Last update May 21, 2021

Barberry

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

The root, bark and fruits of the plant are used.
The root and bark contain isoquinoline alkaloids such as berberine, berbamine, oxyacanthine and palmatine (Skidmore 2010 p43, WHO 2009 p30).
It is used in traditional medicine without clearly demonstrated efficacy in urinary and gastrointestinal conditions, as an anti-inflammatory and, topically, for skin and eye inflammations.
The fruits have a culinary use

At the date of the last update, the authors did not find any published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Berberine can cause gastritis, nephritis, phototoxicity and severe jaundice due to displacement of bilirubin bound to albumin, increasing risk of kernicterus in newborns, greater in the case of Glucose-6PD deficiency (Rad 2017, Chan 1993).….
This plant is not approved by Commission E of the German Ministry of Health for therapeutic use (Blumenthal 1998).

Given the scarce bibliographic references of this plant, its lack of proven indications and its possible toxicity, its habitual consumption is dispensable and more so during lactation (Skidmore 2010 p47, WHO 2009 p30).

Topical use would be compatible with breastfeeding as long as it is not applied to the breast to prevent the infant from ingesting it; if necessary, apply after one feeding and clean well with water before the next.

The use of the fruits of the plant as food is also compatible with lactation because they do not contain any alkaloids.

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999):
1. Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties, poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi.
2. Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of professional experts in herbal medicine. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which a large part of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors because they contain phytoestrogens if they are consumed in an exaggerated quantity or time.


See below the information of these related products:

  • Berberine ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)
  • Hydrastis ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)
  • Oregon Grape (Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Barberry is also known as


Barberry in other languages or writings:

References

  1. None Fitoterapia.net. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992- 2021. Disponible en: https://www.fitoterapia.net. Abstract
  2. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  3. Rad SZK, Rameshrad M, Hosseinzadeh H. Toxicology effects of Berberis vulgaris (barberry) and its active constituent, berberine: a review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2017 May;20(5):516-529. Abstract
  4. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  6. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  7. Linda Skidmore-Roth. Mosby's Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements. 4th Edition. 2010
  8. WHO. World Health Organization. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 4. WHO monographs. 2009 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  10. Blumenthal M. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Ed. Integrative Medicine Com. Boston. 1998
  11. Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):201-8. Abstract

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