A review on biological and chemical diversity in Berberis (Berberidaceae)
Keywords:Berberis, berberine, pharmacology, ethno botany
Berberis is an important genus and well known in the Indian as well as European systems of traditional medicine. It is used since ancient times for curing eye disease, fever, jaundice, rheumatism, vomiting during pregnancy, kidney and gall balder stones and various other ailments due to the presence of biologically active alkaloid berberine. Action of the root extracts of few species are believed to be as powerful as quinine in the treatment of malarial fever.
A plethora of literature pertaining to the taxonomy, biology, chemistry, traditional and ethnic uses of Berberis in different countries and indigenous cultures was collected by both offline (library, journals, textbooks etc.) and online mode (electronic search of available databases). In addition to this, books on traditional medicine and ethno pharmacological knowledge were also referred to extract ancient uses of Berberis in different traditional medicine systems. Most of the folklore, traditional and ethno botanical claims about Berberis species were validated by broad spectrum in vitro and vivo pharmacological studies. The present article summarizes its usage in eye and liver disorder, fever, kidney and gall stones along with anticancer activity.
This comprehensive review will not only help researchers for further evaluation but also provide substantial information for future exploitation of species to develop novel herbal formulations.
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