Alternative Treatments


Alternative treatments/therapies should not replace your healthcare provider-led therapy/treatments. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence


Limited available evidence suggests that alizarin may be of benefit in the treatment of viral infections. Additional research is needed in this area.

Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to alizarin or any plants in the Rubiaceae family. Alizarin may be toxic and should not be handled for long periods of time, rubbed in the eyes, or eaten.

Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Traditional or theoretical uses lacking sufficient evidence


Barberry has been used in Indian folk medicine for centuries, and the Chinese have used berberine, a constituent of barberry, since ancient times. Barberry has been suggested as a possible treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia. However, human studies are lacking.

Because of the lack of available evidence investigating barberry, no firm recommendations can be made regarding barberry’s safety.

  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to barberry, any of its constituents (including berberine), or any member of the Berberidaceae family.
  • Use cautiously with heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, or kidney disease.
  • Use cautiously in children due to a lack of sufficient available evidence. Barberry has exhibited uterine stimulant properties, and berberine has been shown to have anti-fertility activity.
  • Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding

Selected References

American Social Health Association. Accessed April 28, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accessed April 28, 2009.
Cline JS. Sexually transmitted diseases: will this problem ever go away? N C Med J. 2006 Sep-Oct;67(5):353-8.
Enders M, Regnath T, Tewald F, et al. Syphilis. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2007 Jan 19;132(3):77-8.
Flipp E, Raczynski P, El Midaoui A, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infection in sexually active adolescents and young women. Med Wieku Rozwoj. 2005 Jan-Mar;9(1):57-64.
Rupp RE, Stanberry LR, Rosenthal SL. Vaccines for sexually transmitted infections. Pediatr Ann. 2005 Oct;34(10):818-20, 822-4.