Barberry has been used for more than 2,000 years for food and medicine. In Europe, the bitter and acidic fruit is made into jams, jellies, pies and tarts. In Russia, the fruit is used to make a candy appropriately named Barberis.
The root of this perennial shrub has a long history of use in traditional systems of healing that probably began in the Mediterranean region with the ancient Egyptians. For centuries, the herb has been used to support immune function and for a variety of more specific purposes throughout Europe, most notably in eastern regions.