Goldenseal Root

Benefits of Goldenseal Root

Goldenseal Root

Goldenseal is not only a popular herb, but also a powerful one. It belongs to the Ranunculaceae family which makes it a cousin of the buttercup.

It is often referred to as yellow root, puccon, Indian turmeric, Indian dye, and Indian paint, which gives us clues that its healing history had much to do with American Indians.

It also adopted names such as jaundice root, eye balm, eye root, and golden root, which provides us with even more clues that it is indeed goldenseal's root that provides us with the therapeutic benefits.

The plant - native to North America was used by Native Indians to treat conditions involving irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes. It was also used topically for skin and eye infections (hence the names eye root and eye balm).

European settlers also adopted goldenseal root and used it for similar purposes, and it soon became an herb touted for its ability to be a cure-all for a wide array of ailments and, as such, the benefits of goldenseal root had a long and colorful history.

Benefits of Goldenseal Root

General Info on the Benefits of Goldenseal

The benefits of goldenseal are highly recognized by contemporary herbalists as they view it as one of the most useful herbs.

Goldenseal is commonly used to boost the immune system and to treat infections and inflammation of the mucus membranes of the upper respiratory, digestive, and genitourinary tract (genital and urinary systems).

In fact, according to "The Complete Natural Medicine Guide To The 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs" the authors Heather Boon, BScPhm. PHD and Michael Smith, BPharm, MRPharmS, ND state:

"Goldenseal is often referred to by herbalists as the king of the tonics of the mucus membranes."

In addition, goldenseal is used as a digestive stimulate, which means that it helps digest fats. As such, goldenseal has been used for digestive problems.

In short, goldenseal is prized for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and tonic benefits.

Specific Benefits of Goldenseal Root

Common Uses of Goldenseal

Some of the core common benefits of goldenseal root include:

  • Used to fight upper respiratory infections, including bronchitis, sore throats, and pneumonia
  • Used to curtail the common cold and flu
  • Used externally - as an eyewash made of cooled goldenseal tea to heal eye infections such as "pink eye" and other eye irritations
  • Used to ease infectious diarrhea
  • Goldenseal is often used with a selected blend of herbs to eradicate parasitic infections
  • Used to soothe intestinal problems, including indigestion, ulcers, and constipation
  • Used for female complaints, including painful menstruation and vaginitis
  • Used to combat urinary tract infections
  • Used externally to aid minor cuts and scrapes as well as various skin problems, including herpes cold sores, ringworm, and eczema

    Forms of Goldenseal

  • tincture
  • tablet
  • suppository
  • softgel
  • powder
  • ointment
  • liquid
  • dried herb/tea
  • cream
  • capsule

    How does goldenseal root work?

    Goldenseal's active constituents are isoquinoline alkaloids, including hydrastine, berberine, and canadine (lower levels). However, the two primary alkaloids are hydrastine and berberine. Goldenseal's berberine is the most extensively researched and appear to have some antibiotic properties. In addition, the alkaloids harbor mild laxative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent effects.

    Side Effects of Goldenseal

    Goldenseal Herbal Safety

    Goldenseal herbal safety factors to consider before using this herb………maximize the benefits of goldenseal.

    Taken as recommended, goldenseal is generally safe for short-term use. Goldenseal may have some possible adverse effects which includes, but not limited to, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    Large doses may cause mucus membrane irritation. In addition, large doses or prolonged use could lead to a slowed heartbeat as well as possible nervous system effects.

    As such, there are several goldenseal herbal safety recommendations:

    1. Always speak to a physician before taking goldenseal, especially if you have a health condition or take prescription medications.

    2. Take it as recommended.

    3. It should not be taken continuously. Some say no longer than a week, while others recommend not using it for more than three weeks at a time; wait two weeks, at least, before taking it again.

    Goldenseal used on the skin may cause skin irritations or skin sores.

    Goldenseal is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.

    It is highly recommended that you avoid goldenseal if you have diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, or a history of stroke.

    In addition, it is always possible there is other goldenseal herbal safety factors to consider before using this herb and, as such, always consult a physician or a knowledgeable healthcare professional.

    Tips on Choosing a Goldenseal Supplement

    Maximize… Goldenseal herbal safety

    1. Select a goldenseal root supplement that contain standardized extracts of 8% to 10% alkaloids or 5% hydrastine. These are the root's active components that give you its therapeutic effect.

    2. Select a goldenseal root supplement produced by GMP compliant facilities.


    Because many supplements on the market today do not contain what's stated on the label and, as such, potency may be an issue. Some even harbor harmful contaminates! GMP compliant facilities adhere to the most rigorous manufacturing standard requirements, thus ensuring potency and purity.

    Another Herb of Interest

    Since goldenseal is often taken in combination with echinacea to ward off colds, flus and the like, we provided you with a convenient link to echinacea.

    We hope this webpage discussing goldenseal was useful to you!

    Remember, in order to reap the maximum benefits of goldenseal, select a supplement containing 8% to 10% alkaloids or 5% hydrastine. These are the root's active components that give you its therapeutic effect.

    To Your Health!

    The Editors

    Much more than Goldenseal Root at our Herbal Guide web-page

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