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Goldenseal

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  • Botanical: Hydrastis canadensis
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
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Goldenseal

Botanical

Hydrastis canadensis

Family

Ranunculaceae

Known as

orangeroot, yellow puccoon, Kanadische Orangenwurzel, Goldsiegelwurzel, Kanadische Gelbwurz

Old Use

medical; insustry

Parts Used

roots

Medicinal

abdominal pain, acne, anorexia, asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, cancer, colds, conjunctivitis, constipation, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, diarrhea, digestion, difficulty breathing, dropsy, eczema, eye inflammation, flatulence, gastritis, gastrointestinal, hay fever, hemorrhoids, laxative, liver weakness, indigestion, infections, itching, menstrual cramps, menstrual problems, ulcers, urinary infections, vaginitis, hay fever, mouth sores

Heart & Circulation

dropsy (edema), edema, hemorrhoids

Hormone & Sexual Organs

cramps, menstrual cramps, menstrual problems, uterine bleeding, uterine cramps

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, fever, flu, infections, mouth inflammation, mouth sores

Respiratory System

allergies, asthma, bronchitis, colds, cough, difficulty breathing, hay fever, nasal congestion, pharyngitis, pertussis, respiratory, whooping cough

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, cancer, cancer prevention, constipation, diarrhea, digestion, flatulence, gastritis, gastrointestinal, laxative, liver weakness, indigestion, nausea, stomach cramps, ulcers

Skin & Hair

acne, eczema, itching, sweaty feet

Properties

antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hepatic, stimulant

Description

It has a thick, yellow knotted rootstock. The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring. It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds in the summer.

Properties & Uses

Goldenseal is used for the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections, as well as stuffy nose and hay fever. Some people use goldenseal for digestive disorders including stomach pain and swelling (gastritis), peptic ulcers, colitis, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, and intestinal gas. Goldenseal is used for urinary tract infections (UTIs), internal bleeding, bleeding after childbirth, liver disorders, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), jaundice, gonorrhea, fever, pneumonia, malaria, whooping cough, and an eating disorder called anorexia. Women use goldenseal for vaginal pain and swelling and menstrual period problems. Goldenseal is applied to the skin for rashes, ulcers, wound infections, itching, eczema, acne, dandruff, ringworm, herpes blisters, and cold sores. It is used as a mouthwash for sore gums and mouth. Some people use goldenseal as an eyewash for eye inflammation and eye infections called conjunctivitis, or “pink eye.” Goldenseal is used in the ears for ringing, earache, and deafness.

Cautions

Goldenseal has an affinity for mucosa, and is cooling so should not be used if an infection is at an early stage or there are more chills than fever. Goldenseal should be used with caution only while sick with illnesses that respond to hydrastine and berberine. It should generally not be taken for an early stage Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), but reserved for illnesses in which there is yellow or green phlegm. Generally a two-week maximum dosage is suggested. Taking goldenseal over a long period of time can reduce absorption of B vitamins. Avoid goldenseal during pregnancy and lactation, with gastrointestinal inflammation, and with proinflammatory disorders. A recent study (2011) found rats fed with Goldenseal constantly for two years had a greater tendency towards tumor formation. Goldenseal has been found to have inhibited cytochrome P450 CYP2D6, CYP3A4, and CYP3A5 activity by approximately 40%, a statistically and clinically significant reduction. CYP2D6 specifically is a known metabolizer of many commonly used pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants (including all SSRIs except for fluvoxamine), neuroleptics, and codeine. Combining Goldenseal with such medications should be done with caution and under the supervision of a doctor as it can lead to serious - perhaps fatal - toxicity. Those with a genetic deficiency in these enzymes are at particular risk.

Distribution

native to southeastern Canada and the eastern United States.

Constituents

The chief constituents of Hydrastis rhizome are the alkaloids Berberine (3.5 to 4 per cent.), which constitutes the yellow colouring matter of the drug, Hydrastine (2 to 4 per cent.), a peculiar crystallizable substance and a third alkaloid, Canadine; resin, albumin, starch, fatty matter, sugar, lignin and a small quantity of volatile oil, to which its odour is due, are also present. The rhizome is stated to be much richer in alkaloid than the roots. Hydrastis owes its virtues almost entirely to Hydrastine, the alkaloid Berberine, apart from some effect as a bitter being practically inert. The United States Pharmacopoeia requires Hydrastis to yield not less than 2.5 per cent of Hydrastine. For many years the alkaloids and the powdered root were the chief forms administered, but now the fluid extract is the form most used. The tincture is also official in both the British and the United States Pharmacopoeias.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.