Barberry for diabetes

(Last Updated On: January 29, 2018)

Barberry for diabetes: an effective remedy but be aware of some adverse effects



arberry, berberis or Berberis vulgaris  is a evergreen shrub measuring 3 – 16 ft tall. Barberry comes from a large family of species, being the most commonly known: Berberis vulgarisIt is common in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, central Asia, and throughout temperate and subtropical regions. The berries are about 1/2 inch long presenting an oblong and slightly curved wit. Barberry is a non-native American plant. It was probably brought to America by European settlers for it’s food, ornamental and medicinal purposes. Barberry was considered a invasive weed in Massachusetts in 1754. It caused wheat failure by facilitating outbreaks of stem rust disease in the United States, prompting the deployment of an eradication program in 1918.


Barberry’s glucose lowering effects were first noted when used to treat diarrhea in diabetic patients. Barberry has a long history of medicinal use in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. There are no lack of studies concerning barbarry. The vast majority are concordant with barberry’s has anti hyperglycemic properties [2]. Berberine is the plant’s alkaloid main compound, commonly used as an antibiotic [3].

Barberine is also found in Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) and Coptis chinensis (Coptis or goldenthread). In China berberine have been used for hundreds of years to treat diarrhea, diabetes and as an antibiotic drug. Only recently its properties have been studied as anti hyperglycemic and anti dyslipidemic. In one study from the Shanghai Clinical Center for Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, berbarine was found to significantly reduce hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia. Berberine can also reduce obesity and cause a significant improvement in glucose tolerance [3]. Berbarine increases glucose stimulated insulin secretion and increase the proliferation of Min6 cells.

In one study, 500 mg of berberine 3 times each day for 3 months. Berbarine has shown to be as effective as metformin in lowering blood sugar. Hemoglobin A1c was lowered from 9.5% to 7.5%. [2]

  • Fasting blood glucose decreased from 10.6 to 6.9
  • Postprandial blood glucose decreased from 19.8 to 11.1 mmol/L
  • Plasma triglycerides decreased from 1.13 to 0.89 mmol/L

In another study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism one hundred and sixteen patients with T2 diabetes and dyslipidemia were randomly divided in two groups, one received 1 gram of berberine every day for 3 months; the other a control group receiving placebo.

For the berberine group:

  • Fasting plasma glucose decreased from 7.0 to 5.6 mm/L
  • Post prandial glucose decreased from 12.0 to 8.9 mm/L
  • HbA1c decreased from 7.5% to 6.6%
  • triglycerides decreased from 2.51 to 1.61 mm/L (220 to
    141 mg/dl)
  • total cholesterol decreased from 5.31 to 4.35 mm/L
  • LDL cholesterol decreased from 3.23 to 2.55 mm/L

Significant difference can be seen in the control group. Mild to moderate constipation was observed in 5 participants in the
berberine group.

Mechanism of Action

The effects of berberine on glucose levels may be attributed to achieving a satisfactory glycemia regulation and an improvement in glucose metabolism. Berberine has been found to act on glucose metabolism through several mechanisms:
• Mimicking insulin action
• Improving insulin action by activating AMPK
• Reducing insulin resistance through protein kinase C-dependent up-regulation of insulin receptor expression
• Inducing glycolysis
• Promoting GLP-1 secretion and modulating its release
• Inhibition of DPP


Even though there are plenty of recent studies showing the positive effects of berberine; more study still needed. Berberine promote glucose and HbA1c lowering in patients with diabetes type II. In addition, berberine has a positive effect on blood glucose regulation, which might be caused by the activation of carbohydrate metabolism enzymes. Therefore the use of berberine from the plant barberry can be seen as useful tool or a substitute for oral anti hyperglycemic drugs such as metformin. The precise mechanism on how berberine works is not fully understood. Berberine might be particularly useful for diabetics needing to control or lower blood glucose if infection is present since one of its chief properties is of a antibiotic. Berberine may cause gastrointestinal disturbances and may be used with caution.




Berberine Herbs Warnings



  1. Berberis Fruit Extract and Biochemical Parameters in Patients With Type II Diabetes
  2. Berberine for Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
  3. Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and Dyslipidemia with the Natural Plant Alkaloid Berberine
  4. Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Pilot study on the additive effects of berberine and oral type 2 diabetes agents for patients with suboptimal glycemic control
  6. Preliminary study about the possible glycemic clinical advantage in using a fixed combination of Berberis aristata and Silybum marianum
    standardized extracts versus only Berberis aristata in patients with type 2 diabetes
  7. Berberine improves glucose metabolism through induction of glycolysis

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In Category: DIABETES

Marcos Taquechel

Marcos is an RN. Thanks for stopping by and reading my posts. I hope you are able to get something useful out of this blog. Take good care of yourself and don't worry about anything until you have something to worry about.

Show 12 Comments
  • Shivaji Shivsena January 29, 2017, 06:36

    Is there any major side effect to take barberry for Diabetic patients. Also anything for nerves health.

    • Marcos Taquechel January 29, 2017, 10:12

      Thanks for your comment. Barberry gets a lot of people interested. Even though effective and powerful, it has its drawbacks. The side effects or adverse effects are that can lower potassium, it can also adversely affect intestinal flora lowering your immune system. Watch the video above and also read the references, they have plenty of information on this plant. As for nerve: look up arnica

  • Biswajith EndowEndow January 29, 2017, 03:47

    Is there are any side effects to take this

    • Marcos Taquechel January 29, 2017, 10:14

      There are some adverse effects such as potassium lowering, and adversely affect intestinal flora. There are many other plants with less side effects which are equally or better suited for diabetics…explore the site

  • Tokiun Harami Muslim January 29, 2017, 03:38

    I’ve fasting suger 120 MLD , take metformin and still doesn’t help, sometimes goes upto 140mld in fasting. Let ear buzzing all the time. Is there any good alternative way to solutions this issue

    • Marcos Taquechel January 29, 2017, 10:17

      Yes. Try black seed oil, bitter melon, or okra. There are many anti-diabetic plants. The best way is to try the one you like and it works well for you. Only experimentation will let you know which one is the best. Look at my list

  • Theresa April 18, 2016, 09:11

    Which herbs would be just as effective in treating insulin resistance, high tryglycerides. etc. Thanks.

  • Kelly July 6, 2015, 04:39

    I guess, barberry and ashwagandha have similarities because both are good in combating diabetes from the descriptions that I have read only and reviews. I have tried ashwagandha but I am planning to try this barberry though because of the properties it has. Diabetes is a life-threatening that should be treated naturally or by medications.

    • DiabetesReviewer July 6, 2015, 08:31

      Use caution with Barberry use. There are some warnings related to lowering of potassium, intestinal flora, intestinal lining, high blood pressure. There are many other effective herbs with less of no side effects. Thank you for visiting!

      • Eve November 20, 2016, 18:18

        It has done winders for me thank you for your comment I will take this very serious as I am always trying to look to nature to help me heal….

        • Marcos Taquechel November 20, 2016, 23:51

          Thank you for your comment. Make sure you subscribe so you get new updates I’m about to write. It is also a way not to forget about the site…

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