Berberine is a component of the herb known as Cortidis rhizoma, commonly called Huanglian. It had been studied over the years as a possible treatment for cancer, almost exclusively in animal models.
Berberine was investigated in one study (1) as a possible anti-cancer medication against nasopharyngeal carcinoma, also called throat cancer. Researchers wanted to know if berberine could fight cancer and what mechanism was behind its effectiveness.
They found that berberine was able to stop the growth of mice that were particularly prone to getting throat cancer. They concluded that the mechanism of action was that it blocked the STAT3 gene and, by doing so, was able to stop the growth of cancer. It has implications for its possible effectiveness in treating human cancers, although this has not yet been studied.
- Tsang CM, et al. Berberine suppresses tumorigenicity and growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells by inhibiting STAT3 activation induced by tumor-associated fibroblasts. BMC Cancer. 2013;13:619
Dr. Adem Gunes