What Is Golden seal?
The Iroquois and Cherokee were among the first of the American tribes in the eastern United States to use this small perennial plant (Hydrastis canadensis) medicinally. They harvested its fleshy underground stems (rhizomes) and roots and used them to treat a variety of infections and other complaints, from insect bites and digestive upset to eye and skin ailments. By the nineteenth century, healers began to refer to this native wildflower (which resembles a buttercup) as goldenseal because the cuplike scars on its bright yellow rhizomes resembled the wax seals then used to close envelopes and certify documents. The plants colorful roots also provided dye for clothing.
As goldenseal popularity as a healing agent grew over the decades, the plant fell victim to overharvesting. Today it is no longer gathered in the wilderness but commercially cultivated in Oregon and Washington State. The Herbs active medicinal compounds are the alkaloids berberine and hydrastine. Most of the research has been conducted on berberine, which has Antibiotic, immune-system stimulating and anticancer properties. The alkaloids are responsible for the herbs notably bitter taste. Eleven countries (but not the United States) now officially recognize berberine and hydrastine as medicines.
Health Benefits of Golden seal:
Goldenseal has long been valued for its ability to soothe inflamed or infected Mucous membranes. It is found in popular herbal blends for taming intestinal and gallbladder Inflammation. Traditional Chinese healers give goldenseal (berberine, specifically) to cancer patients whose immune systems are weakened as a result of chemotherapy treatments. Its even being explored as a treatment for liver disorders.
Specifically, goldenseal may help to:
Curtail colds, flu and other respiratory infections.
If you feel that you may be developing a cold or the flu, take some goldenseal at once. The herb has both anti-infective and immune-system stimulating properties that may shorten the course of the illness. Goldenseal is often combined with echinacea for this purpose. In addition, because goldenseal can soothe mucous membranes, gargling with a Tincture (diluted in warm water) or drinking the tea may relieve a sore throat.
Reduce symptoms of sinusitis.
Goldenseals properties as both an anti-infective and mucous membrane anti-inflammatory may be helpful in easing sinusitis symptoms and hastening the healing process. It is particularly effective when used in the form of a warm sinus irrigating solution that loosens and washes away the thickened, infected Mucus that can cling to the walls of the sinus cavities.
Combat infections of the urinary tract and vaginal area.
Goldenseal may help in controlling urinary tract infections if taken at the first signs of infection. Along with reducing inflammation, drinking goldenseal tea can also help to flush bacteria away from the urinary tract. In addition, a goldenseal douche may be useful for vaginal yeast infections. There are also goldenseal vaginal suppositories commercially available.
Treat eye complaints.
Historically, goldenseal has been used for a variety of eye infections, including conjunctivitis (pinkeye). The eyes mucous membranes respond particularly well to an eyewash made of cooled goldenseal tea.
Heal minor cuts and scrapes.
When taken internally along with echinacea, goldenseal tea is believed to boost immunity and reduce the risk of minor wounds becoming infected. Creams containing goldenseal may also help when applied directly to the affected area.
Research indicates that goldenseal is effective for acute infectious diarrhea caused by a variety of organisms including Escherichia coli, Giardia and Salmonella. Consult your doctor if diarrhea is severe or persists, however, because it can cause serious complications, such as dehydration, if improperly treated.
Relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.Its thought that an impaired immune system may be partially responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome. Rotating goldenseal with other immune-boosting herbs (echinacea, pau darco and astragalus) may be helpful in bolstering the bodys immune system and controlling this often disabling condition.
Fight warts, cold sores, genital herpes and shingles.
Goldenseal-taken internally and applied topically-may be valuable in fighting certain viral skin ailments. This includes warts (both genital and nongenital), which are caused by the human papillomavirus, and cold sores, genital herpes and shingles, which are caused by the herpes virus.
Control canker sores.
These painful sites of viral infection-often the result of stress or local trauma-may resolve more quickly under the influence of goldenseals anti-infective and soothing actions. The herb can be taken internally or dabbed directly onto canker sores.
Forms of Golden seal:
8. Dried herb/tea
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