Barberry fruit tincture benefits and recipe


Barberry is most often associated with an ornamental plant that we willingly plant in our home gardens. Few people know that barberry has many healing properties. Among other things, it supports liver regeneration and reduces digestive system ailments.

How to make barberry tincture? You will need 2 lb (around 1kg) of barberry fruits. Place them in an airtight jar and pour in 4 cups (32 fl oz / about 1l) of vodka. Make sure that fruits are completely covered in alcohol. 

Maceration should last about 1 month, place the jar in a warm, bright place, there is no need to shake it often. After a month strain fruits, keep vodka in one jar, and in another jar cover fruits with 1 cup of sugar. Keep in a warm place for a few days until sugar will not completely dissolve. After that time mix the juice with vodka and leave it for 14 days. After two weeks tincture should be poured through a strainer or gauze to filter it and left in a dark, cool place in bottles. Then tincture must mature for another 2 months before it is suitable for drinking.

Barberry fruits and tincture

Do you want to know more about barberry tincture? Keep reading – I will cover uses, benefits, dosage, contraindications and at the end of the article you can also find a list of equipment that might be useful (here link to my article about supplies) when you will be making a barberry tincture by yourself. I’m making tinctures from 2001 and have gathered and read dozens of books about them, so information that you will find in this article should be helpful 🙂

Where to buy barberry for tincture?

If you are not using fresh fruits you can find dried barberry on Amazon here – Barberries Dried Natural Barberry Fruit | Antioxidants Rich

More recipes – check on my blog

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Barberry tincture uses, what is it good for

According to webmd.com barberry and tincture made with fruits might be useful for:

  • constipation,
  • diarrhea,
  • fever,
  • heartburn,
  • kidney problems,
  • liver problems,
  • lung problems,
  • osteoarthritis,
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
  • spleen problems,
  • stomach cramps.

Barberry tincture benefits 

The fruit of barberry has long been known in folk medicine, it was used, among others, in the treatment of scurvy.

Barberry was recommended to patients with liver diseases, after hepatic colic and cholelithiasis due to its choleretic effect.

Until now, in tropical countries, the shrub is used for malaria and cholera.

The composition of the plant also contains berberine, a bioactive substance belonging to the group of alkaloids. Berberine stimulates metabolism, reduces insulin resistance, and promotes the multiplication of good bacteria in the digestive system.

It also works on the work of the circulatory system. It reduces the permeability of blood vessels. It has antidepressant, anti-cancer, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The infusion of barberry leaves is also used in problems with the digestive system – supports the treatment of digestive disorders, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation.

It soothes stomach aches, nausea and vomiting, and also supports the appetite.

Barberry tincture dosage

Most sources suggest using barberry tincture for a short time, up to 2-3 weeks. You can take 1 tablespoon of barberry tincture after meals, 2-3 times a day. 

Barberry tincture recipe without alcohol

Alcohol tinctures are probably the most potent way to get healing and balancing benefits of herbs for our use.

But if you can’t or don’t want to consume alcohol, or you should not give it to kids, as a substitute you can make a glycerin-based, alcohol-free herbal extract, also called an herbal glycerite. Such extract is not as strong or long-lasting as alcohol tinctures, but it takes only up to 3 days to make it.

Recipe to prepare barberry glycerite without alcohol: put fruits in a jar about 1/4 way, fill to the top with glycerine. Cover and put in a slow cooker (or Instant Pot with a slow cooker feature) that’s lined with a towel and filled with water — run on low for 3 days. After that remove and strain, keep in a dry and cool place in dark glass bottles.

Barberry tincture contraindications and side effects

Side effects from barberry tincture are rare but may include according to webmd.com: 

  • bleeding disorder – it contains a chemical called berberine, which might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding, that is why it is possible that barberry might make bleeding disorders worse, 
  • diabetes – barberry might lower blood sugar levels, that is why you should monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use barberry in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.
  • barberry tincture might lower blood pressure.

Remember that before taking this tincture as a medication you should always consult a specialist, information that I have gathered from books and webmd.com should be consulted with a healthcare professional as each tincture can have different effects on different people. 

What type of alcohol is used for barberry tincture?

Most spirits used for drinking will work, but vodka or other grain alcohols that are at least 40% alcohol by volume work best. When using dried barberry, your best bet is to stick to an 80-90% (160 or 180-proof) alcohol, as it does not have a lot of juices left, and it is best for extracting any water that’s left in the fruit out of it.

How long does barberry tincture last?

When stored in a cool, dry place, barberry tincture lasts at least three years, if not longer. If you use dark bottles, it will last longer because the light will not damage it. If your area is humid or hot several months out of the year, try storing it in the refrigerator during the hot and humid season.

Recommened edequipment – what you may need to have to make such tincture at home

I hope that you have found my article useful. Below I’ve gathered all items that I am using when making my tinctures, some of them, like airtight jars, are necessary, some are just handy, you do not need to have them all to be able to make a good tincture.  

recommended tincture equipment
Tincture equipment examples
  1. Airtight jars.
  2. Mortar for herbs – granite.
  3. Mortar for herbs – stainless steel.
  4. Funnels for filling bottles.
  5. Large bottles, dark glass.
  6. Medium bottles, dark glass.
  7. Small bottles with dropper, dark glass.
  8. Cloth for tincture filtering.
  9. Coffee filters for tincture filtering.
  10. Alcohol meter to check how strong is your vodka/spirit.
  11. Tincture press for better extraction.

    Here you can also find a more detailed post with list of equipment that might be useful.

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Damian from PolishTinctures
Best regards from Kraków!

If you are looking also for other recipes, check out my blog – I have written about almost 100 other tinctures, use the search option below and you might find what you are looking for:

Other names of barberry 

It is also known under such names: Berberys, Agracejo, Berberidis Cortex, Berberidis Fructus, Berberidis Radicis Cortex, Berberidis Radix, Berbéris Commun, Berberis jacquinii, Berberis sanguinea, Berbéris Vulgaire, Berberis vulgaris, Berberitze, Berberry, Berbis, Common Barberry, Épine-Vinette, Espino Cambrón, Jaundice Berry, Lebanon barberry, Mountain Grape, Oregon Grape, Pipperidge, Piprage, Sauerdorn, Sow Berry, Vinettier.

Sources: if you would like to check more info about the barberry here you can find a webmd.com article about it

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