In the last post, I mentioned that western medicine is waking up to the realization that herbs may be the answer to the antibiotic resistant infectious diseases we created. Today, I will share a new research study with you that examines an herbal constituent called berberine.
Berberine is found in Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis, Oregon grape and other species of Berberis Phellodendron amurense, Gold thread - Coptis chinensis. Many of the antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic actions of these herbs have been attributed to this one constituent. However, as I mentioned in the previous article, the whole herb is still necessary. We discussed how Berberis has a metabolite called 5-methoxyhydnocarpin-D (5'-MHC) that is needed for berberine to be more fully effective . 5'-MHC is a natural plant inhibitor of multidrug resistant pumps. Although 5'-MHC has no antimicrobial activity of its own, the constituent berberine is much more effective when given in conjunction with the substance.
So, this new research looks at the antifungal activity of berberine in fluconazole-resistant pathogenic yeasts. They specifically were looking at candida that is acquired in the hospital. This was really nasty hard to treat candida. Fluconazole is a fairly strong antifungal drug that use to work on candida but now there is the fluconazole-resistant candida that hospitals have bred and is living on equipment and various devises used in surgical procedures.
Basically, the study found that berberine not only killed the free floating candida planktonic yeast cells but also the biofilm forming cells. Since many biofilms are resistant to conventional antifungal agents this is exciting news to the researchers.
The Brief Details
This study exposed the candida to berberine and found it caused loss of cellular membrane integrity resulting in cell membrane permeability and decreased the number of viable cells.
According to the data obtained in this study, berberine causes the death of fluconazole-resistant Candida spp. cells by apoptosis (cell suicide).
The results of this study showed that the berberine concentration necessary to inhibit both planktonic cells and preformed biofilm cells is similar. This indicates that berberine may reduce the growth of planktonic cells and inhibit the viability of cells in preformed biofilms at concentrations of 8 μg/ml and 37.5 μg/ml, respectively. This finding is relevant because biofilms are frequently associated with reduced sensitivity to conventional antifungal agents.
Hopefully, when used internally, they will know enough to use berberine in a whole plant base of Berberis spp.