Phytopharmacological and ethnomedicinal uses of the Genus Berberis (Berberidaceae): A review
Plants belonging to Berberis are reported in several folklore medicinal pharmacopeias and are used in traditional medicines in Asia and European countries. The plants have been used in the preparation of various traditional and synthetic medicines since pre-historic times for wound healing, fever, eye disease, jaundice, vomiting during pregnancy, rheumatism, kidney and gall balder stones, and several other illnesses. Their healing properties are appear to be due to the presence of secondary metabolites and important alkaloids with different pharmacological activities. Their antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-diabetic, and anti-tumor activities as well as positive effects on the cardiovascular and body immune systems have been reported. Root extracts of some species of the plant genus contain quinine which acts as a powerful anti-malarial agent. The main chemical constituents of Berberis plants are alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, terpenoids and reducing sugars. Of these alkaloids, berberine is the most important. The present review focuses on recent advances in phytopharmacological and ethnomedicinal uses of plants belonging to Berberis genus.
Keywords: Berberis, Alkaloids, Berberine, Pharmacology, Phytochemistry, Ethnomedicinal uses