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Barberries (barberry, raw, organic?)

Barberry (barberry, raw) contains berberine, which helps with pancreatitis. It also lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fat levels. Organic?
Given the lack of nutritional information for this ingredient, we did not include it in the calculations for the nutrition table.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 0%
Macronutrient proteins 0%
Macronutrient fats 0%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

The berries of the common barberry ( Berberis vulgaris ) are edible raw and dried . If possible, prefer cultivated berries in organic quality .

Use in the kitchen

The red barberry berries are fruity and sour and rather bitter in taste. They are mainly used to make juice, jam, marmalade and chutneys, similar to sea buckthorn berries and cranberries . To do this, the berries are often passed through a fine sieve and the bitter-tasting seeds are discarded.

Can you eat barberry berries raw? Raw barberries can be eaten fresh like other berries and used to garnish muesli (see, for example, Erb-Müesli ). They also taste great as a topping on soy yoghurt or in a smoothie. In a fruit salad, they are best combined with sweet fruits such as apples , bananas , grapes and figs . Because of their sour taste, they should be used sparingly. They also go well in a raw vegetable salad, for example in a citrus salad with sumac dressing .

In oriental countries, dried barberries are used in a similar way to raisins to season rice (barberry rice), couscous or quinoa . In addition to barberries, spiced rice often also contains saffron , almonds , sometimes cardamom , cumin and cinnamon . The berries also taste delicious in cakes or muffins.

Vegan recipe for oriental quinoa with barberry

Ingredients (for 4 people): 6 tbsp barberries ( dried ), 2 onions , 2 cloves of garlic , 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, 500 g quinoa , 1 l vegetable stock with a little salt , 2 tsp cumin seeds , 2 tsp cinnamon powder , 800 g pak choi , 60 g hazelnuts .

Preparation: Soak the barberries in water. Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a medium-sized pan and sauté the onions and garlic. Place the quinoa in a sieve, rinse with cold water and then drain well. Add the quinoa to the pan and deglaze with vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the drained barberries and season with cumin and cinnamon. Turn off the stove and leave the quinoa to simmer in the pan for 5 minutes with the lid closed. Meanwhile, wash the pak choi, drain and halve lengthways. Fry gently in a large pan with the cut side down for approx. 7 minutes. Serve the barberry quinoa with the pak choi and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.

Vegan recipes with common barberry (raw) can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

You cannot buy fresh barberries at major retailers such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa . Organic supermarkets such as Denn's Biomarkt and Alnatura do not stock them in their standard range either. You can occasionally buy fresh barberries at weekly markets or you can grow them yourself. In the DA-CH region, the harvest season is in August and September . 1

Dried barberries (also in organic quality) are often available online.

The availability of raw barberries (barberry) varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking on them you can see their development at various suppliers.

Found in the wild

Throughout its entire distribution area (North Africa, West Asia and Southern and Central Europe), the barberry sometimes grows wild or "wild". 3 Preferred locations are hedges, light forests, sunny hills and slopes. 1

Storage tips:

Barberry berries do not last very long when raw, so they should be processed quickly once they have been freshly picked. The berries can be frozen or dried for longer storage.

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

We do not yet have complete nutritional tables for the ingredients of fresh barberry berries (organic). Barberry consists of 2% protein, 16.24% carbohydrates, 79.6% moisture (water), 0.99% ash and 1.16% fat. They contain iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese as well as vitamin A and vitamin C. 3

In dried form , barberries naturally show a more concentrated content of nutrients, as the water content is only 25%.

The complete ingredients of barberries (raw), the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Effects on health

Is barberry healthy? Barberries are rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They also contain valuable secondary plant substances such as tannins, anthocyanins and phenolic compounds (including catechin, chlorogenic acid and gallic acid). Barberries are sometimes referred to as a "superfood". However, compared to other fruits and berries, they are not exceptional and in some cases even perform worse in terms of nutritional value.

The active ingredient catechin is an antioxidant and inhibits lipoprotein oxidation. In addition, antimycotic activity against Candida albicans has been demonstrated in vitro . Chlorogenic acid and gallic acid also act as antioxidants and reduce free radicals, which reduces oxidative stress. Both secondary plant substances have anti-cancer effects. Gallic acid is also antimicrobial, antimycotic and anti-inflammatory. Due to these phenolic compounds, ethanol and water extracts of barberry berries have an antioxidant effect. 3

Berberine is the predominant alkaloid in barberry. The berberine content in the berries is 5.2-7.7%. 9 In addition to barberry (barberry), turmeric ( Curcuma longa ), Chinese goldenseal ( Coptis sp. ), goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis ), and Oregon grape ( Mahonia aquifolium ) also contain large amounts of berberine. 11 Berberine is a bioactive substance with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. 3,4

Berberine works against elevated blood lipid levels (hypolipidemic). 4 Studies in rats show that administration of barberry extracts can significantly reduce serum cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels. 12 Berberine also supports the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis, which is why it is being investigated as a potential therapeutic drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases associated with cholesterol overload. 6 Barberry extracts lowered blood pressure and slowed the heart rate in rats with hypertension and with normotensive (normal) blood pressure. A vasodilatory effect was also observed. 7,8 A hypoglycemic (blood sugar regulating) effect of berberine has also been demonstrated. 4 Berberine also lowers fasting blood sugar and HBA1C (long-term blood sugar) in adult patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. 9

