Family Berberidaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Barberry Family

Physical description: The family Berberidaceae consists of about 13 genera and 650 species of woody herbs, shrubs and treelets which are widespread in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The genus Berberis is by far the largest genus with some 500 species. The chemical weapons used here are mainly isoquinoline (berberine) alkaloids, occasionally quinolizidine alkaloids, and lignans and triterpenoid saponins. The stems are often woody and show typical broad medullary rays in transversal section. The leaves are simple or compound, alternate and without stipules. The flowers are hermaphrodite, hypogynous, and mostly trimerous. The sepals and petals are similar. The perianth consists of 2 series of sepals, and 4 series of petals. The andrecium consists of 6 stamens facing the petals, with short filaments, and with tetraspo-rangiate anthers which are dithecal and open by valves. The gynecium comprises of a single carpel which encloses a few anatropous ovules. The fruits are berries. The seeds are often arillate.

Pharmaceutical interest: Berberis aristata is a herbal ingredient of Asian medicines used in UK to invigorate and to treat fever, and has been listed 3000 BC by the Caraka Samhits to treat obesity. The tubers of Leontice leon-topetalum contain saponins and alkaloids and have been used for the treatment of epilepsy. Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf), Mahonia aquifolium, Hydrastis canadensis, Caulophyllum thalictroides and Podophyllum peltatum L. (May apple) have long been used by North American Indians for medicinal purposes.

OCH3

Berberine

OCH3

och3

Berberine

The roots of Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf) and Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape) have been used to invigorate health. The dried rhizomes and roots of Hydrastis canadensis (Hydrastis, BHP) have been used to stop uterine hemorrhage. The rhizome of Podophyllum peltatum L. (May apple) has been used to remove warts and to relieve the bowels of costiveness. It contains podophyl-lotoxin, a cytotoxic lignan from which etoposide has been semisynthetically developed to treat lung cancer, lymphoma and leukemia.

Berberidaceae abound with isoquinoline alkaloids of therapeutic value. One such compound is berberine (Chinese Pharmacopoeia, 1997) which is a broad spectrum antibiotic and antiprotozoal benzyltetrahydroisoquinolines alkaloid. Berberine is amphiphile and penetrates bacteria. It is bacteriostatic at low doses and bactericide at higher doses and is used to make antiseptic collyres in Europe. It destroys in vitro several sorts of bacteria, fungi and protozoa (Leishmania and Plasmodium). In the Asia-Pacific, a number of plants classified within the family Berberidaceae are used to invigorate health, treat fever and counteract putrefaction.

Constipation Prescription

Constipation Prescription

Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.

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