The genus Berberis includes about 500 different species and commonly grown in Europe, the United States, South Asia, and some northern areas of Iran and Pakistan. Leaves and fruits can be prepared as food flavorings, juices, and teas. Phytochemical analysis of these species has reported alkaloids, tannins, phenolic compounds and oleanolic acid, among others. Moreover, p-cymene, limonene and ocimene as major compounds in essential oils were found by gas chromatography. Berberis is an important group of the plants having enormous potential in the food and pharmaceutical industry, since they possess several properties, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer activities. Here we would like to review the biological properties of the phytoconstituents of this genus. We emphasize the cultivation control in order to obtain the main bioactive compounds, the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in order to apply them for food preservation and for treating several diseases, such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer. However, further study is needed to confirm the biological efficacy as well as, the toxicity.