Barberry Root Extract Appears As Effective As Metformin In Reducing Blood Sugar Without Short-Term Side Effects

PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of methanol extract of Berberis integerrima root on type 2 diabetes compared to metformin.

METHODS: In a parallel triple blind clinical trial, 80 type 2 diabetic patients, were randomized into two groups (treated with Berberis integerrima root, 480 mg (oral), compared to control group treated with metformin 1000 mg daily). Efficacy was evaluated by fasting and prandial glucose and HbA1c and side effects confirmed by physical examination, biology and hematology tests and urinalysis on days 15, 45 and 90. They were followed for 3 months.

RESULTS: Two hundred and eighteen patients were recruited and 80 (55female and 25 male) patients randomized in two groups and 60 patients were analysed. The mean age of patients was 51.8 ± 9.3 and 46.5 ± 10 in the experimental (Berberis integerrima ) and control (metformin) groups respectively (P = 0.02). The mean HbA1c at baseline was 8.1 ± 1.6% and 7.9 ± 1.6% for B. integerrima and metformin group respectively (P = 0.53), and there was no significant difference between the two groups (7.5 vs. 7.2) after 3 months (P = 0.34). Weight loss was observed in both groups compared to baseline. No adverse event led to preventing the study was reported.

CONCLUSION: Berberis integerrima root not only was as effective as metformin in reducing blood glucose and controlling type 2 diabetes but also, no specific side effect was reported (in short term). So, it might be an effective and safe complementary therapy in diabetic patients. Iranian Research and Clinical Trial (IRCT) registrations number; 201,207,191,774 N5.

FUNDING: Vice chancellor for research, Physiology Research Center of Kerman University of Medical Sciences and the Exir pharmaceutical company.

Sanjari M, et al. Safety and efficacy of Berberis integerrima root extract in patients with type 2 diabetes. A parallel intervention based triple blind clinical trial. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2020 Mar 4;19(1):71-80. doi: 10.1007/s40200-019-00478-z. eCollection 2020 Jun.