Monday, March 14, 2011

Barberry and the Tummy Bugs

On the weekend just past I was scheduled to leave the earthquake-torn town of Christchurch. New Zealand, and spend some time in the countryside with my gorgeous partner.
No such luck. Just before departing, I came down with a wicked case of gastroenteritis.
If you have the (rather sick) curiosity to find out just what gastroenteritis is, you can either A) visit Christchurch, New Zealand and take a nice long drink of local tap water, or B) google it. I recommend, the latter.

It is monday, and thanks to a herbal helper, I am able to enjoy my extra day off a bit. To show my gratitude towards mother earth and her herbs which aided my healing, I thought I would share one of the star players with you all.

Inbetween trips to visit the procelain throne to relieve my earthquake-induced digestive problems, I was lucky enough to remember I had a liquid tincture of Barberry root (Berberis vulgaris radix) in my kitchen. I doubt any witches brew could be as bitter as Barberry tincture. But, if my tongue hates it so much, just imagine what it must do to the bad bacteria in my gut! I took my medicine, and with the addition of a few other supplements, such as probiotics, Cranberry juice and Echinacea tablets, I recovered quickly.

With some research, I later discovered my intuitive inclination was spot on! Barberry root and bark may help to remedy traveler's diarrhoea and gastroenteritis related to drinking unclean water and food due to its natural antibacterial and astringent properties. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre web site, Barberry was found more effective than antibiotics in one study, and can be used safely alongside medications.

Barberry is a herb is readily available through most herbalists, naturopaths, health shops and even some pharmacies. Ask for high strength Barberry extract with at least 1g per capsule or tablet.

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