Investigating functional properties of barberry species: an overview

J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Sep;99(12):5255-5269. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9804. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


The introduction of new crops and the development of the use of wild plants creates the potential to diversify global food production and better enable local adaptation to the diverse and changing environments that humans inhabit. Barberry is widely distributed worldwide and is recognized as a valuable plant. In this review, we summarize the functional compounds and nutraceutical features of barberry species. Barberry plants have fruits, flowers, leaves, stems and roots. All of these parts contain very important compounds, such as anthocyanins, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, vitamins and minerals, etc., which have been used for many years in traditional medicine. These compounds have a strong impact on human health and can be used as a painkiller, as well as for the relief of fever, diarrhea and vomiting. They are also useful for curing liver and vascular problems and preventing many diseases. One of the most important functional compounds in the barberry plant is berberine, which exists in its different parts. Studies have shown that berberine in barberry reduces cholesterol and blood glucose. It can help to prevent Alzheimer's and neoplastic diseases. Furthermore, it has antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. According to the investigations, barberry plant derivations can be considered as useful additives and functional compounds in various industries, especially in the food industry. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: alkaloids; barberry; functional compounds; phenolic; therapeutic properties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / chemistry
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Berberis / chemistry*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Humans
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Vitamins / chemistry
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Anthocyanins
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vitamins