David McCluggage, D.V.M., C.V.A.

Berberine is the active ingredient of many antimicrobial herbs, including:
  • Goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis)
  • Coptis (Coptis chinensis)
  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Oregon grape (Mahonia repens)
  • Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica)

Berberine is a powerful chemical that has the following effects in the body:

  • Is strongly antibacterial
  • It will increase bile production and secretion1
  • destroy protozoa in the gastrointestinal system2
  • increase mucus production
  • It has a been shown to be effective for Giardia lamblia3

Berberine is commonly used as a component of oregon grape and goldenseal for a variety of bacterial infections, especially of the gastrointestinal system and respiratory system. One of the author's favorite uses for berberine is in the treatment of giardiasis and other protozoan parasites.

For dogs with diarrhea, Giardia is one cause. However, due to drug sensitivity and side effects, the repeated use of drugs like metronidazole can become a real probem. The use of Berberine containing herbal products can effectively treat Giardia.

One product we have found to be beneficial is a product called Paraguard. Paraguard not only treats Giardia, but also is an excellent product for acute diarrhea of unknown cause. To read about Paragard, click here.

1. Kulkarni, SK, et al. Pharmacological investigations of berberine sulphate. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 22, pp 11-16, 1972.

2. Subbaiah, TV. Effects of berberine sulphate on Entamoeba histolytica, Natyuer, 215, pp 527-28, 1967.

3. Gupe, S. Use of berberine in the treatment of giardiasis. Am J of Diseases of Childhood, 129, p 866, 1961.