This study was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of berberine for chronic congestive heart failure (CHF). One hundred fifty-six patients with CHF and >90 ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) and/or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) on 24-hour Holter monitoring were randomly divided into 2 groups. All patients were given conventional therapy for CHF, consisting of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, digoxin, diuretics, and nitrates. Patients in the treatment group (n = 79) were also given berberine 1.2 to 2.0 g/day. The remaining 77 patients were given placebo. Symptoms, a 6-minute walk test, left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF), frequency and complexity of VPCs, and quality of life were assessed after 8 weeks of treatment and during a mean 24-month follow-up. After treatment with berberine, there was a significantly greater increase in LVEF, exercise capacity, improvement of the dyspnea-fatigue index, and a decrease of frequency and complexity of VPCs compared with the control group. There was a significant decrease in mortality in the berberine-treated patients during long-term follow-up (7 patients receiving treatment died vs 13 on placebo, p <0.02). Proarrhythmia was not observed, and there were no apparent side effects. Thus, berberine improved quality of life and decreased VPCs and mortality in patients with CHF.