Known under names ranging from Berberis Vulgaris and Mountain Grape to Holy Thorn, Barberry has been known to possess medicinal qualities for well over 2500 years. In Indian folk lore it is mentioned as a potent treatment for diarrhoea, the reduction of fevers and the improvement of appetite. It is also believed to aid in relieving upset stomachs while promoting vigour and well-being. Not all of the properties it was said to possess were benign however. Some farmers used to believe that any wheat planted within a few hundred yards of a barberry plant would develop rust or mildew. This was perhaps contributed to by the fact that birds, horses, and swine seem to avoid the plant due to the acidity of its fruit. Eventually, however, this belief was overcome and Barberry became applied to a wide variety of uses, including the making of jellies, garnishes, and even wool dye.
Today it is generally uses as medicine in Iran, particularly in treating gallbladder diseases and heartburn. Bayberry also often sees use in treating hypertension, tachycardia, and epilepsy. Some studies have found however that it should not be utilized by pregnant women, as it can, in some cases, induce uterine contractions.