How did you find out barberries are useful for treating pain?
Mommmmmmy… Can I have some barberries for my legs?
What do barberries have to do with your legs?
They make my growing pains go away.
Are you sure you’re not just trying to get out of bed and have a snack?
No, they realllly help my leg pains.
Ok, here. Now go back to bed.
Oddly enough, that was the first night in a lengthy string of nights, that the aches and pain from a growth spurt fully resolved. I still wasn’t totally convinced, however. I mean, we weren’t talking about an Rx or a dose of Motrin – things we all know work to relieve pain. We were talking about a berry. A handful of dried fruit. Nothing more than a snack food. Ok, maybe a little more; a healthy snack food.
After a handful of nights using barberries as a pain treatment for growing pains, I was convinced enough to do some research. I wanted to find out what other, if any, medicinal applications were available for barberries, as well as whether or not my boys’ pain relief was a placebo effect, or truly a natural cure. It wasn’t long into my search that I found out barberries have more uses than I have fingers and toes.
Here are a few of my favorite medicinal uses for barberries:
- Barberry has been used for thousands of years to relieve or reduce fevers.
- Barberry contains berberine, which inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms.
- Barberry can relieve diarrhea quickly because it has astringent properties.
- Barberry contains antioxidant properties. (I’m an anti-aging nut, so of course it’s a favorite!)
- Barberry is thought to have anti-convulsant properties and is used to treat seizures by some naturopathic physicians.
- Barberry can be made into a tea & used to treat respiratory issues such as bronchitis and sooth sore throats.
- Barberries are the one thing I can take that cuts the pain of my migraine headaches (at least) in half.
- Barberries have anti-inflammatory properties.
And that’s just a tad more than a handful of the seemingly endless uses for barberries. And another one of my fave things about this plants is that it can be used it’s entirety. While consuming the dried berry is my favorite way to ingest this plant, you can also use the leaves and roots in tea or capsule form.
But how many barberries is a “dose” of medicine? At our house, we use a that little measuring cup that comes with a bottle of liquid medicine, such as cough syrup or Tylenol, as a guide. One scoop is a regular dose and two is for more severe pain. Personally, I take two full scoops for a migraine, but for something like achy joints or indigestion, one scoop does just fine. For a more detailed dosing chart, check out University of Maryland’s Medical Center website. They even have a dosing chart to give you an idea of what a healthcare professional may recommend.
Barberries are natural. That means they’re safe, right?
Wrong. Just because something grows naturally doesn’t make it safe for everyone or every circumstance. While barberries are generally accepted as safe, like anything, too much can be a bad thing. Barberries can interact with some prescription medications and in very high doses may cause nose bleeds, nausea or other issues. And because barberries can stimulate the uterus, you should avoid them while pregnant.
So now that you know how great barberries are, the next step is finding a trusted source for them, if you can’t or don’t grow your own. After sampling barberries from a handful of different sellers, I finally came across a vendor I can trust. The Raw Food World through Amazon offers raw, organic, dried barberries (and many other raw products) that I trust and I get free shipping too! Until I can grow my own barberries, or find a better tasting version of the dried fruit elsewhere, they are my go to source.