This section is from the book "A Text Book Of Materia Medica, Being An Account Of The More Important Crude Drugs Of Vegetable And Animal Origin", by Henry G. Greenish. Also available from Amazon: A Text Book of Materia Medica : Being an Account of the More Important Crude Drugs of Vegetable and Animal Origin.
Berberis is the dried stem of Berberis aristata, de Candolle (N.O. Berberideoe) a shrub indigenous to India and Ceylon.
The drug occurs in slightly undulating pieces, from 2.5 to 5 cm. in diameter, yellowish brown and striated externally, bright yellow internally. The transverse section exhibits a narrow brown cork, a broader yellowish-brown bast, a large yellow wood and small pith. The bast is traversed by conspicuous, yellow medullary rays, and is laminated. The wood exhibits numerous distinct medullary rays and small vessels. It has a bitter taste.
It is used in India as a bitter tonic in intermittent fevers.