Indian barberry is a large thorny shrub with yellow wood and whitish or pale grey branches. The chief constituent of the drug is berberine, a bitter alkaloid. Two alkaloid chlorides, namely palmatine chloride and a mixture of palmatine and berberine chlorides have also been isolated from the plant. The dried roots of the plant constitute the drug.
Indian barberry is useful in restoring the disordered processes of nutrition and restores the normal function of the system.
Botanical Name: Berberries aristata
Indian Name: Rasaut
Below are some of the medicinal properties of Indian barberry:
- Indian barberry is a valuable remedy for treating bleeding piles. It is given in doses of 33 to 100 centigrams with butter. A dilute solution can also be used externally for treating piles.
- Indian barberry is as effective as quinine in malarial fevers. It is particularly useful in relieving pyrexia and checking the return of paroxysms of intermittent fevers. The bark and the root bark are given as a decoction or infusion. Infusion is given in doses of 25 to 75 grams twice or thrice a day. Decoction is given in doses of 150 grams between paroxysms of fever.
- It is beneficial in stomach disorders. It is also used in the treatment of cholera, diarrhea and dysentery.
- Indian barberry is also used with good results in the treatment of eye diseases. It is mixed with butter and alum or with opium or lime juice and applied externally on eyelids to cure ophthalmia and other eye diseases. Mixed with milk, it can be used effectively as a lotion in conjunctivitis.
- Indian barberry arrests any excessive blood loss during the monthly period, administered in doses of 13 to 25 centigrams.
- In skin diseases, it is generally given in doses of 13 to 25 centigrams. The decoction of the bark and the root bark is efficacious as a cleanser for ulcers and sores, as it helps cicatrisation or formation of scar over the wound.
Root bark, roots and lower stems are boiled in water, strained and evaporated till a semi solid mass is obtained. This is called rasaut which is fairly soluble in water.