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Goldenseal Uses Benefits and Side Effects

Is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.  Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is one of the the well-known herbs a herbal antibiotic and immune system enhancer. This popular herb grows wild in moist mountainous woodland areas. It has acquired reputation as a natural antibiotic and as a cure for various gastric and genitourinary diseases. Golden seal is often combined with other herbs such as Echinacea and others and is believed that goldenseal enhances the therapeutic effects of other herbs. Echinacea may develop immune systems and lessen the symptoms and duration of colds, and goldenseal may help reduce mucus.

Constituents: Hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, canadine, candaline, hydrastinine, fatty acids,  polyphenolic acids, meconin, chlorogenic acid, phytosterols. The underground stems or dried rhizomes and roots are used. The taste is very bitter and has a strong smell. The medicinal effects of goldenseal are attributed to the alkaloids berberine and hydrastine which are present in concentrations of 2 to 10%.

Goldenseal Uses Benefits

Goldenseal is used for respiratory problems, the cold or flu, ulcers, congestion, bladder and intestine infections, fevers, mucous problems. Common uses include treatment of nasal congestion, mouth sores, eye and ear infections, and as a topical antiseptic. A poultice or wash of helps promote healing of external wounds and irritations.  Goldenseal plant is frequently used to boost the  effects of other herbs it is blended or formulated with. The genitourinary system and is  used as antimicrobial in fighting against urinary tract infections and treating gonorrhea. Has not been as subjected to extensive pharmacological investigations, despite it being an herb that possessed a important reputation. Its main active ingredient, berberine, has been the subject of clinical study. Research indicates berberine may be an useful cure for some conditions for which it is commonly used, such as infectious diarrhea and bacterial infections.  Goldenseal is frequently used both internally and topically.

Goldenseal contains a compound named berberine that kills many types of bacteria. Berberine may  activate white blood cells, making them more effective at fighting infection and strengthening the immune system. Berberine also is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat infectious diarrhea and dysentery. Tests in the lab have shown that direct contact with berberine helps stop bacteria and some types of fungus from growing. Golden seal is effective is battling bacteria as well as protozoa, fungi and streptococci.  Studies have shown it is useful in the treatment of diarrhea cause by E. coli , salmonella paratyphi , Shigella dysenteriae, giardia lamblia, and vibrio cholerae .

Goldenseal cleanses and promotes glandular functions by increasing bile flow and digestive enzymes, thus regulating normal liver and spleen functions. Berberine has been shown in several  studies to stimulate the secretion of bile and bilirubin.

GoldensealGoldenseal root is considered to be an effective broad spectrum antibiotic. Its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory effects have led researchers to study goldenseal root as a possible alternative to chemical antibiotics. It is found that using goldenseal helps reduce  flu and cold symptoms considerably. This is mainly because of the berberine content in goldenseal which contains  powerful antibiotic and antiseptic effects.

When used as a mouthwash, improves mouth infections and sore throats. An writing in the June 2003 Planta Medica reported that goldenseal constituents named flavonoids were influential against oral pathogens.

Research finds that goldenseal may boost immune function by increasing antigen-specific immunoglobulin production. Goldenseal is  used with Echinacea as an immunostimulant. Like golden seal, echinacea contains effective compounds that augment the immune system. Echinacea is a plant used to strengthen the immune system and to fight bacterial and viral infections. Golden seal is meant to complement echinacea by decreasing congestion and mucus production. As the echinacea herb begins to activate immune fighters such as macrophages, goldenseal reduces the inflammation of mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract, lowers heat, redness and swelling. Lozenges containing golden seal, echinacea and zinc are also popular.

The goldenseal  has effects that stimulate appetite, aid digestion, often increase the production of bile and cure digestive problems . For those who suffer from digestive difficulties like ulcers, gastritis colitis and other inflammatory conditions, goldenseal  may prove helpful. This plant  is also a good bitter tonic, and can help promote strong digestion and increase the production of enzymes and hydrochloric acid.

Golden seal may be used as a topical application to aid in healing injuries and skin conditions such as eczema. Eczema is an itchy, inflammatory skin illness appearing on the face, scalp, elbows and knees. An allergy triggers many cases of eczema or it results from a problem in the immune system. This herb contains an active ingredient named berberine that may help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Goldenseal Uses

Golden seal can be taken internally as a capsule, extract, tincture, or tea. It is generally recommended that the daily dosage  should be one 250 to 500 mg capsule of an extract standardized to 8-12% alkaloids, taken thrice daily. Infusion is made with ½ to 1 teaspoon-powdered root per cup of water. 1 dropperful of tincture 2  to 3 times a day. Can be used externally as a compress to treat wounds. It is  available as a cream or ointment to heal skin wounds. Golden seal tincture can be used as a mouthwash or gargle for mouth sores and sore throats.

Goldenseal Side Effects

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use golden seal. One of golden seal important constituents, berberine, has been reported to cause uterine contractions and to increase levels of bilirubin. Berberine is known to cross the placenta and reach the fetus. Goldenseal is not recommended for children unless under a physician supervision.

Goldenseal could  make the sedative effects of other medicines stronger, as well as interfere with blood pressure medications. Goldenseal should not be used for more than 3 weeks and should not be taken by those with high blood pressure, low blood sugar.

Usually a two-week maximum dosage is suggested. This herb is considered safe for short-term use in adults at recommended dosages. Taking golden seal over a long period of time can reduce absorption of B vitamins. The tannins in goldenseal tincture may cause stomach irritation. Those with kidney , liver and heart disease, or other serious conditions should consult with their physician first. The use of  large doses or extended use is not recommended. High doses may lead to vomiting, difficulty in breathing, bradycardia, spasms, and central paralysis.


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