The ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine has a rich 5,000-year history of bringing natural health and wellness to those who practice it. This system continues to give us new insight and methods of supporting holistic living. Ayurveda centers around understanding and bringing balance to body, mind, and spirit. It focuses on living into your best self while also increasing knowledge of your personal pitfalls and potential health issues. One useful supplement used in Ayurvedic medicine is berberine. This versatile, natural alkaloid has a myriad of uses to support your natural health journey.
Read on to learn more about the diverse, potential benefits of Berberine and see what this alkaloid could do for you. See our other article learn more about potential side effects of berberine.
What is Berberine
Berberine is an organic plant extract and is considered an alkaloid, which means that it is rich in nitrogen and has a wide range of potential benefits for the human body. Berberine is harvested from a variety of plants including goldenseal, barberry, tree turmeric, and phellodendron. These potentially beneficial plants and herbs grow and are harvested in India and China, the birthplace of Ayurvedic medicine. Berberine is yellow in color and bears a strong resemblance to the kitchen spice turmeric.
Potential Berberine Benefits
For centuries berberine has been used to support blood sugar levels within the normal range, making it a popular supplement for those who struggle to keep their blood sugar in check. Additionally, a wealth of research has been done on how berberine may offer support for the fight against malignant cell growth. A recent study reports: “In addition to its effects on cancer cells, berberine also acts on molecular targets related to insulin resistance. In free-fatty-acid-induced insulin resistance muscle cells, berberine improves insulin resistance and improves glucose uptake.”
Berberine can also be used to support gut health and may help maintain gastrointestinal function and regulation of healthy flora in the intestines and colon. Tests done on lab rats showed that when injected with gut crippling diseases, berberine was useful in the healing process, allowing the rats to regain lost weight and produce normal stools. Researchers reported that “berberine may represent a new therapeutic approach for treating gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders”
New studies are being done to investigate the effect of berberine on the AMPK cascade involved in cardiovascular disorders. AMPK stands for activated protein kinase, an enzyme which has been shown to play a key role in cellular energy homeostasis for a number of physiological functions. Scientists report that when studying potential berberine benefits on the cardiovascular system: “recent discoveries have provided novel evidence that it may be considered a promising tool to counteract metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.” See our post about 5 additional benefits to berberine.
Berberine is generally taken orally in pill form and should be taken 2-3 times a day, as it has a short half-life in the bloodstream. Spreading your Berberine consumption out throughout the day will give you ongoing support without the risk of taking too much at once. Berberine can also offer support for burns on the skin when applied in paste form directly to the affected area. Berberine eyes drops are also used to offer support for ocular infections and can be applied directly to the affected area. Try berberine for yourself and see what you think!