAN BARBERRY

      The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. European barberry might decrease how fast the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). This might cause there to be too much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) in the body and potentially cause side effects.

    Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

    • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with EUROPEAN BARBERRY

      Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.
      European barberry might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking European barberry along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking European barberry, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
      Some medications changed by the liver include cyclosporin (Neoral, Sandimmune), lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), sildenafil (Viagra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.


    The appropriate dose of European barberry depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for European barberry. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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    Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

    This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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