Studies in cell and animal models show that berberine relieves inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and minimizes damage to the cells of the pancreas. It may prevent damage to the pancreatic tissue. It also appears to help restore normal function. This is important because pancreatitis is a risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer. 11

The poor solubility and low bioavailability when taken orally (consumption of plant components or extracts) limits its clinical use. Clinical studies are required to confirm the results from the numerous animal studies and to be able to use berberine as a therapeutic drug. 10 Only then can berberine be used as a potential drug for the treatment of high blood pressure, high blood lipid levels, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and pancreatitis.

Does berberine help you lose weight? As mentioned above, berberine has an influence on blood glucose and fat levels, so the promise is high. Obesity is always associated with high lipid levels, so modulating lipid metabolism is important for weight control. Berberine lowers blood sugar levels and inhibits certain enzymes (α-glycosidase), which means that the body can only absorb a limited amount of glucose. 13 However, the targeted advertising of berberine as a "weight loss product" or dietary supplement is not effective. Because you can only lose weight healthily and permanently by changing your diet and not by using individual products.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

The whole plant is slightly poisonous, with the exception of the ripe berries. Both the leaves and the roots contain large amounts of alkaloids (including berberine, oxyberberine, berbamine and iatorrhizin). These can lead to poisoning in large quantities. 1 After ingesting large quantities, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, nosebleeds, kidney irritation, shortness of breath and seizures can occur. 5

In naturopathy, all parts of the barberry are used in small doses. 1 Adults usually tolerate berberine doses of up to 500 mg well. 5

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety ( ANSES ) advises against children and pregnant and breastfeeding women consuming food supplements containing berberine. 14

When taking berberine, unwanted interactions with medications can also occur. 14

Folk medicine - natural medicine

The fruits, leaves and roots of the barberry are traditionally used for fever, cough, liver diseases, depression, hyperlipidemia (disorder of fat metabolism), hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar) and bleeding. 4 It is also said to help against liver congestion (blood congestion in the liver), to stimulate bile production, for loss of appetite and for constipation. 1 Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) and also American indigenous peoples recognized the effects of barberries on ulcers, infections, jaundice and inflammation. 11

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Despite extensive research, we have not yet found any significant figures on the ecological footprint of barberries. In comparison, the values ofelderberry with a CO 2 footprint of 1.17 kg CO 2 eq/kg, other berries such asblueberriesand raspberries have a similar value of around 1 kg CO 2 eq/kg berries. 16

The water footprint of blueberries is 845 l/kg, the water consumption of fruits in general is about 962 l/kg fruit. 17

Like other barberry plants, the common barberry is popular with birds, insects and bees. Birds eat the red berries and the shrub offers shelter from predators thanks to its thorns. Barberry is therefore often planted in parks or as a hedge plant along the property. The yellow flowers provide bees and other insects with plenty of nectar from April to June. 15

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Barberries ( Berberis vulgaris ) are native to North Africa, West Asia and Southern and Central Europe. They grow at 800-1500 m above sea level, even on dry and stony soils. 3 The barberry family probably came from northwest Africa via Spain to Central Europe. 1 Barberries are now cultivated mainly in cooler regions. 3

One of the largest producers of barberry berries is Iran. In the Khorasan region alone (growing area in the northeast) around 4,500 tons are produced and in the whole of Iran around 10,000 tons are produced per year. 2.4


barberries prefer a partially shaded to sunny location. They have no special requirements when it comes to soil. Calcareous, dry to moderately moist soils seem to be particularly suitable. 2

Barberry bushes are usually purchased as young plants in pots. They can be transplanted into the garden from spring to autumn. They generally do not require fertilization or watering.

To encourage fruit production, barberries should be pruned regularly, similar to currants . 2 The ripe fruits are harvested in August and September. 1 A seedless variety called "Asperma" has been cultivated in Iran for around 200 years. This is probably the common barberry, which produces seedless fruits when it is older. 2

Further information

Common barberry ( Berberis vulgaris ) belongs to the barberry family (Berberidaceae). Barberries are popular ornamental trees for gardens and parks.

Barberry plants act as intermediate hosts for the black rust of cereals ( Puccinia graminis ). Infected leaves show orange-yellow to rust-brown pustules on the underside, from which the spores of the black rust fungus can then spread by the wind to cereals such as wheat , barley , oats and rye . This is why barberry plants have been almost eradicated in some parts of Europe. 2

Alternative names

The common barberry is also called real barberry, vinegar berry or sour thorn. It should not be confused with sea buckthorn, whose berries can also be eaten. Other names are boy's bush, three-thorn, vinegar-sharp, cuckoo's bread, spit-thorn, Spitzbeerli and Zitzerlstrauch. 1 Barberry also has many regional trivial names.

The English name is barberry.

Other uses

The bark and roots were formerly used to dye textiles, leather and wood yellow. The hard wood is suitable for inlay and turning work. 2