- Chemical found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric.
- 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.
- Diabetes: Berberine seems to slightly reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- 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.
- Stronger heartbeat.
- Killing bacteria
- Children: It’s UNSAFE to give berberine to newborns. It can cause kernicterus, a rare type of brain damage that can occur in newborns who have severe jaundice. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin caused by too much bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a chemical that is produced when the old red cells break 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.
Major Interaction Do not take this combination:
- Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) interacts with BERBERINE: The body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) to get rid of it. Berberine might decrease how fast the body breaks down cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). This might cause there to be too much cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) in the body and potentially cause side effects.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination:
- Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with BERBERINE: 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.
Source: WebMD, “Berberine”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/