Although I’ve only recently discovered the healing properties of Goldenseal, this plant is one of the top selling medicinal herbs in the United States.
Native Americans used it for years as a treatment for skin disorders. Goldenseal is now appreciated for a variety of health boosting reasons.
What is Goldenseal?
This perennial herb is a member of the Buttercup family. The sprawling plants grow low to the ground, preferring rich shady soil in the forests of North America. Goldenseal’s name comes from the yellow-gold scars that form on the base of a stem when it gets broken. The scars resemble a gold wax letter seal, hence the name.
The plants have fuzzy stems with five to seven jagged, lobed leaves. Its small white flowers turn into raspberry-like red berries. Goldenseal roots are bright yellow or brown, twisted, and have a sharp, bitter taste.
The underground stems and roots of the herbaceous plant are dried and used to make teas, tinctures and capsules. Goldenseal’s powerful healing benefits are due to the alkaloids berberine, canadine and hydrastine. These phytochemicals produce an astringent effect on mucous membranes, reduce disease-causing inflammation and have antiseptic properties.
Include this herb in the diet for these healing benefits:
• Liver health. Destroys pathogens, both bacterial and viral, in the liver. Goldenseal expels bacterial debris, viral byproducts, neurotoxins and other pathogenic wastes. It also benefits the nearby lymphatic system.
• Natural antibiotic and immune booster. When combined with echinacea, Goldenseal enhances immunity by increasing antigen-specific antibody production. This powerful duo is a natural bronchitis remedy and aids in the fight against allergies, cold and flu.
• Fights cancer. The berberine in Goldenseal has been found to induce cell cycle death in cancer cells in multiple studies. Berberine also shows promise in destroying tumor cells.
• Improves digestive health. The herb’s bitterness stimulates appetite, aids digestion and encourages bile secretion. The berberine in Goldenseal relieves bacterial diarrhea and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) symptoms.
It also helps to heal gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation and hemorrhoids. Goldenseal inhibits the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer.
• Heals mouth disorders. A tea can be made from the herb and used as a mouthwash to heal sore throats, gum irritation, and canker sores while reducing inflammation and bacteria in the mouth.
• Protects heart health. The berberine in Goldenseal helps to treat arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. It improves heart function and health in general by lowering bad cholesterol.
• Heals skin ailments. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, Goldenseal is effective against acne, eczema, dry skin and psoriasis. It can even help eliminate dandruff.
How to Use Goldenseal
The herb is available dried for teas, in tincture form and as capsules. Look for Goldenseal products in health stores and health conscious grocery stores or purchase online. See links below.
To brew tea, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried Goldenseal to one cup of hot water. Cover cup and let tea steep for 15 minutes. Add raw honey to sweeten, if desired.
It is recommended that use of this herbal supplement not exceed three weeks at a time. Use for up to three weeks and then take a break of at least two weeks between uses.
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