Berberis vulgaris: specifications and traditional uses


1 Medical Plants Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran


The medicinal plants from genus Berberis are particularly important in traditional medicine and the food basket of Iranians. Given various plants from genus Berberis and their economic, nutritional, and medicinal status in Iran, this study seeks to investigate the findings of recent studies on the phytochemical characteristics, specifications, and uses of Berberis vulgaris. In this review article, 350 articles were initially retrieved from reliable scientific databases using relevant search terms. Then, 230 articles were selected and 120 were excluded after a primary analysis. Finally, 98 articles related to the subject under study were meticulously examined and the required data were extracted and classified according to the research purposes. The findings were divided into eight separate sections: Introducing Berberidaceae family, different species of Berberis, pharmaceutical organs, B. vulgaris nutrition facts and minerals, the antioxidants and alkaloids compounds in fruit and other organs, action mechanisms of preventing and treating diseases, traditional uses of B. vulgaris, and its properties reported by recent studies. The results briefly indicate that B. vulgaris contains a large number of phytochemical materials including ascorbic acid, vitamin K, several triterpenoids, more than 10 phenolic compounds and more than 30 alkaloids. Therefore B. vulgaris may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-nociceptive and hepato-protective effects. Regarding the use of different organs of B. vulgaris in traditional medicine and their confirmed effects in the recent studies, it is possible to use different organs of B. vulgaris, especially fruit, to develop new drugs.


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