Berberine

Botanicals

18/Description

About

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.

How it works

Berberine might cause stronger heartbeats. It also might also be able to kill bacteria.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
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.

Concerns

Possibly safe

Berberine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults for short-term use when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Children: It'sUNSAFEto give berberine to newborns. It can causekernicterus, a rare type ofbraindamage that can occur in newborns who have severejaundice. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin caused by too muchbilirubinin the blood. Bilirubin is a chemical that is produced when the oldred cellsbreak down. It is normally removed by the liver. Berberine may keep the liver from removing bilirubin fast enough.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to take berberine by mouth if you are pregnant. Researchers believe berberine can cross the placenta and might cause harm to the fetus. Kernicterus, a type of brain damage, has developed in newborn infants exposed to berberine.

It's also UNSAFE to take berberine if you are breast-feeding. Berberine can be transferred to the infant through breast milk, and it might cause harm.

Diabetes: Berberine can lower blood sugar. Theoretically, berberine may cause blood sugar to become too low if taken by diabetics who are controlling their blood sugar with insulin or medications. Use with caution in people with diabetes.

High bilirubin levels in the blood in infants: Bilirubin is a chemical that is produced when the old red blood cells break down. It is normally removed by the liver. Berberine may keep the liver from removing bilirubin fast enough. This can cause brain problems, especially in infants with high levels of bilirubin in the blood. Avoid using.

Low blood pressure: Berberine might lower blood pressure. Use with caution in people with low blood pressure.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Major
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)

The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. Berberine might decrease how fast the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) might build up in the body and could possible cause side effects.

Moderate
Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)

Berberine might lower blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking berberine along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.The body breaks down dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) to get rid of it. Berberine might decrease how quickly the body breaks down dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others). Taking berberine while taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might increase the effects and side effects of dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others).

Losartan (Cozaar)

The liver activates losartan (Cozaar) to make it work. Berberine might decrease how quickly the body breaks down losartan (Cozaar). Taking berberine while taking losartan (Cozaar) might decrease the effects of losartan.

Midazolam (Versed)

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Berberine might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking berberine along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking berberine, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and S-warfarin (Coumadin).Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Berberine might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking berberine along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking berberine, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), flecainide (Tambocor), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), ondansetron (Zofran), paroxetine (Paxil), risperidone (Risperdal), tramadol (Ultram), venlafaxine (Effexor), and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Berberine might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking berberine along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking berberine, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications changed by the liver include cyclosporin (Neoral, Sandimmune), lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), sildenafil (Viagra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.Berberine might decrease blood pressure in some people. Taking berberine along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. However, it's not known if this is a big concern. Do not take too much berberine if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.Some medications for high blood pressure include include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.Berberine might slow blood clotting. Taking berberine along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, cilostazol (Pletal), clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), and others.The body breaks down midazolam (Versed) to get rid of it. Berberine can decrease how quickly the body breaks down midazolam (Versed). Taking berberine along with midazolam (Versed) might increase the effects and side effects of midazolam (Versed).

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Berberine might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking berberine along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include benzodiazepines, pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), thiopental (Pentothal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, propofol (Diprivan), and others.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.