Berberis vulgaris L.
Also known as European barberry or simply barberry, is a shrub in the genus Berberis. It produces edible but sharply acidic berries, which people in many countries eat as a tart and refreshing fruit.
The shrub is native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia; it is also naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, and North America. In the United States and Canada, it has become established in the wild over an area from Nova Scotia to Nebraska, with additional populations in Colorado, Idaho, Washington State, Montana, and British Columbia. Although not naturalised, in rural New Zealand it has been widely cultivated as a hedge on farms. It is cultivated for its fruits in many countries.
It is a deciduous shrub growing up to 4 m high. The leaves are small oval, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are borne in clusters of 2-5 together, subtended by a three-branched spine 3–8 mm long. The flowers are yellow, 4–6 mm across, produced on 3–6 cm long panicles in late spring. The fruit is an oblong red berry 7–10 mm long and 3–5 mm broad, ripening in late summer or autumn; they are edible but very sour, and rich in Vitamin C.
It is abitter tonic which helps support healthy liver, gall bladder, gastrointestinal tract,urinary tract, kidney and spleen function. It contains berberine, a natural analgesic and anti-microbial, which also found in goldenseal and Oregon grape root. These herbs support the immune system as well.
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