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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015, Article ID 905749, 12 pages
Review Article

Application of Berberine on Treating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

1Department of Endocrinology, Guang’anmen Hospital of China, Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100054, China
2Laboratory of Molecular and Biology, Guang’anmen Hospital of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100054, China
3Department of Digestion, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital University of Medicine Sciences, Beijing 100010, China

Received 22 December 2014; Accepted 24 February 2015

Academic Editor: Hyun C. Lee

Copyright © 2015 Bing Pang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) performs a good clinical practice and is showing a bright future in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM). TCM treatment has certain advantages of less toxicity and/or side effects, and herbs could provide multiple therapeutic effects. Berberine (BBR) is a classical natural medicine. In this review, we summarize the application of BBR in the treatment of DM from two aspects. First, modern pharmacological effects of BBR on glucose metabolism are summarized, such as improving insulin resistance, promoting insulin secretion, inhibiting gluconeogenesis in liver, stimulating glycolysis in peripheral tissue cells, modulating gut microbiota, reducing intestinal absorption of glucose, and regulating lipid metabolism. BBR is used to treat diabetic nephropathy (DPN), diabetic neuropathy (DN), and diabetic cardiomyopathy due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Second, the clinical application of BBR is reviewed, such as listing some clinical trials on the effectiveness and safety of BBR, explaining applicable stage and syndrome, the reasonable dose and dose formulation, and the toxicity and/or side effects. This review provides scientific evidence about BBR, as well as introducing some traditional Chinese medical theory and clinical experience, in order to guide clinician to use BBR more suitably and reasonably.