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    Goldenseal Medicinal Uses

Precautions for use of Goldenseal

Folk uses expanded during the 19th and 20th centuries, to include inflammations and infections of the mucus membranes (e.g., canker sores and sore gums or throat), skin sores, cancers, bleeding, menstrual complaints, ulcers, gastritis, colitis, constipation, ringworm, acne, genitourinary infections, thrush, and snake bite.

Benefits and uses Goldenseal has both internal and external applications. It is taken orally to alleviate colds and fevers, stop recurrent ear infections, and stimulate the immune system. Its ability to counter microbes and parasites makes it useful in conditions such as vaginitis and urinary tract infections, and digestive ailments such as infectious diarrhea.

Herbalists often recommend it topically for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions, which make it useful to clean wounds, reduce hemorrhoids, soothe canker sores, and alleviate skin infections (including ringworm and athlete’s foot). It can also help treat eye infections such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis.

Goldenseal root was used by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Iroquois, as a yellow dye and for health conditions ranging from topical inflammations, debility, cancer, and dyspepsia to whooping cough, pneumonia, diarrhea, fever and sour stomach. European settlers of the 18th century used a goldenseal root wash for eye inflammations.

Do scientists know why it works? Goldenseal's major healing compounds are thought to be alkaloid compounds called hydrastine and berberine. The latter has been more widely researched; studies have shown that it can kill microbes, reduce inflammation, and possibly stimulate immunity.

Goldenseals benefits can be attributed to its alkaloids, especially hydrastine and berberine. The latter is also responsible for its characteristic golden color. The alkaloids are strongly astringent and help reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes. Hydrastine has also been reported to lower blood pressure and stimulate peristalsis (bowel elimination).

Berbine and its sulfate, berberine sulfate have been demonstrated to have anticancer activity in vitro and also have been shown to have antibacterial, anti-fungal and immunostimulatory activity, as well. Berberine has shown marked effects on acute diarrhea and its antibacterial qualities interfere with the ability of microorganisms to adhere to the walls of host cells.

Edgar Cayce sometimes referred to Goldenseal as "Life Everlasting" and recommended it to create 'a high vibration in the blood supply'.

Studies have recently explored the mechanisms by which berberine inhibits certain human cancer cells and reduces inflammation, and found that berberine is more effective in clearing a malaria-related parasite than tetracycline. Safety Goldenseal is generally safe when taken as directed. Goldenseal is not recommended for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Cautions and possible side effects: Do not take while pregnant. Do not use if you have high blood pressure or an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis or lupus or if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family such as chamomile and marigold.


Goldenseal is a potent plant and must be used with care.

Don’t exceed three weeks of continuous use without a break of at least two weeks

May cause gastrointestinal distress and possible nervous system effects

Eating the fresh plant can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane.

In high doses, goldenseal can irritate the skin, mouth , throat, and vagina. If any inflammation develops, stop taking immediately.

It may cause nausea and diarrhea. Stop taking immediately.

DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY, it may stimulate the uterus.

Do not use Goldenseal without consulting a physician if you have had heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, a stroke, high blood pressure. It stimulates the heart muscle, and the result is increased blood pressure.

Do not give goldenseal to children under two. Start with small doses for children.

High doses my interfere with Vitamin B metabolism.

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