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Daruharidra – Berberis aristata – Qualities, Benefits, Dose, Ayurvedic Details

Daruharidra – Berberis aristata is used in Ayurveda to treat eye disorders, skin disorders with itching, diabetes, urinary tract diseases, etc. It is the main source for berberine, an alkaloid that is showing huge potential in treating diabetes and high cholesterol levels. This herb is found in the Himalaya and Nepal region.

Botanical name – Berberis aristata Dc.,
Family – Berberidaceae (Daruharidra kula)

MorphologyBerberis aristata

Berberis aristata is a large, erect, deciduous spiny shrub. It grows to a height 2-3 meters. Twigs are whitish or pale yellowish brown in color. Bark pale brown from outside and deep yellow from inside, deeply furrowed, rough.  Leaves are obovate or elliptic, entire or spinous toothed, approximately 4.9 cm long and 1.8 cm broad, arranged in tufts of five to eight, base is gradually narrowed. They are glossy dark green above and light green beneath. Flowers are yellow in color and form racemose inflorescence. Fruits are edible berries, succulent, acidic, bright red in color.

Coscinium fenestratum –

Climbing shrub. Branches are covered with fuscous cinereous bark.
Leaves – Big, ovate or broadly cordate, emarginate at the base, apex is linear acuminate.
Inflorescence – Supra axillary dense flowered
Flowers – Yellow petals

Fruit – Drupe, slightly tomentose
Useful part – Root and Root bark

Habitat

Found in Himalayan Region at the altitude of 7000 – 10000 ft. and south Indian variety is found in Kerala. Karnataka and Tamilnadu.

Pharmacological Activities

Berberis aristata possess antibacterial, antiperiodic, antidiarrheal, antipyretic, antidiabetic and anticancer activities. It is also used in the treatment of ophthalmic infections.
Antibacterial potential – Berberine accumulates in the cells of the bacteria, attacks and damages DNA of bacteria. This leads to the death of bacteria (research)

Classical categorization

Darvi is included under many group of herbs as follows –
Charaka
Arshoghna – group of herbs, used to treat hemorrhoids
Kandughna – group of herbs, used to treat itching
Lekhaniya – group of herbs that has scraping, cholesterol reducing quality

Charaka has mentioned this as one of the herbs used in powder massage, useful in pruritus, acne and urticaria.(Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 3rd chapter)
Sushruta and Vagbhata – Haridradi, Mustadi, Lakshadi
B. Ni – Haritayadi varga

In South India, especially in Kerala, Coscinium fenestratum, Menispermaceae, is used in the name of Daru Haridra – Tree Turmeric (stem) – Berberis aristata.

Chemical composition

The root bark of Berberis aristata contains berberine, quaternary ammonium salt of isoquinoline alkaloid. Berberine has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-diabetic activities. Read more

Cocsinium fenestratum – Has antioxidants that are found to be useful in diabetes. read more

Properties

Daruharidra Medicinal qualities:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta, Kashaya – Bitter, Astringent
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (Dryness)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion) – Katu (pungent)
Veerya – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha. 

Sanskrit Verses

Berberis aristata uses

Uses

Berberis aristata uses –
The qualities and usage of Daru haridra is quite similar to benefits of turmeric
Vranajit – quick wound healing
Mehajit – useful in diabetes and urinary tract diseases
Karnanetramukharogas – useful in the treatment of pain and itching related disorders related to eyes, ears and oral cavity.
Shophahara – anti inflammatory
Kandu kushtahara – relieves skin diseases with itching
Visarpahara – useful in herpes
Vishahara – anti toxic
Kapha, Abhishyandi hara – has drying quality, relieves moisture, (as in wound healing).
It is used in menorrhagia and leucorrhea (white discharge) It helps to relieve spasmodic pain of the abdomen.
It is used in treating diarrhea.

External application:
Its paste, made with water is applied externally to relieve pain and inflammation. Its filtered decoction (Kashaya) is used to wash eyes to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
Its decoction is used for gargling to relieve and improve voice and throat infection.
Its paste is applied over non healing wounds, syphilis ulcers, fistula for quick healing.

Part used, Dosage, Side effects

Part used: root, stem, fruit, water extract.
Its water extract is called Rasanjana, used in eye disorders with infection and inflammation.
Dose: Decoction – 15 – 60 ml in divided dose.

