Ancient wonder-herb berberine is another natural way to lower blood pressure!
The new cure-all herb on the block is berberine – a chemical found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree tumeric. People take berberine for a range of malaise from heart failure to high blood pressure. Online resource WebMD says that berberine might also cause stronger heartbeats and might be able to kill bacteria.
An article published in the Las Vegas Guardian Express gives a sound review of the major research into the benefits of this ancient Chinese medicinal herb. In her article, Sheryl Wood says that for centuries, the herb has been used to treat high blood pressure, diarrhea, diabetes, high lipids and tumors. She says the medical community is only now catching up with its benefits and trying to prove them scientifically.
According to Wood, berberine has been shown to lower blood pressure in hypertensive rats, but a well-controlled study in humans has not yet been done. A human study that may well apply to overweight hypertensive patients is berberine’s role in weight loss due to its lipid-lowering effect. A 2012 study published in Phytomedicine reported a 5 pound weight loss in obese human subjects given berberine at a dose of 500 mg three times a day for 3 months. Woods describes the study as promising “not just because of the modest weight loss, but because these study subjects also showed significant reduction in triglycerides of 23 percent and a decrease of 12 percent in serum cholesterol.”
A 2013 review of eleven clinical trials including 874 participants, found that berberine significantly reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein. There was also a “remarkable increase in HDL, the good lipoprotein” with no serious adverse effects from taking berberine.
With regards to diabetes, 14 clinical studies involving 1068 participants found that berberine consumption combined with lifestyle modifications significantly lowered blood sugar levels. The combination was even more effective “than just oral hypoglycemics including metformin, glipizide, or rosiglitazone alone.” The link between diabetes and hypertension is well documented. According to WebMD, hypertension can lead to and worsen many complications of diabetes. On the flip side, most people with diabetes develop hypertension during their lifetime, because “diabetes damages arteries and makes them targets for hardening (atherosclerosis).” Atherosclerosis in turn can cause hypertension, which if not treated, can lead to blood vessel damage, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure.
Woods refers to studies that discovered berberine’s ability to induce tumor cell death, render the tumor more sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents and prevent tumor cells from migrating and invading other tissue.
She concludes that current research suggests that there may be even newer uses for berberine, such as in treating Alzheimer’s, preventing kidney stones and preventing some of the damaging effects of abdominal radiation!
A natural wonder ‘drug.’