Amur Cork or Phellodendron is a unique and rare type of herb available in the Amur River Basin in East Asia. It has prolonged usage in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian traditional medicine for different health issues. Nowadays, there is a great tendency of using Amur Cork Bark for weight loss purposes.

So, this article aims to examine the reality of this recent tendency for the use of the bark of the herb for the reduction of weight. Our examination must base on scientifically proven data.


What is the Amur Cork Bark?

Amur Cork Bark is a protective outer covering of the Amur Cork tree. Phellodendron is the common name of this tree. Its scientific name is Phellodendron amurense. It belongs to the family of Rutaceae. It is native to China, Japan & Korea.

Constituents of Amur Cork or Phellodendron

Amur cork or Phellodendron contains many beneficial ingredients. So far, researchers identified 140 compounds of Amur Cork or Phellodendron (1, 2). Among those, the main ingredients are as follows:

Alkaloid: Berberine


Phenolic Acid

Quinic Acid


Flavonoid: Amurensin, quercetin, phellmurin, phellatin, phellavin & phellodendroside




Is Amur Cork Bark Effective for weight loss?

There is a recent tendency to use Amur cork bark as a weight loss aid. Naturally,  the question arises – how much is it effective to lose weight?

In this regard, let us look at the various clinical trials conducted at different times. But the studies did not involve the extracts of Amur cork alone. Rather, those were related to a mixture of Amur cork and other herbal extracts.

Magnolia and Phellodendron

Medical Scientists conducted a pilot clinical trial on a dietary supplement containing Magnolia Officinalis and Phellodendron amurense. The respondents received 250 mg capsules three times daily for 6 weeks. After completion of the trial, the scientists found that the supplement ingredients were well tolerated. Also at the same time, they opined that obese people might benefit from this dietary supplement.

Phellodendron and Citrus extracts

Researchers conducted a human trial to ascertain the effectiveness of Phellodendron and Citrus extracts on cardiovascular defensive characteristics in overweight and normal-weight adults with osteoarthritis in the knee.

In addition to the above, its other essential purpose is also to monitor the weight loss situation of the respondents.

The dietary supplement is known by its symbolic name NP 06-1. It is produced in a combination of two herbal extracts: one is from Phellodendron amurense tree bark and another is from Citrus sinensis (orange) peel. The supplement belongs to Next Pharmaceuticals of Canada, which is available in the market under the name of Flavoxine™ / Citrofen™.

In the trial, the respondents were separated into four groups. Such as:

Group                   Treatment

Overweight           Placebo

Overweight           Dietary Supplement

Normal weight      Placebo

Normal weight      Dietary Supplement

After 8 weeks of the trial, the researchers observed that alongside the beneficial effect of the supplement on the cardiovascular risk factors such as lipid levels, blood pressure & fasting glucose, there was a significant decrease in weight both in overweight and normal-weight treatment groups compared to their respective placebo groups.


Amur Cork as a Source of Weight Loss Compound Berberine

Berberine is a powerful agent for producing weight loss supplements. It has a strong scientific basis for weight loss. So far, two reliable studies experimented with the efficacy of beberine on weight loss. Interestingly, the studies showed that beberine not only reduced weight but also significantly lowered blood lipid levels and blood glucose count (3, 4).

The significance of Amur cork lies in the fact that it is one of the great sources of this berberine. Research shows that Amur cork extracts contain 33% berberine. As a result, Amur cork has attracted the attention of well-reputed herbal brands in recent days.


For therapeutic doses, I have found no single use of Amur cork bark extracts. Rather, the clinical trials were conducted in a mixture of Amur cork bark and other herbal ingredients. So, I shall mention here the dosage of combined extracts of Amur cork bark with other herbs. The doses are in the following:

Phellodendron and Citrus Extracts: At a dose of 370mg twice a day, there is no adverse effect (5).

Magnolia and Phellodendron Extracts: At a dose of 250 mg thrice a day was found to be at a tolerable limit (6).

Side Effects

Usage of the Amur Cork in the mixture of magnolia or citrus extracts at the above-mentioned doses causes no side effects.

But what about the single-use of Amur Cork or Phellodendron?

In this respect, ScienceDirect provides that long usage of Phellodendron may cause deficiency of yin and fluids in the body.

But some leading health websites mentioned some more side effects without citing the source of information. They include headache, tiredness, heartburn, shaking hands, sexual dysfunction, or thyroid dysfunction. However, they also revealed that they are unsure if Phellodendron is directly linked to these side effects. (7, 8).

Special Precautions to a Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mother

If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mother,  avoid Amur Cork or Phellodendron. Because it may cause harm to your fetus or newly born child.

Now, question is-  how?

Yes, this is berberine. Certainly, you have already known that Amur Cork contains a lot of berberine.

It is this berberine that may harm the fetus crossing the placenta. Likewise, it may pass to the infants through breast milk and may harm them by causing or worsening hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice). And thus, it may lead to kernicterus (brain damage), a life-threatening disease ( (9, 10, 11, 12).

But for this effect of berberine on fetuses and newborns, do not take the wrong message as to berberine. Because it is full of medicinal qualities. Everything beneficial in this universe may be harmful in a special situation. So, berberine is also not free from this reality.

Please note that like Amur cork, Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) and Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) are great sources of berberine. This is why you will find the names of these herbal plants in the references above.


From this discourse, it is clear that amur cork is effective to lose weight in combination with other herbal extracts like magnolia or citrus extracts. But the most important is that amur cork provides berberine which is the most effective to lose weight. Despite the innumerable benefits of Amur cork bark and other herbal ingredients, over-dose of the same may cause troubles in your health. So, be careful about the dosage of the supplements.