Home | Herbal Plants | Berberis aristata, Berberis coccinea, Berberis macrophylla


Poll: Like Our New Look?
Do you like our new look & feel?

Berberis aristata, Berberis coccinea, Berberis macrophylla

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Shivani Kagra* & K.L. Dahiya**


* Pursuing Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgeory; Lal Bahadur Shastri Mahila Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Bilaspur (Yamuna Nagar), Haryana, India

** Kurukshetra Global City, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India


Vernacular name:

Assamese: Kulekhara

Bengali: Darhaldi, Daaruharidraa, Daruharidra

English: Indian Barberry, Tree Turmeric, Chitra

Gujarati: Chitraa Daruharidra, Daaruhaldar, Daaruhaldi, Darhald, Daruhuladur, Talimkhana, Zarishka (Fruit)

Hindi: Chitra, Chotra, Dar-chob, Dar-hald, Darhald, Daruhaldi, Darhald, Talmakhana

Kannada: Baagi soothra, Bagisutra, Maradarishana, Maradrishina, Daruhaldi, Nirmulli, Kolavalike, Kolavankae

Kashmiri: Ras ashud, Rasvat

Malayalam: Kasturimanjal, Maradarisina, Maramannal, Maramanjal, Vayalchulli

Marathi: Daruhalad, Talimakhana

Oriya: Daruharidra, Daaruhaldi, Daruhalidi, Koilrekha, Koillekha

Punjabi: Chitra, Daarhaldi, Kasmal, Simlu, Sumalu, Sumlu

Sanskrit: Daruharidra, Darvi, Darurajani, Darhald, Katamkateri

Tamil: Gangeti, Nirmulle, Kasturimanjal, Varatiu manjal

Telugu: Daruharidra, Kasthoori pushpa, Kasturipaspu, Manupasupu, Nirugobbi

Urdu: Aarghis, Darhald, Darhald nim kofta, Talmakhana, Zarishk

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom: Plantae – plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta – vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina – spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Ranunculanae

Order: Ranunculales

Family: Berberidaceae – barberries

Genus: Berberis L. – holly grape, Oregon-grape, barberry, algerita, berbéris

Species: Berberis aristata DC. – Indian Barberry, Tree Turmeric, Chitra  - (Syn. Berberis coccinea, Berberis macrophylla)

Phytogeography: India - Temperate Himalaya: 2000-3500 meter (Kullu-Kumaon), Nilgiri hills and other parts of the world.

Description: An erect spiny shrub, 2-3 meter in height. It is a woody plant, with bark that appears yellow to brown from the outside and deep yellow from the inside. The bark is covered with three-branched thorns, which are modified leaves, and can be removed by hand in longitudinal strips.

Leaves: Arranged in tufts of 5-8 and are approximately 4.9 cm long and 1.8 cm broad. The leaves are deep green on the dorsal surface and light green on the ventral surface. The leaves are simple with pinnate venation. The leaves are leathery in texture and are toothed, with several to many small indentations along the margin of the leaf.

Flowers: The yellow flowers that develop are 1.2 cm, in a racemose inflorescence, with 11-16 flowers per raceme, arranged along a central stem. The flower is polysepalous, with 3 large and 3 small sepals, and polypetalous, with 6 petals in total. Flowers have 6 stamens, 5-6 mm long.

Fruits: The plant produces bunches of succulent, acidic, edible berries that are bright red in color and have medicinal properties. The berries are approximately 7 mm long, 4 mm in diameter and weigh about 227 mg.

Propagation: Seeds

Parts used: Rootbark, roots, stem, whole plant

Phytochemical Constituents: 1-O methyl pakistanine; Alkaloids; Aromoline; Berbamine; Berberine; Bis isoquinoline; Columbamine; Dehydrocaroline; Dihyrokarachine; Epiberberine; Isoquinoline; Jatrorhizine; Karachine; Oxyberberine; Oxycanthine; Pakistanine; Palmatine; Protoberberine; Pseudoberberine chloride; Pseudopalmatine chloride; Secobisbenzlisoquinoline; Taxilamine; Tetrahydropalmitine.