Daru Haridra side effects:
Because it can lower sugar levels, people with diabetes should use this under medical supervision.
It can be used in children and during lactation.
Seek medical advice for use during pregnancy.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Research

Anti diarrhea and anti-spasmodic activity
Anti-microbial activity

Hypoglycemic activity
A 2012 meta-analysis including over 1000 type 2 diabetics found that berberine was as effective as conventional oral hypoglycemic treatment for reducing fasting blood glucose.
(Dong H, Wang N, Zhao L, Lu F. Berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012:591654.)

500 mg of berberine taken thrice a day, for 12 weeks reduced cholesterol by 12% and triglycerides by 23% (research
People with liver disease are advised not to take statins. Berberine of Daruharidra could be an excellent alternative for them because it decreases cholesterol by increasing the LDL receptors on the liver. This allows the liver to take more LDL out of blood circulation. This is how even garlic also works. This leads to an increase of HDL in blood. (research)
Berberine is also being studied for anti cancer properties.

Ayurveda medicines

Important medicines
Maha Manjishtadi Kashayam – used in treatment of skin diseases.
Maha Yogaraja Guggul – used in joint diseases, skin diseases, piles, sprue, diabetes, etc
Darvyadi Kwath –  used in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding with pain, leucorrhoea etc.
Khadiradi Vati – used in Ayurveda treatment of bad breath, oral ulcers, diseases of teeth etc.

Daruharidra as dusting powder

Charaka explained Berberis aristata as one among Avachurnana dravya, along with herbs like Kushta, Musta, Vidanga, Sarjarasa, Lodhra etc. The body of the patient is smeared with sesame oil. Then the body is dusted with the above powder mix. Dusting process is called Avachurnana.
It relieves Kitibha –  ringworm, Kandu – pruritus, Pama – keloids, Vicharchika – Eczema. Reference: (Charaka Sutrasthana 5th chapter)

Charaka Chikitsa 7/61
Rasanjana (aqueous extract of Daruharidra) with Gomutra is administered for the treatment of Kushta – skin diseases.

Tree turmeric with Amla  

Daruharidra along with the juice of Amalaki – Phyllanthus emblica mixed with honey is useful in curing Paittika type of Dysuria. – Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 26/53

Darvi Rasakriya

Reference – Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 26
The juice of decoction of Daru- Haridra (Berberis aristata) is boiled in order to make it thick which is called Rasa-Kriya. Use of this with honey cures mouth- diseases, diseases caused by the vitiation of blood and Nadi- Vrana (sinus).

Question: Is Daruharidra (Beriberis aristata/Coscinium fenestratum) and Curcuma aromatica (kasturi pasupu/turmeric) same?I knew Curcuma longa (long,thin rhizomes) and Curcuma amada (short and bigger comparatively). I got confused after having read some of the articles-Daruharidra as Tree turmeric and Curcuma aromatica (kasturi manjal/pasupu) as vana haridra. Transliteration of vana haridra is approximately Tree turmeric I think. Kindly clarify.
If Daruharidra is different from the above three, is Darvi powder or rhizomes available here in Ayurveda shops. Kindly tell me what Daruharidra in Telugu is called?
Answer: Daru Haridra is Berberis aristata and it is different from Curcuma aromatica. Curcuma aromatica is nowhere used in place of Daru Haridra. Its Telugu name is – Manupasupu
Curcuma aromatica is – Vana Haridra.

Scientific classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Phylum – Tracheophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Ranunculales
Family – Berberidaceae
Genus – Berberis
Species – B. aristata

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Names in different language: 
English name – Indian berberi
Hindi name – Daru Haldi
Tamil name – Mara Manjal
Bengali name – Daruharidra
Punjabi name – Daru Haldi
Marathi name – Daruhalad
Gujarati name – Daru Haldar
Telugu name – Kasturipushpa
Farsi name – Darchoba

Sanskrit Synonyms:
Darunisha, Peeta, Daruharidra, Darvi, Peetadru, Peetachandana, Hemakanti, Kashta Rajani, Peetaka, Peetahva, Hemakanta,Hemavarnavati, – All these synonyms explain about turmeric-like yellow colored stem.
Katankati, Katankateri
Parjanya – Fruit occur in rainy season  
Pachampacha – Improves liver function
Kusumbhaka – Imparts yellow color like that of Kusumbha (Carthamus tinctorius)
Krimihara – It has anthelmintic property

Varieties

Dalhana – 1. Darharidra – Berberis aristata
2. Kaliyaka – Coscinium fenestratum

Substitute

Haridra ( Curcuma longa)

