Folk Medicine

Latin name: Berberidis fructus, folium

Usable parts: Fruit 3

Harvest period: September

Constituents: Berberine, essential oils, fruit acid, gum, vitamin C, dextrose, levulose, alkaloids and wax

Action: Expunging, cleansing, counters uric acid, aids the eyes3

Application: Except for the berries, the rest of the plant is mildly poisonous. Although the berberine might be effective in lowering bad cholesterol, before using be sure to consult a pharmacist. When ripe, the berries are useful in various home applications. In powder form, they can be used to protect the liver when on a course of medication. Other than this, the Barberries can be used in all kinds of ways. Packed with vitamin C, they can be a helpful aid during the cold winter months. In dried form, they are frequently used a coulis, sauces or as a topping in muesli.  

Risk of misidentification: Since it originates from Iran, the barberry is like no other plant in Europe – except those grown in artificial conditions.

Tips for Domestic Cultivation

The plant is grown from ripe seeds that have sprouted. It is relatively easy to cultivate and only requires a sunny location. It thrives particularly well in chalky soils.

Home Use / Recipe Idea

Barberry is known for its slightly sour berries and high vitamin C content. In many countries it is still used as a spice and food supplement. The berries are dried before being pulverised.

Barberry juice:

Crush some ripe berries and leave them in a cool place for a few days. Then put them into a cloth and squeeze the juice out of them. For every 48 ml of berry juice, mix in 3 g sugar. The sugary juice can be consumed freshly squeezed, but if stored it must first be boiled.3

3 “Die Kräuter in meinem Garten” by Siegrid Hirsch & Felix Grünberger; 22nd Edition; Freya Verlag Gmbh
6 “Heilkräuter die Apotheke der Natur“ by Gottfried Hochgruber; 2nd Edition, 2018; Longo Editor AG