Pharmacological actions: Anaesthetic - local; Antiarthritic; Antibacterial; Anticancer; Antidepressant; Antidiabetic; Antifungal; Antihelminthic; Anti-inflammatory; Antimicrobial; Antioxidant; Antiprotozoal; Antipsoriatic Antipyretic; Antiseptic; Antiviral; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Hepatoprotective, hepatocuritive; Hypotensive; Immuno-stimulating; Laxative; Phytotoxic; Stomachic; Tuberculostatic.

Medicinal uses: Arthritis; Blood disorders; Diabetes mellitus; Diarrhoea; Fever; Hepatomegaly; Hepatosis, hepatopathy, hepatitis; Increased frequency of urine; Nausea; Obesity; Ophthalmia; Poisoning; Pruritis; Stiffness in thigh muscles; Tastelessness; Thirst; Turbid urine; Wounds.

Tree Turmeric is a revered herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is claimed to possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antiseptic properties, the herb is used as a cholagogue, stomachic, laxative and diaphoretic.

Fruits and root good for checking enlargement of liver associated with malaria and in jaundice.

Dosage and administration: Stem: 5-10 ml in Kvatha form. In case of diabetes mellitus, root bark extract (5–10 ml) taken twice daily (after breakfast and dinner) for 1–2 weeks. Powder: 3-6 gm.

Fruits: 3-5 gm in powder form.


Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee, 1999, “The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume II,” New Delhi, India: Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee, 2008, “The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume VI,” New Delhi, India: Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

Chander V., et al., 2017, “A review on Pharmacological potential of Berberine; an active component of Himalayan Berberis aristata,” The Journal of Phytopharmacology; 6(1): 53-58. [Web Reference]

Chhetri D.R., Parajuli P. and Subba G.C., 2005, “Antidiabetic plants used by Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayan tribes, India,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology; 99(2): 199-202. [Web Reference]

Flowers of India, “Indian Barberry,” Retrieved on July 29, 2017. [Web Reference]

ITIS, 2017, “Berberis L.,” Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database, Retrieved on July 29, 2017. [Web Reference]

Jayaprasad B., Thamayandhi D. and Sharavanan P.S., 2012, “Traditionally using antidiabetic medicinal plants in Tamil Nadu,” International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biosciences; 2(1): 1-8. [Web Reference]


Ministry of Ayush and Govt. of India, 2016, “The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India Part I Volume IX,” PHARMACOPOEIA COMMISSION FOR INDIAN MEDICINE & HOMOEOPATHY, GHAZIABAD; P. 9-15.

Nimisha D.A.R., Fatima Z. and Neema C.D.K., 2017, “Antipsoriatic and anti-inflammatory studies of Berberis aristata extract loaded nanovesicular gels,” Pharmacognosy magazine; 13(Suppl 3): S587-594. [Web Reference]


Rehman S. and Naim F., 2016, “A Comparative Study of Antidepressant Activity of Aqueous Extract of Berberis Aristata with Fluoxetine in Albino Rats,” International Archives of BioMedical and Clinical Research; 2(3): 110-113. [Web Reference]

Rizwan M., et al., 2017, “Phytochemical and biological screening of Berberis aristata,” Advancements in Life Sciences; 5(1): 01-07. [Web Reference]

Subramoniam A., Madhavachandran V. and Gangaprasad A., 2013, “Medicinal plants in the treatment of arthritis,” Ann Phytomedicine; 2: 3-36. [Web Reference]

Surveswaran S., et al., 2007, “Systematic evaluation of natural phenolic antioxidants from 133 Indian medicinal plants,” Food Chemistry; 102(3): 938-953. [Web Reference]

Rate this article