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nightsurfer on 2009-12-07"Possible effects of berberine, a chemical found in small amounts in goldenseal, include headache, slow heart rate, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, and low white blood cell count. It is not clear if the amount of berberine in goldenseal products is enough to cause these reactions. Toxic doses of berberine may cause seizures or irritation of the esophagus and stomach when taken by mouth. Berberine used intravenously (through the veins) may cause abnormal heart rhythms. Based on laboratory and animal studies, berberine may increase blood concentrations of bilirubin. Berberine theoretically may cause low blood pressure, although a different chemical in goldenseal, hydrastine, may actually cause increased blood pressure. There is limited study of the blood pressure effects of these agents in humans.
Based on laboratory and animal studies, the use of goldenseal or berberine could increase the risk of bleeding. However, there are no reliable published reports of bleeding in humans. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Based on an initial report, goldenseal or berberine may cause increased sun sensitivity, although this is not a commonly reported symptom.
Based on laboratory studies, berberine may lower blood sugar. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary. "