Introduction

Barberry is a plant that is grown in Asia, North America, and Europe. Its leaves and berries can be turned into a juice, powder, pill, or used as a cream. It is often taken with milk thistle to help lower cholesterol.

Dosages

500 milligrams 1 to 2 times per day

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • High Cholesterol —may lower cholesterol, especially when taken with milk thistleC1-C4

May Be Effective

  • Diabetes —may help control blood glucose when used with milk thistle and standard careB1, B2
  • Metabolic syndrome —may lower cholesterolD1

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take barberry for a short period of time. Some studies show that it is safe to take barberry for a long period of time.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

 

References

A. Acne

A1. Fouladi RF. Aqueous extract of dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris L. in acne vulgaris, a clinical trial. J Diet Suppl. 2012 Dec;9(4):253-261.

B. Diabetes

B1. Derosa G, D’Angelo A, et al. The role of fixed Berberis aristata/Silybum marianum combination in the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Clin Nutr. 2016;35(5): 1091-1095.

B2. Guarino G, Strollo F, et al. Bioimpedance analysis, metabolic effects and safety of the association Berberis aristata/Bilybum marianum: a 52-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2017;31(2):495-502.

C. High Cholesterol

C1. Derosa G, Bonaventura A, et al. Berberis aristata/Silybum marianum fixed combination on lipid profile and insulin secretion in dyslipidemic patients. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013;13(11):1495-1506.

C2. Derosa G, Bonaventura A, et al. Effects of Berberis aristata/Silybum marianum association on metabolic parameters and adipocytokines in overweight dyslipidemic patients. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Jul-Sep;27(3):717-728.

C3. Derosa G, Romano D, et al. Berberis aristata/silybum marianum fixed combination (Berberol(®)) effects on lipid profile in dyslipidemic patients intolerant to statins at high doses: a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2015 Feb 15;22(2):231-237.

C4. Derosa G, Romano D, et al. Berberis aristata combined with Silybum marianum on lipid profile in patients not tolerating statins at high doses. Atherosclerosis. 2015 Mar;239(1):87-92.

D. Metabolic Syndrome

D1. Zilaee M, Kermany T, et al. Barberry treatment reduces serum anti-heat shock protein 27 and 60 antibody titres and high-sensitivity c-reactive protein in patients with metabolic syndrome: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2014;28(8):1211-1215.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 9/9/2019