Goldenseal: Evidence Based Benefits and Side Effects

What is goldenseal?

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a popular herb with a high therapeutic value. Its medicinal uses have been supported by several research studies.

Goldenseal
Goldenseal

Possible benefits of goldenseal: What is it good for

Immune stimulant

Having a healthy immune system is vital in order to fight naturally against infections.

Immune-stimulating qualities are present in the root and rhizome of goldenseal. People with a weak immune system can use it for protection against various infectious conditions.

In some scientific studies, its extract triggered immune response in animal models attacked by harmful foreign bodies.

Goldenseal Pictures
Goldenseal Pictures

Influenza

Mild infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by influenza can be reduced by consuming a decoction prepared from its root. In some cases, the liquid extract can be given to the patients as drops.

Its antibiotic properties have been attributed to its berberine content that help in treating symptoms like sore throat, cough, muscle ache, and fever.

In a research study, its extract produced positive results when used against human lung cells infected with influenza.

In some cases, it may also be used along with another herb called Echinacea to treat and prevent such infections.

Goldenseal Images
Goldenseal Images

Skin infections

Topical application of the leaf extract or oil on skin resolves common conditions like ringworm and eczema as a result of its antibacterial and antifungal abilities.

Some laboratory findings suggest that it gradually halts the growth of certain skin infection-causing bacteria.

Goldenseal Photos
Goldenseal Photos

Diabetes

Inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to the development of diabetes.

The root extracts might help in the regulation of blood glucose levels, since berberine exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

A detailed scientific research on diabetes mellitus-affected animals revealed its marked benefits as a valuable anti-diabetic remedy.

Goldenseal Root
Goldenseal Root
Goldenseal Root Pictures
Goldenseal Root Pictures

Eye ailments

Eyewash prepared from the rhizomes soaked in hot or cold water can be used for alleviating various eye infections.

However, some medical evidences collected from a study have linked its overuse to an increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Inflamed gums and mouth sores

As an alternative treatment for canker sores, oral candida infections, and swollen gums, gargling with tincture made from the dried roots might reduce the inflammation. In some cases, it can also be used as a mouth rinse.

In a laboratory experiment its effectiveness against several strains of oral bacteria was observed.

Goldenseal Tea
Goldenseal Tea

Diarrhea

Tea prepared from the powdered leaf or root can be consumed to minimize episodes of diarrhea.

Controlled trials involving affected patients have shown a remarkable decrease in stool output after administration of the extract.

Gastritis and ulcers

Gastritis and peptic ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria can be inhibited with the consumption of the root or rhizome.

An in vitro research study verified that it can work for the abdominal condition by eliminating the bacteria.

Goldenseal Powder
Goldenseal Powder

Detoxification

Consumption of the tea can flush out unwanted toxins from the body to improve liver and kidney functioning.

A clinical experiment using male rats with acute liver failure confirmed it to be a powerful detoxifying agent.

Cardiovascular disorders

Vasodilators are medications used for widening the blood vessels for improving circulation, while antiarrhythmic drugs can reduce abnormal heart rhythms, thereby cutting the risk of heart ailments. Goldenseal matches the effectiveness of both these agents.

In several laboratory experiments, its usefulness in treating chronic heart failure has been shown.

It could be used to lower blood cholesterol levels. In some new animal studies, its ability to bring down LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol has been observed.

Goldenseal Flower
Goldenseal Flower
Goldenseal Plant
Goldenseal Plant

Cancer

The antioxidants in its extracts can lower the risk of cancer. Vital studies have revealed its ability to fight against cancer cells.

Safety and Precautions

Side effects– It does not usually cause any adverse health effects. However, high intake might lead to digestive problems, nausea and vomiting.

It should be cautiously used by people taking cardiovascular medications.

Use during pregnancy– Goldenseal is not recommended during early pregnancy since it has the ability to induce labor. Nursing mothers should also avoid its use.

References:

http://www.drugs.com/npc/goldenseal.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldenseal

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-943-goldenseal.aspx?activeingredientid=943&activeingredientname=goldenseal

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-goldenseal.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/goldenseal