Berberis, I.C.A. Berberis.
Berberis is the dried stem of Berberis aristata, DC. (N.O. Berberideae), a shrub indigenous to India and Ceylon. Berberis, U.S.P., consists of the rhizome and rootlets of B. aquifolium, Pursh., and other species. Berberis occurs in slightly undulating pieces, from 2.5 to 5 centimetres in diameter, yellowish-brown and striated externally, bright yellow internally. The transverse section exhibits a narrow brown cork, a broader yellowish-brown bast ring, and a large yellow wood. The bast ring is traversed by conspicuous yellow medullary rays, and is laminated. The wood exhibits numerous distinct medullary rays and small vessels. In the Indian Pharmacopoeia of 1868, the root-bark of B. aristata, DC., B. Lycium, Royle, and B. asiatica, Roxb., were official, and the stems of species other than B. aristata seem to occur in commerce under that name; one of these consists of the fragments of a stem which differs from that of B. aristata in its larger vessels and broad medullary rays, but resembles it in other respects.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of berberis are the bitter alkaloid berberine, and other substances of an alkaloidal nature, which have not been fully investigated, together with tannin, resin, gum, and starch.
Action and Uses.—Berberis has similar properties to those of barberry bark. It is used in India and the Eastern Colonies as a bitter tonic in intermittent fevers. A tincture and a concentrated solution (infusion) are prepared.
- Fluidextractum Berberidis, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF BERBERIS.
- Berberis, is No. 60 powder, 100; alcohol (49 per cent.), to 100. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
- Liquor Berberidis Concentratus, I.C.A.—CONCENTRATED SOLUTION OF BERBERIS.
- Berberis, in No. 40 powder, 50; alcohol (20 per cent,), sufficient to produce 100. Official in India and the Eastern Colonies, where it is used as a bitter. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Berberidis, I.C.A.—TINCTURE OF BERBERIS.
- Berberis, in No. 60 powder, 10; alcohol 60 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Official in India and the Eastern Colonies. it is used as a bitter, and is also slightly laxative. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).