Goldenseal is an herb and is one of the most popular herbs on the market today. The dried root is used to make medicine. Goldenseal is so valued because it improves health in many ways: It is a strong antimicrobial, a mild anti-inflammatory, and a digestive tonic! Its astringent properties make it useful for treating conditions of the throat, stomach, and vagina, when these tissues are inflamed, swollen, or infected.
Goldenseal is often found in combination with echinacea in treatments for upper respiratory infections and is suggested to enhance the effects of echinacea. However, the effects when these agents are combined are not scientifically proven. Goldenseal is available in nutritional supplement form. It is also available as a cream or ointment to heal skin wounds. A substance in goldenseal, called berberine, does kill some kinds of bacteria and fungus in test tube studies. But scientists don’t know if goldenseal would kill any germs in people.
Goldenseal contains calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B-complex, and other nutrients and minerals. The roots and rhizomes of goldenseal contain many isoquinoline alkaloids, including hydrastine, canadine, canadaline, and l-hydrastine as well as traces of essential oil, fatty oil and resin. It is believed that the high content of these alkaloids gives its antibiotic, anti-infective and immune stimulating qualities. In recent times, herbalists understand that goldenseal is poisonous in large doses so they use the herb sparingly, mainly for its anti-microbial properties. Goldenseal has an acrid, bitter taste and a disagreeable odour, but there are so many goldenseal benefits that it has been called “the universal herb” for over 300 years.
Goldenseal is applied to the skin for rashes, ulcers, wound infections, itching, eczema, acne, dandruff, ringworm, herpes blisters, and cold sores. It is used as a mouthwash for sore gums and mouth. It soothes irritated mucus membranes aiding the eyes, ears and nose. Taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, colds or flu, Goldenseal helps can help to prevent further symptoms from developing. It has also been used to help reduce fevers, and relieve congestion and excess mucous.
Available scientific evidence does not support claims that goldenseal is effective in treating cancer or other diseases. Goldenseal can have toxic side effects, and high doses can cause death. The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. This product must not be used in newborns. Some herbal diet supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities or additives.