Why Berberine Should Be Part of Every Practitioner's Dispensary

Sponsored by Emerson Ecologics

By Tina Beaudoin, ND

March 08, 2017

When we talk about food, we always stress the importance of the rainbow and eating a broad array of colorful foods. Following the same principle that the diverse array of colors and pigments represent key vitamins (eg, orange/red veggies are rich in vitamin A), minerals (eg, green leafy veggies are rich in magnesium) and phytonutrients, we also love the rainbow when it comes to botanicals. We know about the bright orange capsules (yes, lovely curcumin) that many of us take on a daily basis for the powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in addition to a long list of benefits including mood support, cardiovascular health, bone and joint health, blood sugar regulation, gastrointestinal wellness, antimicrobial support, and complementary oncology benefits.1-4

Today we are looking at the bright yellow caps that are also extremely helpful to have in your dispensary: berberine.

Berberine is a beautiful yellow alkaloid found in goldenseal, Japanese goldthread, Oregon grape, and barberry. If you put attributes into a pecking order, "broad antimicrobial properties" ranks up there as one of the key attributes for berberine. It has also been called the "hippie antibiotic" in some circles. The pharmacokinetics of berberine are diverse, and more diverse patient populations may benefit from its effectiveness. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit nearly every chronic condition, as excessive inflammation is the cornerstone of chronic disease.

While having a great antimicrobial and modulator of inflammation is a great addition to almost any integrative practitioner’s dispensary, the beneficial properties of berberine don’t end there. In vivo studies of berberine have shown it to have anticancer effects. While there are likely multiple mechanisms of action, it has been suggested that it may impede tumor progression by regressing abnormal cell proliferation, arresting cell cycle, and inducing cell death, as well as inhibiting tumor cell invasion and angiogenesis.5

This is just a sneak peek into some of the wonderful attributes of berberine. Go yellow!

This information was brought to you by Emerson Ecologics.

About the Author

Tina Beaudoin, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Senior Medical Educator with Emerson Ecologics. She enjoys seeing patients in her private practice in Manchester, NH, and has been serving as the President of the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors since 2012.

References

  1. Esmaily H, Sahebkar A, Iranshahi M, Ganjali S, Mohammadi A, Ferns G, Ghayour-Mobarhan M. An investigation of the effects of curcumin on anxiety and depression in obese individuals: A randomized controlled trial. Chin J Integr Med. 2015 May;21(5):332-8.
  2. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Grossi MG, Togni S, Appendino G. Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Dec;15(4):337-44.
  3. He Y, Yue Y, Zheng X, Zhang K, Chen S, Du Z. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? Molecules. 2015 May 20;20(5):9183-213.
  4. Rohanizadeh R, Deng Y, Verron E. Therapeutic actions of curcumin in bone disorders. Bonekey Rep. 2016 Mar 2;5:793.
  5. Wang N, Tan HY, Li L, Yuen MF, Feng Y. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Dec 24;176:35-48.