New research from Garvan Institute of Medical Research shows that the traditional Chinese medicinal herb Berberine can help people with type 2 diabetes. Research by Chinese, Korean, and Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, has revealed that the natural plant product berberine could be a valuable new treatment.
Berberine is derived from several plants, including barberry, Oregon grape, goldenseal, and goldthread and is found in the roots and bark. Berberine is used for medicinal purposes including wound healing and treatment of diarrhea. Preliminary trials have shown that berberine can be used successfully to treat giardia infections. In addition, test tube studies show that berberine kills amoebae.
Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. In Chinese literature documents Berberine as having a glucose lowering effect when administered to people with diabetes; yet, until now, its mode of action was unknown.
Current medical treatments, beyond managing diet and lifestyle, have limited effectiveness and the unwanted side-effect of weight gain. According to researchers on the study, berberine apparently helps activate an enzyme in the muscle and liver involved in improving sensitivity of the tissue to insulin ? this then helps lower blood sugar levels. As an additional plus, it seems berberine may help reduce body weight The next step is to understand better how berberine activates the enzyme that promotes the insulin process.