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CAS number 633-66-9
PubChem 2353
Molecular formula C19H14NO4+
Molar mass 336.36122 g/mol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Berberine is a plant alkaloid from the group of isoquinoline alkaloids. It is found in such plants as Berberis, goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and Coptis chinensis, usually in the roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark. Berberine is strongly yellow colored, which is why in earlier times berberis species were used to dye wool and leather. Wool is still today died with berberine in Northern India. Under ultraviolet light, berberine shows a strong yellow fluorescence.[1] Because of this it is used in histology for staining heparin in mast cells.[2] As a natural dye berberin has a Colour Index (CI) of 75160.

It is nutritionally helpful against fungal infections, candida, yeast, parasites, and bacterial/viral infections.[3][4] Although berberine has been tested and used in diabetes, prostate cancer cell lines,[5] cardiac arrhythmia, and leukemia,[6] it has not been researched thoroughly 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 as 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.[7] 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."

See also

  • See Goldenseal also for a related pharmacological discussion.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Berberine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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