Goldenseal is a native American medicinal plant introduced to early settlers by Cherokee Indians who used it as a wash for skin diseases, wounds, and for sore, inflamed eyes. Its roots are bright yellow, thus the name. Goldenseal root has acquired a considerable reputation as a natural antibiotic and as a remedy for various gastric and genitourinary disorders.
Numerous references to Goldenseal began to appear in medical writings as far back as 1820 as a strong tea for indigestion. Today it is used to treat symptoms of the cold and flu and as an astringent, antibacterial remedy for the mucous membranes of the body.
This popular North American herb grows wild in moist mountainous woodland areas. Goldenseal's long history of use among North Americans flourished after the Civil War as it was an ingredient in many patent medicines. It has been collected to the point of near extinction. Goldenseal supplies are diminishing and most is now wildcrafted, making herbal supplements costly.
Goldenseal is used in many combination formulas and is reported to enhance the potency of other herbs. Preparations have been marketed for the treatment of menstrual disorders, urinary infections, rheumatic and muscular pain and as an antispasmodic.
The active ingredients in Goldenseal are the alkaloids hydrastine and berberine. Similar in action, they destroy many types of bacterial and viral infections. These alkaloids can also reduce gastric inflammation and relieve congestion. Berberine is a bitter that aids digestion and that has a sedative action on the central nervous system.
Goldenseal works wonders in combination with Echinacea particularly at the onset of cold and flu symptoms, especially coughs and sore throats. Goldenseal, Echinacea and Zinc lozenges should be in every medicine cabinet.
Goldenseal is a cure-all type of herb that strengthens the immune system, acts as an antibiotic, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, potentiates insulin, and cleanses vital organs. It promotes the functioning capacity of the heart, the lymphatic and respiratory system, the liver, the spleen, the pancreas, and the colon.
Taken internally, Goldenseal increases digestive secretions, astringes the mucous membranes that line the gut, and checks inflammation. It also aids digestion by promoting the production of saliva, bile, and other digestive enzymes. In addition it may control heavy menstrual and postpartum bleeding by means of its astringent action.
As a dilute infusion, Goldenseal can be used as an eyewash and as a mouthwash for gum disease, and canker sores. It is also an effective wash or douche for yeast infections. External applications have been used in the treatment of skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, athlete's foot, herpes, and ringworm.
Part Used: Whole root. Available in bulk, capsules, and tincture.
Common Use: Treatment of any infection, inflammation and congestion of lungs, throat and sinuses. Famous for use in treatment of cold and flu. A potent remedy for disorders of the stomach and intestines such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, ulcers, and gastritis and internal parasites.
Care: Perennial. Grows best in humid regions with rich humus soil and in shady areas.
Cautions: The use of very large doses can or extended use is not suggested. Not for use during pregnancy or by children under two. Children and older adults should take smaller doses.