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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Goldenseal


Goldenseal is an herb collected since thousands of years from the forests of North America and today falls under one of the top selling herbs in America. Traditionally many American Indians used this herb as a dye and a medicinal plant. The juice extracted from this plant can be used to make green color dyes, stain skin and color cloth. Goldenseal plant contains volatile oils and its roots and rhizomes contain isoquinoline alkaloids like hydrastine, canadine, canadaline and berberine. Goldenseal roots are dried and used to make liquid extracts, solid extracts (in the form of capsules and tablets) and teas.

Health and goldenseal

  1. Often echinacea is found in combination with goldenseal and is used together for upper respiratory infection cure and cold and flu treatment.
    But as it is used in combination with echinacea, it is difficult to isolate the effects of goldenseal alone.
  2. Goldenseal is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of chloroquine-resistant malaria. This effect is due to the presence of berberine present in goldenseal, however very little amounts of this compound is present in goldenseal supplements to prove its effectiveness.
  3. Berberine may improve the quality of life, may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decrease ventricular premature complexes and mortality.
  4. Goldenseal may help to stimulate the immune system. Goldenseal may be used as a digestive aid and also in the treatment of diarrhea caused by bacterial infections (including diarrhea caused due to cholera).
  5. Many people use goldenseal with an intension that it may hide the illegal drugs in urine tests. However more scientific studies are required in this area to prove this effect.
  6. Berberine from goldenseal may be beneficial to treat trachoma in the eye, due to its effects against bacteria and inflammation.
  7. All these uses are based on unclear scientific evidences; more scientific studies need to be conducted in these areas to prove its safety and effectiveness in these conditions.

Side effects of goldenseal

  1. Goldenseal when taken in large doses can cause mucus membrane irritation, stomach ulcers, on skin may cause irritation and ulcers.
  2. Berberine may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting low white blood cell count, slow heart rate, abdominal bloating, increased blood circulation of bilirubin and alter blood pressure.
  3. Goldenseal may lower blood pressure and increase the risk of bleeding. So it should be used with caution for patients with diabetes, hypoglycemia, bleeding disorders and on medications or herbs to treat them.
  4. Goldenseal is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation as hydrastine may induce labor when taken orally and could have serious effects.

Goldenseal should always be taken in recommended doses and under the guidance of a health care specialist to derive maximum benefits form this valued herb.
Submitted on January 16, 2014