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Indian Barberry

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Berberis aristata is generally known as Indian Barberry or Tree Turmeric. It belongs to the genus Berberis and family Berberidaceae. It is found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Europe, and America. B. aristata is native to the Himalayas in India and in Nepal. Berberis aristata is characterized by an erect spiny shrub, ranging between 2 and 3 meters in height. It is a woody plant, with bark that appears yellow to brown from the outside and deep yellow from the inside.
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Botanical Names
Berberis aristata
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Daruharidra, Darvi, Kata, Pitadaru, Suvarnavarna Hindi : Chitra, Dar-hald, Rasaut, Kashmal Bengali : Daruharidra Gujarati : Daruharidra Kannada : Maradarishana Malayalam : Maramannal Marathi : Daruhalad Tamil : Gangeti Telugu : Manupasupu.
Chemical Constituents
The chief constituent of the roots and stem bark of Berberis aristata is an alkaloid Berberine which is reported to be responsible for hepatoprotective activity of Berberis aristata other constituents including berbamine, aromoline, palmatine oxyacanthine and oxyberberine are also isolated. Alcoholic extract of the bark of Berberis aristata yielded berberine, berberine chloride and palmatine chloride (yield of the alkaloids as salts, is 4% of dry wt of bark).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health
Pharmacology
Berberis aristata is used in Indian traditional medicine. It is antibacterial, antiperiodic, antidiarrhoeal, ophthalmic, and anti diabetic in action. It is an important commodity in folklore medicine of India for as laxative, ophthalmia and other eye diseases. The root bark of Berberis aristata is a good source of berberine, an alkaloid. Berberine has good antioxidant properties, allow it to act as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, and anti-diabetic. In a scientific study of the anti-diabetic activity of the plant, diabetic rats treated with the ethanol extract of the roots showed a significant reduction of serum glucose level, however, it also showed a significant increase in the level of HDL cholesterol. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and immuno potentiating property. One of its active constituent berbamine effectively inhibits chemically-induced hepato carcinogenesis. Preliminary reports indicate that it possesses anticancer activity as tested against mouse leukemic cells, human hepatoma cells and colon cancer cells. It is postulated that its anticancer activity may be due to its COX-II inhibitory property.
Health Benefits
Fruit, bark and roots of Berberis aristata possess various beneficial pharmacological properties. It has been used in ethno medicine and various ayurvedic formulations. The fruits of Berberis aristata act as a cooling laxative. The stem is said to be diaphoretic and laxative and useful in rheumatism. The bark of its root is a valuable medicine in intermittent and remittent fevers. The root is one of the few really good medicines in India. It can be used as a purgative for children and as a blood-purifier, a tonic and a febrifuge. It is also beneficial in diarrhoea, jaundice and skin diseases. Berberis aristata plant has been traditionally useful in all types of inflammations, ENT infections, wound healing, dysentery, indigestion, uterine and vaginal disorders. It is also reported to be a mild laxative, a tonic and is useful in curing ulcers and fevers. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and immunopotentiating property. The dried extract of the roots are applied externally to the eyelids to cure ophthalmia and other eye diseases. It is also reported to be a mild laxative, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory.
Research References
1. Papiya M. M., Saumya D., Sanjita D. and Manas K. D. Cytotoxic Activity of Methanolic Extracts of Berberis aristata DC and Hemidesmus indicus R.Br. in MCF7 Cell Line Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research 2010; 01: 12-15 2. Saumya D., Manas Kumar D., Papiya M. M., Sanjita D. and Saumya P. B. Cytotoxic Activity of Methanolic Extract of Berberis aristata DC on Colon Cancer Global Journal of Pharmacology, 3 (3): 137-140, 2009 3. NITINKUMAR U., ROSHAN P., NAHEED W. and NAVEEN KUMAR M. HYPOGLYCEMIC EFFECT OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF BERBERIS ARISTATA DC STEM ON NORMAL AND STREPTOZOTOCIN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 3(1) 2011 4. Anwar-Ul Hassan G. and Khalid Hussain J. Preventive and curative effects of Berberis aristata Fruit extract on paracetamol- and CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity Phytotherapy Research 9(7): 489–494 1995 5. Suresh Kumar G., Renu A., Sushma S., Puneet A., Shyam Sunder A., Rohit S. and Niranjan G. The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Curcuma longa and Berberis aristata in Endotoxin-Induced Uveitis in Rabbits Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, September 2008, 49(9):4036-4041 6. V. P. Kamboj Herbal medicine CURRENT SCIENCE, 2000 78(1):35-52 7. R. BRADLEY S. AND JEAN L. F. Berberine Inhibits Intestinal Secretory Response of Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli Enterotoxins INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 1982, 35(2):471-475 8. Meenakshi S., Sharad S., AKS Rawat Antimicrobial activities of Indian Berberis species 78(7-8):574-576 9. Parmar, C. and M.K. Kaushal. 1982. Berberis aristata. p. 10–14. In: Wild Fruits. Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi, India