Anti-osteoporotic activity of aqueous-methanol extract of Berberis aristata in ovariectomized rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Mar 24;134(2):334-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.013. Epub 2010 Dec 21.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Traditionally Berberis aristata is employed for its supposed properties in treatment of joint pain and also used in alleviating symptoms of menopause.

Aim of the study: The aim of the present study is to evaluate the antiosteoporotic effect of Berberis aristata in ovariectomized (OVX) rats.

Materials and methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into sham and OVX groups. The OVX rats were further divided into four groups, which received standard estrogen (0.0563 mg/kg) and 100, 300, and 500 mg/kg aqueous-methanol extract of Berberis aristata, daily for 42 days. The uterine weight, bone loss, ash content, biomechanical, biochemical and histopathological observation were carried out for antiosteoporotic activity.

Results: The experimental animals treated with Berberis aristata aqueous-methanol extract showed dose dependent activity. The significant increase in uterine weight, femur BMD, ash content and lumbar hardness were observed. In addition, increased levels of calcium and phosphorus in serum and significant decreased in urine were observed as compared to control OVX group. The histopathological results also confirm the protective effect of extract.

Conclusion: The present findings strongly suggest that Berberis aristata possess the potent antiosteoporosis activity in ovariectomized rats and substantiates the ethnic use in treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Berberis*
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacology
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / urine
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Phosphorus / urine
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Bark
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Stems
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uterus / drug effects


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium