Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been around for a long time and in some circles has a near legendary reputation. There certainly are tried and true benefits from the use of this herb, but the legend may or may not be true.
Modern science knows the herb to be a rich source of vitamins, minerals and chemical compounds. The vitamins and minerals include beta carotene, biotin, calcium, choline, chromium, cobalt, inositol, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin and many more.
Chemicals and elements found naturally in Goldenseal are well known
and include aluminum, berberine, chlorine, hydrastine, silicon, tin
and others. The two thought to be the most active are berberine and
hydrastine. There are more than 50 scientific studies listed in the
Physician's Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines on the herb or these
This is a low-dose herb, to be used no more than three weeks without a break of two weeks. Following bottle directions is important, as high doses can be toxic. Long-term, low-dose usage can cause a wide variety of disorders, some similar to those for which you would use the herb in the first place.
The benefits are mostly in the anti-microbial area, meaning it is known to kill a wide range of bugs that cause us to feel sick. Often Goldenseal is used during cold and flu season as it does have some benefit in improving the immune system, as well as killing the bad ickies. Many don't know that in tea form it is helpful as a douche, reducing Candida infection. Alternatively, the tea can be used as a mouthwash to help heal mouth, gum and tongue sores.
The legendary use of Goldenseal has to do with cleansing. Specifically, it is used for the elimination of the residue of recreational drugs. The old ones would use it to rid the body of waste, but modern reports of the effectiveness in fooling urine tests is at issue. The legend may be just a story or it may be true.
Folks who are pregnant, have liver, kidney or heart disease should stay clear of Goldenseal, as should those with sugar problems and glaucoma.