Berberines are a particular type of constituent found in a number of different plants that gives them a yellow appearance!
it is a constituent of herbal remedies that kills microbes, improves cardiovascular health, prevents diabetes and helps treat cancer and more.
Berberines are a particular type of constituent found in a number of different plants that gives them a yellow colour. The most well known of which are: Barberry (Berberine vulgaris), Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). These herbs have been used for over 2,500 years around the world to treat a variety of different health concerns. Traditionally, berberine was used as an antibiotic to treat bacterial, viral, parasite and Candida (yeast) infections. Current research has noted a number of benefits of berberines in the treatment of: diabetes, Alzheimer's, depression, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancer.
Herbs Containing Berberines
There are quite a few herbs that contain large amounts of berberines. The most commonly known of those are listed below:
This herb has been used around the world for centuries to treat infections and diarrhea. Recent research has also found that it benefits the cardiovascular and nervous systems (brain and nerves). For more information, please click here.
This natural antibiotic is one of the richest known sources of berberines. It has long been established as a mucous membrane tonic and is actually known in the herbal community as the "king of the mucous membranes". For more information on Goldenseal, please click here.
The root of this shrub has been used for hundreds of years to help treat diarrhea. It is particularly useful in treating multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. It can also be applied topically in a cream to help treat psoriasis.
Recent research has shown that P. amurense contains berberines. It is this constituent that researchers believe gives the herb its ability to inhibit lung tumour growth. For more information on P. amurense, please click here.
Berberines have been used for their antimicrobial activity for centuries, and much of their traditional use stems from this capability. Recent research has shown berberines to have antimicrobial activity against a large variety of organisms including: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. They also have antimicrobial activity against MRSA and can prevent their ability to stick to the epithelial cells and thus prevent MRSA from invading the body and causing infection. Berberines can also potentiate current antibiotics to allow them to once again be able to kill MRSA by bypassing their resistance ability. In addition to this, berberines are strongly active against Gram positive bacteria like: Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and Clostridium. All of these are bacteria that are frequent causes of infection, particularly in hospitals. Of interest to the cancer community, berberines also shows inhibitory effects on the growth and reproduction of certain microorganisms and viruses, such as Heliobacter pylori and hepatitis B virus that have been shown to cause cancer. There is also some evidence that berberines can help to eliminate Candida (yeast) infections.
Berberines are extremely strong antioxidants that can inhibit the generation of reactive oxidative species (ROS). Because of their extremely strong antioxidant abilities, they can help to protect cells against the damage that can cause cancer, and protect the blood vessels against cardiovascular disease. It is also this effect that helps berberines to combat Alzheimer's disease. For more information on the benefits of antioxidants, please click here.
There are a number of anti-cancer benefits that can be attributed to the action of berberines. Studies in 2010 showed that they inhibit breast cancer cells and can also inhibit carcinoma of the tongue. They can also help to regulate cancer-associated genes, and suppress tumour growth and metastasis. Also, of current interest in the research is the ability of berberines to enhance cancer cell sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs. Most of the research is currently only established in test tubes and in mouse models, so further research is required before berberines can be widely applied in cancer therapy.
In addition to its anti-cancer benefits, berberine's strong antioxidant ability helps it to protect LDL ("bad") cholesterol from being oxidized, which is one of the strongest contributing factors to the formation of atherosclerosis. Recent evidence suggests that berberine has beneficial effects on dyslipidemia (imbalanced blood fats and cholesterol) as well. By promoting a healthier cholesterol and blood fat profile, berberines can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The anti-diabetic affect of berberines has been well established by research. Some interesting new research (2011) has found that this benefit may be due to the berberines helping to regulate the gut microbes and prevent inflammation. Interestingly, this implies that diabetes may be partially caused by an inflammatory state in the body. This is a relatively new way of viewing the origin of type II diabetes and has triggered a new direction for research.
Much of the earliest research on berberines surrounded their use for the treatment of diarrhea. This was also one of the original traditional folk uses in history. These compounds have been shown to help reduce immune-mediated damage of the endothelial tight junctions in the gut. This helps to restore the gut barrier function and reduce the symptoms of leaky gut. For more information on leaky gut, please click here.
Protects the Brain and Mental Health
Berberine has been established as beneficial in the treatment of a number of central nervous system disorders. It has the ability to protect neurons, and prevent their death, while improving circulation to the brain. Research has shown a protective effect in Alzheimer's, cerebral ischemia, mental depression, schizophrenia and anxiety.
How can I take berberines?
Berberines can be found in a number of different herbs, and the dosing for each can be found in their individual articles (links above). When dosing berberines directly, the dose is not yet completely established, although current evidence suggests 500mg twice a day.
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