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Benefits of the Indian Barberry (Berberis Aristata)

by Administrator on Sep 4, 2013

Also known as tree turmeric or Berberis aristata, the Indian barberry is native to India. It has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, but it's only in recent years that the world is finding its health benefits and healing abilities. It has been listed in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia, and it's now widely used in supplemental capsules, herbal remedies, and medicinal syrups.

How exactly can the Indian barberry benefit you?

The Indian barberry is a flowering shrub that contains an organic compound called berberine. Although this compound can be found in fruits and flowers of the barberry, it is commonly extracted from where it is mainly concentrated - the plant's roots, stems, bark, and rhizomes.

When properly extracted, berberine serves as a traditional medicine that can cure the following ailments:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver diseases
  • Colon cancer
  • Stomach disorders
  • Skin diseases
  • Eye disorders

Aside from the above-stated conditions, berberine also possesses excellent antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.

Among these conditions, diabetes is the main reason why people use barberry. In a study conducted by Gu Y and his peers, berberine has been found to have a positive effect against type 2 diabetes. In another study conducted by Zhang H, Wei J, and Xue R in September 2009, the group found out that beberine has the ability to lower blood glucose for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. The group said that this compound inhibits an enzyme called aldose reductase, which has long been believed to be responsible for diabetes. But with berberine, this enzyme and all its activities can be inhibited. As a result, insulin-resistant cells are suppressed.

In addition to those scientific reports and studies, an article published in Mother Earth Living mentions that rural people in Europe who eat herbs rich in berberine tend to have a lower incidence of diabetes and heart-related diseases. The article said that this can be explained by the action of berberine against cell damage caused by oxidative stress.

This is indirectly supported by a study conducted by Thorpe and Baynes and published in the US National Library of Medicine. The researchers said that oxidative stress leads to the development of age-related ailments such as diabetes.

That said, if you're suffering from diabetes, consider eating barberry or supplementing your diet with berberine. As always, if you are already taking medications, it's important that you consult with your doctor before you take in any berberine supplements.

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