Benefits of Goldenseal

The benefits of Goldenseal come from the Goldenseal plant with the scientific name Hydrastis canadenisis, that is found in North America.

Goldenseal, with its thick yellow rootstock, is also known as goldenroot. The roots of this herb were formerly used as medicine by the American Indians of the Northeast who called it Yellow Root. They used this herb as an eyewash, as a treatment for skin wounds, and for such ailments as sore throat and digestive complaints.

In the early 19th century, it was an American, Samuel Thomson, founder of Thomsonian herbal medicine, who changed the Indian name for this herb to Goldenseal Root, when its popular use was as an antiseptic.

Later, after the Civil War, goldenseal root was being used externally to relieve a variety of conditions such as wounds and boils, eczema, and used internally as a treatment for colds, tonsillitis, digestive and other ailments.

It was also given as a tonic when convalescing from any major illness. The benefits of Goldenseal caused it to become a popular folk medicine that was used extensively as an astringent and antiseptic to treat chapped lips, canker sores, and many other external problems.

One of the benefits of Goldenseal root is that it contains alkaloids. However this also means it is a powerful plant and should be used with caution. It is believed that it may cause uterine contractions and/or uterine relaxation (Duke 1985) and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women.

The American Indians used an infusion of the root for skin problems.

This herb is known as …

* One of the herbal cold remedies

* A mouthwash that is one of the home remedies for canker sores

* A gargle that can help mend a sore throat

* A treatment for internal bacterial parasites and gastritis

* An external wash for skin problems.

One of the purported benefits of Goldenseal that has no scientific proof is how it supposedly masks the content of drug substances in urine tests. This might simply be an urban legend.

Goldenseal root directly affects the mucous membranes. This bitter-tasting, antibiotic herb is still used to boost the immune system and fight pathogenic bacteria. Some people believe the herb may be good for colds and flu, and they use a combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal.

Goldenseal has been used successfully in the treatment of bacterial, fungal, and protozoan infections. In addition to colds and flu, goldenseal has been used to treat pneumonia, sinusitis, earache, tinnitus, sties, canker sores, athlete’s foot, bladder infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal parasites, vaginitis, viral infections, various wounds, and yeast infections. Goldenseal has a long history of use as a gastronintestinal remedy, especially for infectious diarrhea.

Most studies about the benefits of Goldenseal have focused on the alkaloid named berberine.

Berberine has demonstrated antibiotic activity and is believed to help with infections of the gastrointestinal tract and the upper respiratory tract.

Berberine is being studied in Chinese medicine for the use in treatment of low white blood cell counts, diarrhea and tumors.


Some herbalists believe that when used over a long period of time, Goldenseal might cause digestive disorders or irritation to the mucous membranes.

** This herb should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, as it is believed to stimulate the uterus.

Buying Goldenseal

Because it is rather expensive, be a careful shopper when buying this herb that you are actually getting goldenseal and not an adulterated version containing bloodroot, which is cheaper and can cause dizziness, gastrointestinal burning, vomiting, diarrhea, and intense thirst. Buy goldenseal from a good, reputable health food distributor.

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