July 30, 2016

Berberine

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What other names is Berberine known by?

Alcaloïde de Berbérine, Berberina, Berbérine, Berberine Alkaloid, Berberine Complex, Berberine Sulfate, Sulfate de Berbérine.

What is Berberine?

Berberine is a chemical found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree tumeric.

People take berberine for heart failure.

Some people apply berberine directly to the skin to treat burns and to the eye to treat trachoma, a bacterial infection that frequently causes blindness.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Diabetes. Berberine seems to slightly reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Also, some early research suggests that taking 500 mg of berberine 2-3 times daily for up to 3 months might control blood sugar as effectively as metformin or rosiglitazone.
  • High cholesterol. There is early evidence that berberine can help lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Taking 500 mg of berberine twice daily for 3 months seems to reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Burns. Early research suggests that applying an ointment that contains berberine and beta-sitosterol can treat second-degree burns as effectively as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazine.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). Early research suggests that berberine can reduce some of the symptoms and lower the death rate in some people with congestive heart failure.
  • Diarrhea. Some early research suggests that berberine sulfate can decrease diarrhea in people with certain bacterial infections. Also, berberine hydrochloride seems to speed up recovery time for people with diarrhea when added to some standard treatments. However, berberine does not seem to enhance the effects of tetracycline in treating diarrhea related to cholera infection.
  • Glaucoma. Early research suggests that using eye drops containing berberine and tetrahydrozoline for 3 days does not reduce eye pressure in people with glaucoma better than eye drops containing tetrahydrozoline alone.
  • Stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection. Early research suggests that taking berberine three times daily for 6 weeks is more effective than the drug ranitidine at eliminating H. pylori infection, but less effective at healing ulcers in people with stomach ulcers due to H. pylori.
  • Hepatitis. Early research suggests that taking berberine daily for 2 months decreases blood sugar, triglycerides, and markers of liver damage in people with diabetes and hepatitis B or C.
  • Liver disease. Early research suggests that taking berberine for 12 weeks reduces fat in the blood and markers of liver damage in people with liver disease and diabetes.
  • Menopausal symptoms. Early research suggests that taking berberine and soy isoflavones can reduce menopausal symptoms.
  • Metabolic syndrome. Taking a combination product (Armolipid Plus) containing berberine, policosanol, and red yeast rice might improve blood pressure and blood flow in people with metabolic syndrome.
  • Obesity. Early research suggests that taking berberine for 12 weeks can reduce weight in obese people by about 5 pounds.
  • Osteoporosis. Early research suggests that taking berberine together with vitamin D3, vitamin K, and a chemical found in hops for 14 weeks can decrease bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
  • An ovary disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Early research suggests that berberine can reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, testosterone, and waist-to-hip ratio in women with PCOS.
  • Injuries caused by radiation. Some early research suggests that taking berberine during radiation therapy can reduce the occurrence and severity of some injuries caused by radiation in patients being treated for cancer.
  • Low blood platelet counts (thrombocytopenia). Blood platelets are important for blood clotting. Early research suggests that taking berberine for 15 days, either alone or with prednisolone, can increase the number of blood platelets in people with low blood platelet counts.
  • Trachoma. There is some evidence that eye drops containing berberine might be useful for treating trachoma, a common cause of blindness in developing countries.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of berberine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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