Last update May 21, 2021
The root, rhizome and bark of the plant are used.
It contains isoquinoline alkaloids such as berberine, berbamine, oxyacanthine, and palmatine (Skidmore 2010 p475).
Used in traditional medicine without clearly demonstrated efficacy for kidney stones, intestinal infections, anorexia, dyspepsia and, topically, for skin inflammations, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (Janeczek 2018, Farahnik 2017), as well as ocular ailments.
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 few 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 p476).
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.
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.
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.
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.