The long history of Goldenseal or hydrastis canadensis can be traced to the Native American tribes of the northeast, the Cherokee, where they used its roots and rhizomes as general treatment for ailments and body weakness as well as an effective insect repellent.
The plant garnered the distinction of being the most popular herbal remedy among the North American settlers in the 1800s. Nearly harvested to extinction in the wild by 1910, goldenseal is still considered rare in some regions due to overharvesting for the commercial trade. Believe it or not, it’s still considered an endangered, threatened or vulnerable species in at least American states.
Part of the plant family Ranunculaceae, goldenseal is small with hairy stems, small flowers, and raspberry-like fruit. Its most used part, the wrinkled and twisted root ranges in color from yellow, orange to brown, thus the common name yellow root or yellowroot. While the plant can be found mostly growing wild, it has found its way to farms and backyards. Goldenseal root is also known for its other names like ox-eye daisy, herb Margaret, maudlinwort, ground raspberry, orangeroot or yellow puccoon and Indian dye, among others.
Who Can Benefit from Goldenseal
This medicinal plant Goldenseal is used for treating people with various skin infections and ailments. Some studies show that the anti-bacterial qualities of the goldenseal root can kill some kinds of bacteria and fungi. The root contains various beneficial medicinal alkaloid compounds including berberine, hydrastine and canadine.
Berberine, a substance present in the plant, does show antimicrobial properties in test tube studies, but scientists do not know yet if it could kills germs in humans. In the said studies, it can eliminate bacteria that cause yeast infections, as well as parasites such as Giardia and tapeworms.
Health Benefits of Goldenseal Root
Whether prepared as tea, poultice, tincture or dried extract powder capsule, goldenseal root offers many benefits such as the following:
- serves as a natural antibiotic
- boosts the immune system
- cures upper respiratory problems like hay fever, colds, and flu
- eases sore throat
- functions as antiseptic to wounds and scrapes
- treats skin and eye problems
In addition, goldenseal root has been studied to treat infectious diarrhea and urinary tract infections (UTIs). According to the research conducted by Lee et.al in 2006, berberine is also anti-diabetic agent. A 2014 study, on the other hand, concluded that the substance could also lower cholesterol. Berberine is also widely used to cure dysentery and other digestive problems in traditional Chinese medicine. Recent studies are finding that the berberine is what might be an effective cancer-fighter.
Today, goldenseal root is marketed as an alternative health treatment for an array of ailments from malaria and gonorrhea to dandruff and eczema. While more scientific tests and clinical trials are needed to attest its effectiveness, many people still testify to the herb’s healing quality especially in curing different kinds of infections.
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