Berberis – Barberry

Berberis – Barberry

The mother tincture is prepared from the dried bark of Berberis vulgaris L. N.O. Berberidaceae.

The active ingredients of the mother tincture are the alkaloids berberine, oxyacan- thine and berbamine.

Some characteristic indications for Berberis are irritations and inflammations of the urinary system; also pronounced renal pains, extending in all directions, espe- cially down the ureters, tearing, stabbing, burning or cutting pains, possibly pro- ceeding to the point of bladder-pain and tenesmus, even extending down the urethra and into the testicles, states which are frequently found in renal colic and urinary gravel. Thus Berberis is one of the main remedies against renal calculi, and has proved its worth generally in other conditions of the urinary tract, e.g. in cystitis and pyelitis, although other remedies are also indicated for this.

Even without colic or other pains, it may have a stiffness and feeling of numbness in the renal area, possibly in the whole back, linked with great weakness.

Weakness and exhaustion, in particular, are further symptoms of Berberis, possi- bly linked with a battered feeling and prostration as well as a stiffness of the limbs and lameness.

Sweats may be present, with the impression that these sweats occur especially when one is weak and mentally exhausted, and on every exertion. There is a familiar vicariation of symptoms between skin and kidney. In lowered kidney function there is a vicariating dermal secretion.

The general reluctance to work, exhaustion and weakness are accompanied by an ap- athetic, tearful and despondent mood, along with mental fatigue with swimming head, deep contemplation, inability to think, possibly to the point of incapacity to work.

Years of observation have convinced the author that Berberis has a pronounced ac- tion not only on the renal system, but also on the adrenal glands. The blue rings which occur below the eyes in states of exhaustion are likewise helped by Berberis, as are other symptoms of a depressed functioning of the adrenal cortex, which ex- press themselves in a gouty, rheumatic state, linked with pains in the joints, prostra- tion and heaviness of the limbs, drawing and tightness in the muscles, and also skin symptoms, which may express themselves in a flushed face with red, burning patch- es and eruption of itching red nodules, vesicles and pimples, with subsequent desquamation.

Liver and bile symptoms also belong to Berberis. Thus it is indicated in cholangi- tis with pains in the right hypochondrium and pressure below the right ribs, and possibly also on the left side in the lineal flexure; also bitter eructations with flatu- lent distension and possibly icterus.

Occasionally there is a painful blister on the tip of the tongue. In the stomach there can be a sensation of coldness with pressure and eructations. Chronic digestive dis- turbances with a tendency to diarrhoea will also be helped by Berberis, if the gener- al symptom-picture agrees. The urine frequently tends to be dark red, murky and of a thick, slimy consistency.

In women there may also be leucorrhoea with dysmenorrhoea and venous stasis in the pelvis and lower abdomen, possibly also with endometritis and oophoritis.

There may also be haemorrhoids with itching and burning in the anus and the raw feeling so typical of Berberis, and with pulsating stabbing in the sacrum, as well as anal fissures.

Although extracts of Berberis are generally considered to be non-toxic, it was possible to demonstrate a toxic action in experiments with Berberine (C 20H17NO4), also known as Jamaicin or Xanthopicrite. Doses of one to three grammes were in- jected intravenously into dogs and rabbits, and the effects included salivation, nau- sea, vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty in respiration, trembling and finally fatal paraly- sis. On internal administration, diarrhoea has been observed.

On summing up the main symptoms of Berberis, we have the following typical remedy-picture:

  1. Pains from renal calculi, especially renal colic; also other diseases of the genito- urinary system, cystitis with pyelitis, urinary tenesmus with cloudy, mealy, red or flaky urine.
  2. Liver-affections, cholangitis, cholecystitis, gallstone colic, icterus.
  3. Haemorrhoids with itching and burning in the anus and hard, bloody stool; tenes- mus and pulsating stabbing in the sacrum.
  4. Diarrhoea, gastritis with pressure in the stomach. Blisters on the tip of the tongue. Pre-cancerous states.
  5. Adrenal exhaustion. Stress. General exhaustion and depressive mood. Blue rings around and below the eyes.
  6. Gouty, rheumatic illnesses as an expression of deficient renal secretion and low- ered adrenal function. (Direction of connective tissue function.) Linked with this:
  7. Skin problems with itching vesicles, pustules etc.
  8. Neuropathic condition. Mental fatigue. Inability to think. Exhaustion with lame- ness and stiffness in all joints.

Berberis is always indicated when there is general homotoxic over-loading which makes itself known through overloading of the excretory organs, such as kidneys and liver, possibly also skin, and which can lead to the most varied symptoms through homotoxins linked with deposition phases. Here it is possible for reverse ac- tion on the mesenchyme and the autonomic nervous system to take place because of the toxic weakness of the adrenal function.

The German Monograph-Preparation Commission for the Homoeopathic Field of Therapy has, under the Preparation Monograph for Berberis vulgaris, published the following indication(s) in the German Bundesanzeiger (German Federal Gazette) for berberis vulgaris: renal and urinary-tract disorders, especially nephrolithiasis; gout; rheumatism; disorders of the liver and gallbladder; dry skin disorders; fistulas.