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Alkaloids in the Nature: Pharmacological Applications in Clinical Practice of Berberine and Mate Tea

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 2 ]


Giuseppe Derosa and Pamela Maffioli   Pages 200 - 206 ( 7 )


Introduction: alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. In particular berberine is a quaternary ammonium salt from the protoberberine group of isoquinoline alkaloids with anti-lipogenic and hypoglycemic effects. On the other hand, mate plant has reported to have high antioxidant potential, including an inhibitory ability against plasma and LDL oxidation. Areas covered: Most of the studies reported in literature about alkaloids are pre-clinical trials, and we have already discussed them in a previous review we conducted. This time we want to focus our attention on clinical studies about berberine, and mate plant, so the aim of this review is to evaluate berberine and mate plant efficacy and safety in humans. Conclusion: Berberine is a potent oral hypoglycemic agent with a good effect on lipid metabolism. It is safe and the cost of treatment is very low. Also mate plant seems to have antioxidant and hypolipidemic actions, even if further studies are necessary.


Alkaloids, berberine, lipid profile, mate plant, type 2 diabetes mellitus.


Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, PAVIA, Italy.

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