Barberry (berberis vulgaris) is a shrub that is native to  Europe but is cultivated in North America .  Many grow it simply as an attractive hedge, but it does have traditional healing properties.  The bark and roots are used as a kidney tonic.  It is also useful for back pain and other pains.  It is used to treat digestive problems including heartburn, indigestion and gallbladder disease.  It is also helpful in treating hepatitis.  Barberry decreases heart rate and slows breathing.  It is a good immune system booster. 
     Externally, it is used to treat infections, parasites and skin problems including eczema.  It is often recommended for yeast and bladder infections.   Eye drops made from barberry reduce bloodshot eyes (Murine eye drops contain the active chemical in barberry, berberine).
  The ancient Egyptians used a mixture or barberry and fennel seed to fight plague.


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