Herbal Ergogenics: Bergenin

Body Builder PosingBergenin is found in many plants of the genus Bergenia, as well as some plants of the genera Astilbe, Ardisia, Mallotus, and Flueggea. Bergenin containing plants have been used for thousands of years in India for many different purposes. Uses of bergenin in traditional medicine include to treat obesity, asthma, ulcers, as an anti-inflammatory, liver detoxifier, and an expectorant.

A limited amount of research has shown Bergenin to be useful for encouraging fat loss and preventing fat gain. Bergenin has been found oppose the insulin-induced storage of glucose as fat, so it may be useful for preventing fat gain when an individual is eating a surplus of carbohydrate calories. Bergenin has also been found to enhance the effects of norepinephrine on fat break down, leading to greater body fat breakdown and possibly more fat burned as opposed to glucose or protein when an individual is eating on a caloric deficit. Bergenin has some additional benefits as well. Bergenin has been shown to aid in liver detoxification, act as a anti-inflammatory and protect against arthritis, act as an expectorant, relieve asthma, stimulate the immune system, and may also have use in the treatment and prevention of ulcers.

Bergenin is often included in thermogenic fat burners along with ingredients that stimulate norepinephrine release for its ability to enhance the breakdown of fat by this hormone. Bergenin may also be purchased by itself as an extract of Bergenia root.


1. Han LK, Ninomiya H, Taniguchi M, Baba K, Kimura Y, & Okuda H. (1998). Norepinephrine-augmenting lipolytic effectors from Astilbe thunbergii rhizomes. Journal of Natural Products. 61(8), 1006-11.

2. Kim HS, Lim HK, Chung MW, & Kim YC. (2000). Antihepatotoxic activity of bergenin, the major constituent of Mallotus japonicus, on carbon tetrachloride-intoxicated hepatocytes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 69(1), 79-83.

3. Abe K, Sakai K, & Uchida M. (1980). Effects of bergenin on experimental ulcers–prevention of stress induced ulcers in rats. General Pharmacology. 11(4), 361-8.

4. Goel RK, Maiti RN, Manickam M, & Ray AB. (1997). Antiulcer activity of naturally occurring pyrano-coumarin and isocoumarins and their effect on prostanoid synthesis using human colonic mucosa. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 35(10), 1080-3.

5. Nazir N, Koul S, Qurishi MA, Taneja SC, Ahmad SF, Bani S, & Qazi GN. (2007). Immunomodulatory effect of bergenin and norbergenin against adjuvant-induced arthritis–a flow cytometric study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 112(2), 401-5.

6. Ye YP, Sun HX, & Pan YJ. (2004). Bergenin monohydrate from the rhizomae of Astilbe chinensis. Acta Crystallographica. Section C, Crystal Structure Communications. 60(Pt), o397-8.

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