Updated: Apr 5
Barberry is a plant worth being familiar with. Barberry is a proven and effective treatment against a diverse range of ailments, from fungal blooms and viruses, to bacterial infections, ranging from the intestinal to urinary. As science turns its attention to this common plant, Barberry is also taking its place in modern medicine.
The Latin name for Barberry is Berberis vulgaris and its most potent alkaloid, Berberine, has antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. It also has anti-microbial properties, which makes it a highly effective treatment for certain types of worm, and bacteria - including some of the nastier ones like cholera, Giardia, Shigella, Salmonella and E. coli.
Barberry is a potent antiviral. Studies have shown that it strongly suppresses viral replication.
In humans, Barberry is predominantly used to kill intestinal parasites, as well as treat diarrhoea and bacterial eye-infections.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Centre stated that the properties of Barberry also include:
"anti-inflammatory, hypotensive (causing a lowering of blood pressure), sedative, and anticonvulsant effects. Berberine may also stimulate the immune system. It also acts on the smooth muscles that line the intestines. This last effect may help improve digestion and reduce gastrointestinal pain."
To add to its list of benefits, Barberry is a powerful antioxidant - and the good news is, it is as good for your dog as it is for you!
It should be noted that Barberry is one of those herbs best used as a treatment for illness, rather than a regular preventative. It is not recommended in high doses, or over long periods of time, as protracted use can damage the good bacteria in the gut as well as the bad. It is also not recommended for pregnant animals. But if your dog is experiencing diarrhoea from something it ate or drank; has a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection - or even if it has an ear or skin infection -then a course of Barberry Bark is well worth adding to your list of options.
REMEMBER - a lot of herbal remedies, particularly those made from pure extracts, are as strong as modern medicines. If your dog is already on medication, your veterinarian should always be consulted before beginning herbal treatments.
So next time your dog develops an infection, rather than using conventional antibiotics which disrupt gut flora and have many nasty side-effects, consider Barberry as a natural and highly effective remedy instead.