Roots and barks of various Berberis species are used as folk remedy for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases such as lumbago, rheumatism and to reduce fever. Six isoquinoline alkaloids namely berberine, berbamine, palmatine, oxyacanthine, magnoflorine, and columbamine were isolated as the main components of alkaloidal fraction from the roots of Turkish Berberis species and effects were studied using various in vivo models in mice. All alkaloids inhibited inflammations in varying degrees, among them berberine, berbamine and palmatine were shown to possess significant and dose-dependent inhibitory activity against serotonin-induced hind paw oedema both on oral and topical applications and acetic acid-induced increase in vascular permeability on oral administration. Moreover, these three alkaloids were also shown to possess dose-dependent antinociceptive activity, which assessed by using the model based on the inhibition of p-benzoquinone-induced writhing movements as well as antipyretic activity on FCA-induced increased rectal temperature on subacute administration. However, all alkaloids induced gastric lesions in varying degrees. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.