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Berberis crataegina DC; Overview and Health Benefits

Last updated on April 26, 2023

Berberis crataegina DC. is a shrub-shaped plant of the genus Berberis, which is distributed in the northern temperate regions of the world in Southern Asia, including the northeastern region of the United States, many parts of central and southern Europe and the northern region of Pakistan.

However, it is reported that there are about 500 different species in the world. There are four species of this genus naturally in Turkey and they are reported as Berberis vulgaris, Berberis integerrima, Berberis crataegina and Berberis cretica.

Berberis crataegina DC., which belongs to the Berberidaceae family and the Berberis genus, spreads naturally in Turkey (usually outside of Western Anatolia) and Iran.

According to TÜBİVES (Turkish Plant Data Service) data, the Central Anatolia region is among the most common places. It also grows naturally in Kastamonu, Ankara, Antalya, Erzincan, Kayseri, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Niğde, Şanlıurfa, Yozgat and Bayburt provinces.

It grows in groups of different sizes, usually on rocky slopes, among bushes. In addition, it usually grows between 800 m and 1500 m altitudes and can be up to 2 m in height. In different regions of Anatolia, It is also called by different names such as “karamuk”, “karamık”, “diken üzümü”, “amberparis”, “sarı ağaç”, “sarı çalı” and “sarı odun”.

This plant has dark reddish brown young shoots and its body is thorny. This plant has dark reddish brown young shoots and its body is thorny. The distinguishing feature of this species from other species is that the leaves are usually longer than the spines.

The flowering time of barberry is in May-June.  Barberries are single spiny and elliptical fruits. When it reaches maturity, it gets a black body and its inner parts are yellow.

The elliptical fruits are dark red-brown when immature, black when ripe, and taste slightly sour. These fruits are in fleshy fruit structures containing one or more seeds.

In addition, some of the fruits are like a bunch of grapes, while in others it is seen that they are one by one. There are no black lenticels on young stems, and the leaves are usually 1-4 cm long, with coarsely toothed or entire margins. Flower boards are 1-3 cm long and consist of 6-15 flowers.

Although the barberry fruit has been known and used in different ways since ancient times, it has the potential to be considered new in terms of scientific research and to be the subject of many new studies.

Studies on the fruit, leaves and roots of this plant continue intensively. In some studies on Berberis crataegina DC. fruit, phenolic compounds; chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, gallic acid, sinapic acid, caffeic acid, apigenin, rutin, cinnamic acid, quercetin, gallic acid, p-coumaric acid and trans-ferulic acid were detected.

It can be said that barberry fruits are good antioxidants and rich in phenolic substances. It has been determined that berberine (BBR) alkaloid and its extracts in B. crataegina have strong antifungal and antidiabetic activity.

Berberis crataegina DC. plant has been found to have a high rate of phenolic substance and antioxidant activity as a result of the studies.

In one study, it was determined that barberry fruit contains berberine, palmatin, berbamine, magnoflorin, jotrorhizin alkaloids, malvidol from flovonoids, anthocyanins, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid in its leaves.

Health Benefits of Berberis crataegina DC.

It has been reported that berberine and various other alkaloids, which are the active ingredients in the root of the barberry plant, are antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and effective against oriental boil, prevent the growth of bacteria and have therapeutic effects in diseases such as hemorrhoids, jaundice, bronchitis and colds.

In addition, it is known that the ointment obtained as a result of mixing the ash formed by burning barberry roots and unsalted butter is good for all kinds of wounds.

The taste of barberry fruits is slightly sour and contains high levels of anthocyanin and vitamin C, tannins and organic acids. All parts of this plant (fruit, root, branch, flower and leaf) are often used in traditional medicine for the treatment of various diseases.

Berberis crataegina DC.  is generally consumed by the people of the region where it grows, with traditional methods specific to the region. Barberry fruits are widely used in different regions of Türkiye for the treatment of colds, rheumatism, blood pressure lowering, blood builder, diarrhea, constipation, jaundice, hemorrhoids, yeast, diabetes, gall bladder, stomach and intestinal disorders, cardiovascular and gynecological diseases.

In addition, it is known that the fruit of the plant is eaten in diabetes  and in some regions, the roots are boiled and the boiled water is drunk in the morning on an empty stomach and used in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, kidney pain and jaundice.

In addition to the fruits of this plant, its leaves and roots are also evaluated in different ways. The leaves of this plant; It is used as a blood pressure reducer and expectorant.

The flowers of this fruit are used in the treatment of jaundice and hemorrhoids. It is used directly by the people of the region where it is located, as well as beverages (hosaf, fruit syrup, etc.), jam, marmalade and dessert are also made.

It is also reported that it is added to soup and bulgur pilaf to add flavor. It is said that the tents of the Ottoman armies in the 1st World War were painted with barberry root.

With the cultivation of this fruit, which grows wild in almost every region of our country and is not given much importance, the unused or unproductive lands will be brought into fruit growing and it will contribute to the country’s economy by expanding the utilization areas.

It is seen that this wild fruit, which is considered to be very promising in terms of antioxidant substance amount, phenolic components and antimicrobial potential, will increase its consumption and increase the diversity in production by developing cultural production methods and introducing it to the whole country.


Baytop, T. (1999). Herbal treatment in Turkey (past and present). Nobel Medicine Publisher, Istanbul.

Karabulut, A. (2018). Berberis vulgaris L. and Berberis crataegina DC naturally found in Bayburt province. Biochemical characterization of wild fruits. Master Thesis. Bayburt University, Institute of Science and Technology, Department of Food Engineering,Bayburt.

Eroglu, A.Y. (2019). Determination of some physicochemical properties and antioxidant and antimicrobial capacity of wild Berberis vulgaris L. and Berberis crataegina DC. fruits. Master Thesis. Bayburt University, Institute of Science and Technology, Department of Food Engineering, Bayburt.

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