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, Épine-Vinette, Espino Cambrón, Jaundice Berry, Lebanon barberry, Mountain Grape, Oregon Grape, Pipperidge, Piprage, Sauerdorn, Sow Berry, Vinettier.


Overview Information

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

The fruit of European barberry is most commonly used traditionally for gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomforts such as heartburn, stomachcramps, constipation, and lack of appetite. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these uses.

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 decrease inflammation and acid in the stomach.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Acne. Early research shows that taking European barberry capsules for 4 weeks reduces acne in teens.
  • Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Applying a cream with European barberry and metronidazole to the vagina seems to stop bacterial vaginosis infection from happening again.
  • Tooth plaque. Early research shows that brushing the teeth with a European barberry extract gel for 3 weeks reduces dental plaque. The effects appear to be similar to a commercial toothpaste (Colgate).
  • Diabetes. Early research shows that taking European barberry juice by mouth for 8 weeks improves blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Early research shows that brushing the teeth with a European barberry extract gel for 3 weeks reduces gingivitis.
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Research shows that European barberry might decrease levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood in people with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or liver disease. But the effects of European barberry on lipids in people with hyperlipidemia are not clear.
  • Back pain.
  • Bladder problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Gout.
  • Heart and circulation problems.
  • Heartburn.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Liver problems.
  • Lung problems.
  • Malaria.
  • Non-cancerous breast disorders.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Skin infection caused by Leishmania parasites (Leishmania lesions).
  • Spleen problems.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of European barberry for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: The fruit of European barberry is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in food amounts. There isn't enough reliable information to know if European barberry is safe or what the side effects might be when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts.

When applied to the skin: European barberry extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when used on the skin.

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 infants to European barberry. There isn't enough reliable information to know if European barberry is safe to use in older children.

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 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 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 or slow down the nervous system during and after surgery. European barberry might also interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking European barberry at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



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.

View References


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