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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
October 2012

Barberry May Reduce Acne in Adolescents

New research suggests that barberry extract may help adolescents with acne.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) has been used in Indian folk medicine for centuries, and the Chinese have used berberine, a constituent of barberry, since ancient times. Historically, barberry was commonly used for its antidiarrheal and antibiotic properties. In traditional medicinal practices, it has been used to treat metabolic disorders, diabetes, cystitis, joint pain, and symptoms of menopause.

The recent study recruited teenagers between 12 and 17 years-old with moderate to severe acne. Half of the adolescents received capsules with 600 milligrams of dried barberry daily, and the other half received placebo capsules. Before the study, the researchers counted the number of acne lesions and calculated an acne severity score for the teenagers.

After four weeks, the group taking dried barberry supplements had a significant reduction in the number of acne lesions and acne severity. The placebo group did not show significant changes in acne. Negative side effects from barberry supplementation were lacking.

Researchers concluded that barberry extract supplementation is a safe and appropriate therapy for teenagers with acne.

For more information about integrative therapies for acne, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness database.


  1. Fouladi, Rohollah F. Aqueous Extract of Dried Fruit of Berberis vulgaris L. in Acne vulgaris, a Clinical Trial. Journal of Dietary Supplements. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2012.726702.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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