Sthanika karna

External Application – External application of its paste is beneficial in inflammatory conditions. In conjunctivitis, juice of Daruharidra along with rose water can be used as an eye drop. It can also be used as an ear drop in Ear diseases. Gandusha (Gargling with its juice is beneficial in mouth and throat related diseases. promotes wound healing. In pradara (menorrhagia), uttara basti can be done with decoction of daruharidra. External application of its paste is indicated in Gonorrhea, Cervical lymphadenopathy, Fistula, Erysipelas, etc. (Sothahara -Anti inflammatory, vedanastapana – Analgesic, Vranasodana, Vranaropana – Cleanses and heals the wounds, and Chakshushya – good for eyes)

Internal administration –
Digestive System – Indicated in loss of appetite, Anorexia, increased sensation of thirst, jaundice, hepatomegaly etc. Tablets triturated with daruharidra juice can be used in bleeding hemorrhoids.
Circulatory System – It has styptic action and also acts as a blood purifier. Beneficial in bleeding disorders like Menorrhagia, Bleeding hemorrhoids, etc.
Respiratory System – Pacifies Kapha dosha, Indicated in Cough
Reproductive system – Indicated in leukorrhea, Menorrhagia etc.
Satmikarana – Indicated in general debility
Tvak (Skin) – Indicated in skin disorders, imparts normal skin color
Tapakrama – Indicated in fever (vishama jvara and Jirna jvara)
Satmikarana – indicated in general weakness

16 comments on “Daruharidra – Berberis aristata – Qualities, Benefits, Dose, Ayurvedic Details

  • Dr.Jahnavi.

    04/02/2015 - 7:08 pm

    Sir, I want to know if there are any ayurvedic preparations or drugs which act at the harmonal level?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      22/04/2015 - 12:54 pm

      There are lot many. – For example – Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Shilajatu, Gokshura etc.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    23/04/2016 - 12:26 am

    Hi, Coscinium fenestratum is used in the name of Daruharidra in south India. Both Berberis aristata and C. fenestratum have similar medicinal properties.

    Reply to comment
  • Rohit

    10/09/2016 - 5:54 pm

    I recently bought Daruhaldi powder online and I’m consuming it as half tea spoon thrice a day before meals.In the 1st week I have seen no improvement in Blood sugar levels.Is Daruhaldi same as berberine(I understand it’s a component of Berberis Aristata that is Daruhaldi) or is it having same effectiveness.
    Please suggest from where only Berberine can be bought in India.

    Reply to comment
  • Nivrutti Bhor

    23/09/2016 - 1:41 pm

    Can daruharidra administered orally ? Please advise.

    Reply to comment
    • Nivrutti Bhor

      15/10/2016 - 12:33 pm

      Thank you, Dr.

      I was advised to use the powder as lep on skin infection (black patches on nose).

      Reply to comment
      • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

        15/10/2016 - 10:46 pm

        Useful. Please go ahead.

        Reply to comment
  • Rosie

    12/04/2017 - 6:29 am

    Hello doctor . kasturi manjal powder ( wild turmeric) can mix in milk for drinking like turmeric milk. Please clarify Sir. Thank you.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    05/05/2017 - 11:29 am

    10-20 minutes.
    Wash off with hot water.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    17/08/2017 - 12:00 pm

    It is better to use it for 2 – 3 months only.

    Reply to comment
  • Manoj Rathod

    03/01/2018 - 4:36 pm

    Hi Dr.

    How effective Daru Haridra is in stomach pathogen infection ?

    My age is 28 year and I’m having stomach bloating and gas problem due to dysbiosis.

    My gut flora gone out of control, Hence I want to kill all the stomach bad bugs.

    Reply to comment
  • JAIMIN NARESHKUMAR CHAUHAN

    24/04/2018 - 5:55 pm

    Sir I would like to buy many herbs in raw form. Also would require in quantity and regularly. We are into ayurveda cosmetics business. Can you help in procurement at reasonable rates and excellent quality?

    Reply to comment
  • Archana

    17/08/2018 - 3:43 pm

    Hi please tell me medecine for chyluria problem..urine reports ultrasound normal hi.

    Reply to comment
  • Pankaj Sharma

    04/09/2018 - 8:54 am

    Mr. Dr. How can we consume daru haridra in the case of seborric dermatitis? Please guide?

    Reply to comment
  • Khalid Hamza Lakdawala

    19/02/2020 - 12:17 pm

    Can this herb be used for small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)?

    Reply to comment

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