Sometimes I come across the weirdest things that are amazingly helpful, like Coptis chinensis. This herb is used frequently in Chinese medicine (Huang Lian), especially to treat diabetes. One constituent was shown in 2016 in a study (Journal of Food and Medicine) to prevent formation of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products which basically age you and contribute to diabetic complications. Coptis has a lengthy list of medicinal properties that I’d like to share with you.
Apparently the compounds in Coptis can help with H. pylori, pseudomonas, salmonella, shigella, trichomonas, giardia, influenza and more. I came across Coptis while researching plant-based antimicrobials that could get rid of MARCoNS short for “Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph.”
MRSA = Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
MARCoNS = Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci
Think of MARCoNS like you would MRSA only worse in some ways.
MRSA is staph that is “methicillin resistant” which is one class of antibiotics, whereas MARCoNS is staph (specifically coagulase negative staph) that is resistant to “multiple antibiotics.” MARCoNS is opportunistic and it can colonize many areas of the body including your jawbone, nasal cavities, hips and more. It may be found in people with chronic sinusitis. To read my article on sinusitis and get my Reviews of sinus devices CLICK HERE.
My research today is not about these organisms, I just didn’t want to leave you hanging on those pathogens in case you are wondering what they are. So while researching, I found an article that suggests that Coptis is as effective as the pharmaceutical Vancomycin against Coagulase-negative staph organisms. Vanco costs more than $8,000 per month, wheras Coptis costs about $30. You can imagine my excitement to recommend this to individuals known to have a colonization of MARCoNS, some of you might even have that and not know. It’s common in people with suppressed immunity.
MARCoNS is an opportunistic staph infection that can reside anywhere in your body, including your mouth, bones and nasal cavities, and it’s often cultured out of the nares in people who have low MSH (Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone). Low MSH correlates with severe insomnia and depression so if you have those symptoms you should test your blood levels of MSH. If low, one possible ‘next step’ would be to test for MARCoNS which entails a deep (uncomfortable) nasal swab into the nose.If it’s done correctly, it feels like their going for your brain. MARCoNS is usually cultured in people who have taken a lot of antibiotics (like Lymies), also those with compromised immunity, biotoxin illness, mold exposure from water damaged buildings or cancer. MARCoNS is tough to eradicate, it lives in slimy biofilm communities and it’s very resistant to today’s arsenal of antibiotics.
The antibiotic Rifampin along with a compounded prescription nasal spray called “BEG spray” is often used. BEG spray consists of Bactroban, EDTA and Gentamycin, hence the name “BEG” spray. Be careful not to get carried down this expensive track of treatment because low MSH is also correlated with the use of benzodiazepine drugs. If you’ve been on clonazepam, alprazolam, diazepam, or lorazepam (others too), your MSH will be trash, and BEG spray won’t do a thing for you. Neither will Coptis herb, which is where I’m headed to now.
I bought Coptis as a liquid extract off Amazon. I’m a human guinea pig, and like to try anything I write about before sharing it with you. FYI I don’t have MARCoNS, I just wanted to experiment with this. Here’s what I will tell you:
1. This herb tastes strong and bitter. Oh man have a banana or brownie close by after you drink it, lol!
2. It’s beautiful in color. It’s bright yellow, and could be used to dye fabrics. Compounds in it are actually used as a dye. It will stain your clothes and carpet if you spill it (I was using a liquid extract). The yellow color comes from active constituent in Coptis called “berberine” which many of you heard of already. Berberine is also sold as a stand-alone supplement just like Coptis is. Berberine is an extract from Coptis but berberine comes from other sources too.
3. Coptis is known by different names. You’ll see it as Chinese gold thread, goldthread, coptis rhizome, rhizoma coptidis, Chuan lian, coptidis rhizoma or coptis chinensis root.
4. It has killing activity against E. Coli, Salmonella, Tuberculosis, yersinia pestis. More on this in a moment.
5. It may have anti-ulcer activity (due to the bitterness and actions against H. pylori).
7. It’s not supposed to be used in pregnant or nursing women.
8. Even though it has positive impacts to your heart and circulatory system, it may be a problem for sensitive people, depending on your exact condition so if you have heart disease, this is a good one to consider, and good to ask your cardiologist about.
