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Chemical structure of berberine.

Berberine is a plant alkaloid found in such herbs as berberis, goldenseal, and coptis chinensis, usually in their roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark. It is nutritionally helpful against fungal infections, candida, yeast, parasites, and bacterial/viral infections[1][2]. Although berberine has been tested and used in diabetes, prostate cancer cell lines[3], cardiac arrhythmia, and leukemia,[citation needed] it has not been researched thouroughly with humans. Berberine is considered an ineffective antibiotic, but this perception is due to observations of its activity as an isolated compound; when tested in conjunction with other biochemical substances simultaneously by elaborated by the barberry plant, then berberine is indeed an effective antibiotic - promoted by the substances that are responsible for deactivating Multidrug Resistance pumps in bacteria and restoring the activity of the berberine.[4]. As Lewis puts it: "Plants have faced the problem of microbial multidrug resistance for far longer than we have, and their solution is apparently to use a combination of an antibiotic with an MDR inhibitor. Emulating Nature's strategy and potentiating antibiotics with MDR inhibitors can be an effective strategy against drug-resistant microorganisms."


  1. Birdsall TC, Kelly GS. (1997) "Berberine: Therapeutic potential of an alkaloid found in several medicinal plants". Altern Med Rev, jrg.2 (nr.2): pp. 94-103. free fulltext article
  2. "Berberine.". Altern Med Rev, jrg.5 (nr.2) (2000) : pp. 175-177. PMID 10767672 free fulltext article
  3. Mantena SK, Sharma SD, Katiyar SK. (2006) "Berberine, a natural product, induces G1-phase cell cycle arrest and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human prostate carcinoma cells.". Mol Cancer Ther, jrg.5 (nr.2): pp. 296-308. PMID 16505103 free fulltext article
  4. [ Biofilms; Multidrug resistance; co-antibioitcs, Kim Lewis
  • "Antimicrobial activity of berberine alone and in combination with ampicillin or oxacillin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.", J Med Food. 2005 Winter;8(4):454-61.
  • "Cytotoxic effects of Coptis chinensis and Epimedium sagittatum extracts and their major constituents (berberine, coptisine and icariin) on hepatoma and leukemia cell growth.", Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Jan-Feb;31(1-2):65-9.
  • "Cardiovascular actions of berberine.", Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2001 Fall;19(3):234-44.
  • Web Site of Dr. Kim Lewis:

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