January Herb of the Month- Goldenseal

Goldenseal root:Hydrastis canadensis. One of the most popular, thus one of the most endangered, herbs on the American market today. Today’s common uses: One of the top five selling herbs in the U.S. It works both internally and externally. It’s a classic herb to take at the first signs of a cold.

Traditional Herbal Medicine uses: Widely used by Native Americans for digestive problems, hepatitis, tumors, fevers, catarrh, eye infections, mouth ulcers, and gonorrhea. Native Americans introduced goldenseal to European settlers around 1760, where it was used for cuts, scrapes and skin infections. Goldenseal’s ‘golden age’ came during the Civil War, where it was $1 per pound, as expensive as ginseng, and widely used to treat battle wounds. It gained a reputation as a panacea, a “poor man’s Ginseng.” It was gathered to the point of near extinction, still a problem today.

Therapeutic parts: root and leaf.

Delivery forms: tincture, capsules, tea, skin wash, douche, poultice, gargle, ear drops. Key compounds: The main compounds in goldenseal are the highly active, synergistic alkaloids berberine, canadine and hydrastine. Berberine and hydrastine have strong antibiotic action, and help the liver and gall bladder through bile secretion. Goldenseal is very high in cobalt and silicon, high in iron, magnesium, zinc and vitamin C, significant amounts of chromium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3.

Safety precautions: Avoid during pregnancy because of uterine muscle stimulation. Helps childbirth during labor, by stimulating uterine muscles. Extended use can weaken good intestinal flora. Use as needed and supplement with acidophilus.

Works in synergy with: 1) For detoxification: with licorice rt., chaparral, burdock, pau d’ arco, echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, kelp, alfalfa, dandelion, poria mushroom, ginger, prickly ash and buckthorn bark. 2) with myrrh, for the stomach. 3) echinacea, coptis root, myrrh, capsicum, marshmallow and yarrow as a first aid, front line defense responder.