Background: Genus Berberis (family Berberidaceae), which contains about 650 species and
17 genera worldwide, has been used in folklore and various traditional medicine systems. Berberis Linn.
is the most established group among genera with around 450-500 species across the world. This
comprehensive review will not only help researchers for further evaluation but also provide substantial
information for future exploitation of species to develop novel herbal formulations.
Objective: The present review is focussed to summarize and collect the updated review of
information of Berberis species reported to date regarding their ethnomedicinal information,
chemical constituents, traditional/folklore use, and reported pharmacological activities on more
than 40 species of Berberis.
Conclusion: A comprehensive survey of the literature reveals that various species of the genus
possess various phytoconstituents mainly alkaloids, flavonoid based compounds isolated from
different parts of a plant with a wide range of pharmacological activities. So far, many
pharmacological activities like anti-cancer, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective,
immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory both in vitro and in vivo and clinical study of different
extracts/isolated compounds of different species of Berberis have been reported, proving their
importance as a medicinal plant and claiming their traditional use.