Indigenous knowledge and bioactive compounds of Berberis aristata confirm its therapeutic potential: An ethnopharmacological appraisal in Nepal


  • Indira Pandey
  • Keshab Bhattarai
  • Rabin Bhattarai
  • Keshab Bhattarai
  • Ripu Kunwar
  • Bikash Baral


Background: The prevalence of ethnomedicinal plant usage can be attributed to a combination of factors, primarily driven by local preferences towards traditional herbal remedies. This tendency is exacerbated by a dearth of practicable alternatives and the pervasiveness of economic distress. Additionally, this phenomenon is greatly influenced by a persistent belief in the effectiveness of folkloric herbal cures and the alleged medicinal qualities of local flora. Nepal stands as a region abundant in biological resources, showcasing a noteworthy reservoir of therapeutic plant species employed extensively in Ayurvedic medicine.

Methods: Berberis aristata DC (also called Daruharidra / Chutro), known for its therapeutic leads, was the focus of this ethnobotanical survey, examining its chemo-diversity and medicinal properties based on its traditional use by the indigenous communities throughout Nepal. We chose to perform the qualitative phytochemical screening along with other biological analyses of B. aristata to complement and validate our findings obtained from the ethnobotanical studies.

Results: Our findings revealed that 14 distinct ethnic communities residing in 24 districts utilize B. aristata for diverse therapeutic purposes, with the Tamang indigenous group being the primary users. Most ethnic communities employing B. aristata for medicinal purposes reside in the Bagmati and Koshi Provinces. Analytical chemistry revealed higher phenol and flavonoid content in Berberis leaves. The free radical scavenging assay revealed the highest values for bark methanolic extract and demonstrated strong antimicrobial properties against Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The inhibitory effects on α-amylase found varying levels of inhibition in different plant parts.

Conclusion: Overall, the present study highlights the importance of investigating and utilizing the vast natural resources available in Nepal. Finally, we conclude traditional medicinal plants, such as B. aristata, possess enormous potential for developing novel therapeutic medications that are safe, affordable, and effective for human consumption.

Keywords: Conservation, Distribution, Indigenous knowledge, Medicinal plant, Therapeutic uses




How to Cite

Pandey, I., Bhattarai, K. ., Bhattarai, R., Bhattarai, K., Kunwar, R., & Baral, B. (2023). Indigenous knowledge and bioactive compounds of Berberis aristata confirm its therapeutic potential: An ethnopharmacological appraisal in Nepal. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 26, 1–21. Retrieved from