什麼是小蘗鹼? 功效、安全性和副作用

What is berberine?

Found in plants such as goldenseal, juniper and Oregon grape, berberine is a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and shows promise in lowering blood sugar levels, benefiting people with diabetes. It also supports heart health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood flow. Supports digestive health, may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and promote bowel function. Berberine supplements in capsule, tablet, or liquid form are a natural alternative to traditional medications.

Synonyms of berberine

Synonyms for berberine include:

  • Tiller
  • berberine alkaloids
  • berberine
  • umbrella shape
  • Berberine chloride hydrate
  • Berberine sulfate hydrate
  • Neutral berberine sulfate
  • berberine tannin

Berberine in other countries

Berberine may have foreign names in other countries, such as:

China (name: berberine)
Germany (name: berberin)
Japan (name: berberine sulfate)
Spain (name: berberina)

Source of berberine

Berberine is an alkaloid derivative first isolated from Goldenseal (scientific name: Hydrastis canadensis) in 1917. Goldenseal is an herbaceous plant in the Ranunculaceae family found in North America.
Berberine is found in other plants such as juniper (Berberis vulgaris L.) and Amur cork trees.

traditional usage

Berberine is a traditional medicine in the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems and has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments. It is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. Berberine-rich plants such as coptis and cypress have been used in traditional Chinese medicine, while cypress is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has historically been used to treat gastrointestinal problems, skin infections, and wounds. The traditional use of berberine laid the foundation for modern research into its potential health benefits.


Bacterial infections

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium commonly found on human skin and noses. When it enters the body through a cut or wound, it can cause a variety of infections. These infections range from skin infections to potentially life-threatening conditions such as toxic shock syndrome.

Berberine has shown potential as an effective antimicrobial agent in inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. Another study found that berberine can damage the DNA and proteins of certain bacteria.


Inflammation is the body's immune response to injury, infection, or irritation. Chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

ResearchTrusted Source shows that berberine has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help treat diabetes and other inflammation-related health conditions.


Research shows that berberine may have therapeutic effects on diabetes.

Berberine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, reduces insulin resistance, and may be effective in treating type 2 diabetes, perhaps even better than metformin. It can be used alone or as an add-on therapy to other diabetes treatments.

One study showed that combining berberine with blood sugar-lowering medications may increase their effectiveness. Berberine also has the potential to treat diabetes and is suitable for patients who are unable to take traditional medications due to heart, liver or kidney problems. Another review concluded that berberine combined with lifestyle changes was better at lowering blood sugar levels than lifestyle changes alone.

Research concluded that berberine helps reduce hemoglobin A1C (A1c is a form of hemoglobin (Hb) that is chemically linked to sugar.) levels and is safe to use. Other studies have found that berberine not only lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but also lowers A1C, triglycerides, and insulin levels.

One study notes that berberine is generally inexpensive, which may make it an attractive option for people with diabetes in low-income areas.

More research is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of berberine. Due to potential interactions and suitability for diabetes treatment, consult a healthcare professional.

high cholesterol

Berberine has the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Research shows it can reduce "bad" cholesterol while increasing "good" cholesterol. Combining berberine with lifestyle changes is more effective at treating high cholesterol than lifestyle changes alone. Researchers believe that berberine has similar effects to cholesterol-lowering drugs, but without the same side effects.


Studies have found that people taking berberine experienced significant decreases in body weight and body mass index, especially when taking doses of more than 1 gram of berberine per day for more than 8 weeks. However, the studies included in the review had a high risk of bias and inconsistent results, indicating the need for high-quality studies.


Berberine has shown great promise in fighting various types of cancer, including colorectal, lung, ovarian, prostate, liver, and cervical cancer. It can create changes within cell molecules that interfere with cancer progression and life cycle, potentially killing cancer cells. However, it's worth noting that berberine's effects on cancer cells have only been studied in the laboratory and have not yet been studied in human trials.

Berberine Supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements. There is no guarantee that supplements are safe or effective, and it is not always possible to verify the quality of a product.

Studies have found differences in the content of berberine capsules, leading to confusion about safety and dosage, regardless of cost.

Research recommends taking 900-1,500 mg daily, but many people take 500 mg three times a day.

Safety and side effects

Berberine is usually taken in oral capsule form. Common over-the-counter strengths include 400 mg and 500 mg, with recommended label dosages of 1 to 3 times .

When taken by mouth, common side effects include diarrhea, constipation, gas, and stomach upset.

Possible side effects of berberine include dizziness, fainting, headache, muscle aches, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, and allergic reactions.

Pregnancy, babies, breastfeeding and children

Berberine should not be given to newborns because it can cause kernicterus and brain damage. It may not be safe to take berberine if you are breastfeeding. Taking berberine by mouth during pregnancy may not be safe because it can harm the fetus and cause brain damage. Berberine can be transferred to the baby through breast milk and may cause harm.

Bilirubin is a chemical produced when old red blood cells break down. It is normally cleared by the liver. Exposure to berberine can cause a buildup of harmful bilirubin in babies, potentially leading to brain damage. Therefore, it is not safe for babies and may also pose risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding, possibly affecting the fetus or baby.

Berberine may interact with medications

Berberine can interact with cyclosporine, so caution should be used when considering taking berberine supplements with the medication.

Berberine weakly inhibits several CYP450 enzymes, including 2D6, 3A4, and 2C9. These liver enzymes can interact with other medications, possibly increasing their levels in the blood and causing serious side effects.

Berberine can interact with medications for diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood thinners, and sedatives.

If you are considering using berberine, ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential drug interactions as this list is not exhaustive.


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