9. Coptis may be useful in preventing relapse from C. difficile, even in patients who took Vancomycin, the gold standard. It’s THAT strong! Berberine may be helpful because it is known for balancing microflora in the digestive tract and speeding gut restoration.
10. It has activity against Lyme organisms, but approach with caution as high doses can provoke a herx.
11. It has some mild diuretic properties so if you notice you’re peeing A LOT, back off your dose. Coptis chinensis contains thousands of active ingredients and constituents including berberine. Berberine has been studied extensively for it’s ability to positively impact blood sugar, and also because it helps prevent arterial wall thickening (atherosclerosis). Here I got all excited that Coptis could hit MARCoNS… which is tough to do (that is one resistant bug!) and then I learned that it protects against neuronal degeneration (in animals) and it could help with irritable bowel, heart disease, ulcers, and diarrhea.
Coptis and your THYROID…
Through deductive reasoning, it appears that Coptis may impact long-standing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis driven by pathogens.
Scroll up… do you see #4 above? That organism I mentioned, “yersinia pestis” is often implicated in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. And Coptis hits it! In 2009, there was an article in Planta Medica:
Coptis chinensis is a natural herb widely used in China for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Plague is a deadly disease caused by Yersinia pestis. Coptis chinensis is considered the therapeutic agent of choice against plague rather than conventional antibiotics because of its low cost and low toxicity. Berberine is the major constituent of a Coptis chinensis extract…This study revealed global transcriptional changes of Y. pestis in response to berberine, hence providing insights into the mechanisms of Coptis chinensis against Y. pestis.
This isn’t a trial to prove Coptis cures Hashimoto’s, all I am doing is connecting dots. We know that yersinia pestis drives some (not all) cases of Hashi’s, and we know that Coptis kills yersinia. Will it help you?I have no idea. Am I telling you to take this? Nope! Just giving you options to go ask your physician about since I am not one. I’m just guessing that you’ve NEVER EVER heard of this herb as it pertains to Hashi and I want you to consider it.
Something else rather astounding…
In 2004, researchers found something interesting. They tested the anti-cancer activity of Coptis against human liver cancer cells, and those with leukemia. They learned that the berberine and coptisin (found in Coptis) blocked growth of the cancer cells. In the May 2016 journal, Oncology Report, scientists published an interesting article that mentioned Coptis. They said the berberine (found in Coptis and other herbs) worked synergistically with the chemo drug Cisplatin to suppress breast cancer growth. Just as an aside, Cisplatin is a medication from the category of “platinum” salts, which is a heavy metal, not exactly the same as your platinum wedding band but in the same category of metals.
This is an incredible and powerful herb, it has activity against many organisms, and can improve various biomarkers in your body over time (for example blood sugar). Keep in mind that there are a bunch of different Coptis supplements, and berberine as well.
Not all brands of Coptis have been tested for safety, as you know dietary supplements are not regulated as they should be. There are many brands and if you decide to try, read reviews and make sure your practitioner(s) is okay with you putting this on board. There’s a brand by Herb Pharm that I tried, but you may find something you like better. I’m not continuing this herb, becuase I don’t have a need for it, however, I’m stashing it in my cabinet in case I ever get another infection. Last year I got the flu and recovered in about one day, although I pulled out all stops! If you would like to watch “How I beat the flu in 22 hours,” CLICK HERE.
If you are switching from Coptis product to product, (or any herbal product), keep in mind some may deliver doses that differ from your previous brand. Also, keep in mind that anything that helps with gut restoration can cause stomach upset, this is the case with herbs, probiotics and digestive enzymes. You want to start low and go slow. For example, if it says 30 to 40 drops 3 times a day, I would personally start with 3 or maybe 5 drops once per day, and build up if necessary from there, the only reason to go faster would be if you have a serious infection that requires you to take fast action. Of course, this is where a good physician, holistic physician of course, or Naturopath can help you. Any TCM practitioner and Accupuncturist can help you too, as this is right up their lane, moreso than your conventional medical doctor. They are not trained in herbal medicine. Since I don’t know if it’s good for you, please ask your own physician if this is right for you, feel free to share my article with the share buttons on this page.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.