Berberine is a quaternary ammonium salt from the protoberberine group of isoquinoline alkaloids. It is found in such plants as Berberis [e.g. Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Berberis vulgaris (barberry), Berberis aristata (tree turmeric)], Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Xanthorhiza simplicissima (yellowroot), Phellodendron amurense  (Amur corktree), Coptis chinensis (Chinese goldthread), Tinospora cordifolia, Argemone mexicana (prickly poppy) and Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy). In vitro it exerts significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. In animal models berberine has neuroprotective and cardiovascular protective effects. In humans, its lipid-lowering and insulin-resistance improving actions have clearly been demonstrated in numerous randomized clinical trials. Moreover, preliminary clinical evidence suggest the ability of berberine to reduce endothelial inflammation improving vascular health, even in patients already affected by cardiovascular diseases. Altogether the available evidences suggest a possible application of berberine use in the management of chronic cardiometabolic disorders.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidant; Berberine; Cardiovascular disease; Depression; Type 2 diabetes.