It is found in Himalayas.
Morphology Description (Habit)
It is an erect, glabrous, spinescent shrub with
obovate to elliptic, subacute to obtuse, entire or toothed
leaves. The flowers are yellow and in corymbose racemes. The
fruits are oblong-ovoid or ovoid, bright red berries.
The alkaloids in the bark and root bark of Berberis aristata
are berberine, berbamine, aromoline, karachine, palmatine,
oxyacanthine and oxyberberine1.
Berberone hydrochloride, an alkaloid isolated from Berberis
aristata, was found to have significant anti-inflammatory
activity on acute, subacute and chronic types of
inflammations produced by immunological and
non-immunological methods2. Chronic oral
(20mg./kg.) and intramuscular (2mg./kg.) administration of
Berberine sulphate to rats increased the duration of
pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time and decreased serum
The preventive and curative effects of Berberis aristata
fruit extract on paracetamol- and CCl4-induced
hepatotoxicity was studied. Pre-treatment of mice with the (Berberis
aristata fruits), crude extract of Berberis aristata fruits
(500mg/kg), reduced the death rate to 10 percent.
Pre-treatment of rats with the fruit extract (500mg/kg,
orally twice daily for 2 days) prevented (p less than 0.05)
the paracetamol-(640mg/kg) as well as
CCl4-(1.5ml/kg)-induced rise in serum transaminases (GOT and
Post-treatment with three successive doses of the extract
(500 mg/kg, 6h) restricted the hepatic damage induced by
acetaminophen (p less than 0.01) but CCl4-induced
hepatotoxicity was not altered. The plant extract (500mg/kg)
caused significant prolongation in pentobarbital
(75mg/kg)-induced sleep as well as increased
strychnine-induced lethality in mice suggestive of
inhibitory effect on microsomal drug metabolizing enzymes (MDME).
Hepatoprotective action of the crude extract of Berberis
aristata fruits partly through MDME inhibitory action has
Clinical studies with berberine were conducted in 356
patients of Cholera and compared with 264 patients treated
with chloramphenicol. Berberine was found to be effective in
both bacteriologically positive and negative patients. It
reduced the mortality rate, volume and duration of diarrhea,
the intake of intravenous fluid and the convalescence
period. Berberine was found to be better than
chloramphenicol in this respect5.
Twenty five patients of giardiasis were treated with
berberine in a dose of 5mg./kg./day for six days, and the
results compared with those of metronidazole given in a dose
of 10mg./kg/day for six days in 9 patients. Twenty patients
receiving vitamin B complex syrup for 6 days served as
controls. Twelve patients receiving berberine, 3 receiving
metronidazole and 3 receiving vitamin B complex showed
relief of clinical symptoms. The stools became free of
giardia in 17 patients receiving metronidazole and 5
receiving B complex6.
Berberine was found to be effective in controlling
gastroenteritis in 50 children. It is a good anti diarrhoeal
agent and could be easily administered in children in the
form of a palatable suspension. The drug was free from any
LD50 value of berberine sulphate in mice, intraperitonially,
was found to be 24.3mg./kg.
The roots form a reputed drug in Ayurvedic medicine and
possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. The
drug is regarded as a bitter tonic and is apparently used as
a cholagogue, stomachic, laxative, diaphoretic, antipyretic
and antiseptic. It is administered externally in painful eye
affections, indolent ulcers and hemorrhoids. The rootbark is
very useful in periodic neuralgia and menorrhagia.
- Chakravarti et. al., sci indurst Res, 1950, 9B, 161;
Atta-ur-& Banerjee, ibid, 1953, 30, 705; 13 Chatterjee,
ibid, 1940 Rahman & Ansari, J chem Soc Pakist, 1983, 5,
- Halder et. al., Ind. J. Pharmac., 1970, 2,26.
- Vad et. al., Ind. J. Pharm.,1970, 32, 1794.
- Gilani, A.H and Janbaz, K.H., Phytotherapy Research,
1995, v. 9(7), 489-4945.
- Lahiri, S.C.and Dutta,N.K, J.Indian Med. Assoc., 1967,
- Choudhury et. al., Indian Pediatrics, 1972, 9, 1437.
- Sharada, D.C., J. Indian. Med. Assn., 1970, 54, 22