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A composite review of Berberis in service of humanity-in-trouble: an ethnopharmacological and pharmacognosic perspective

Tika Khan, Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, Abdul Rehman

1Integrated Mountain Area Research Centre, Karakoram International University, Pakistan 2Department of Biological Sciences, Karakoram International University, Pakistan

Key words: Berberis, Pharmacognosy, Diseases, Ethnopharmacology, Berberine, Therapeutic, Cancer, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS.


rsz_berberis green1-500x500Berberis, being one of the oldest therapeutic sources has been frequently used in traditional and modern health care systems across the globe. It is included in pharmacopoeia of British, India, China and several other Homeopathic Materia Medica. Out of 29 (6-7%) Berberis species reported for their various ethnobotanical uses, seventeen (n=17, 3-4%) were found are used to treat almost hundred (n=100) human diseases ranging from skin irritation to diabetes, cardiac ailments and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Among these species, B. lyceum exhibited the widest utility scope with thirty seven (n=37) diseases followed by B. aristata/ chitria (n=32), B. pseudumbellata (n=18), B. holstii (n=18), B. vulgaris/kunawurensis (n=17), B. asiatica (n=16), B. jeshkeana (n=11), B. aquifolium (n=4), B. petiolaris (n=3), B. ulicina (n=3), B. tinctoria (n=2), B. haematocarpa (n=2), B. walichina (n=2), B. crataegina (2), B. pachyacantha (n=1) and B. coriacea (n=1). Different diseases showed differential number of Berberis species used for their treatment. Jaundice and hepatic disorders are treated with ten (n=10, 5.92%) different species. Eye (opthalemic), malaria and fever were treated using 8 (4.73%), 6 (3.55%) and 5 (2.96%) species respectively. Fifty seven percent (n=53, 57%) diseases are treated with different but single species. Review revealed that Berberis species a great potential source for alternative, safer, effective, less expensive use, instead of various in-effective, expensive and unsafe allopathic medication. Study was aimed at exploration of various Berberis species used for different human diseases along with their scale and scope.

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