Berberine comes to us from China and India, where it was first used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. Berberine is a natural alkaloid found in a wide variety of traditional herbs, including goldenseal, barberry, goldthread, Oregon grape, tree turmeric, and phellodendron. Within these plants, they can find the berberine alkaloid in the stem bark, roots, and rhizomes (rootlike subterranean stems) of the plants. Berberine extracts are inexpensive, safe, and well-known for their broad antibacterial activities—and can help naturally treat conditions.

Some diabetics who do not want the annoying “daily diarrhea” side effects of metformin have taken berberine instead and have found it does not have the metformin side effects while working just as well as metformin to control their blood sugar. I am delighted that my primary care physician, an internist, is totally on board with my taking berberine instead of metformin.

DISCLAIMER: We recommend you discuss this option with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before discontinuing metformin or adding berberine.

Is berberine effective in lowering blood glucose? And is it safe? An early study (May 2008) concluded “that berberine is a potent oral hypoglycemic agent with modest effect on lipid metabolism. It is safe and the cost of treatment [with] berberine is very low.”
Two more studies tout the benefits of berberine, including weight loss, memory, and cognitive function. One even believes berberine is superior to metformin because of all the added benefits and no side effects.


Yin, Jun; Huili Xing; and Jianping Ye. “Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes,” Metabolism. 2008 May; 57(5): 712–717. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.01.013. (accessed on 8/3/2020).

Ebeling, Cat. “Metformin vs Berberine for Diabetes,” The Nutrition Watchdog, n.d. (accessed on 8/3/2020).
Metformin vs Berberine for Diabetes
“Relying on lowering blood sugar with medication or insulin will not improve one’s health, nor will it counteract the effects of diabetes. In fact, relying on medications to lower blood sugar actually does not reduce the risk of death from any of the related health complications of diabetes of stroke, heart attacks, infections, and kidney disease. Aside from the fact that diabetes drugs do not actually do anything positive for a diabetic’s health, there are many negative side effects, many of which can be downright deadly.”

“Berberine is Superior to Metformin,” Life Enhancement, n.d. (accessed on 8/3/2020).

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