Goldenseal

Plant Part Used

Root/Rhizome.

Introduction

Goldenseal has a long history of use in the United States as a medicinal herb. It was initially used by Native Americans and gained popularity with the eclectic medical movement from the 1850s to the 1940s. It has been used for gastrointestinal disturbances, as an anti-infective, to stimulate the function of the liver and as an eye wash.

Today, goldenseal is one of the most popular herbs on the market in the United States. However, it’s widespread use has resulted in over-harvesting in the wild and endangerment of the long-term survival of the species. Alternatives like Chinese goldthread, barberry, and tree tumeric may be therapeutic substitutions for golden seal.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

125-250mg (standardized extract), 2-4 times a day.

Most Common Dosage

125mg (standardized extract), 3-4 times a day.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 10% alkaloids or 2.5% berberine and 1.5-5% hydrastine per dose.

Reported Uses

The active components of goldenseal, berberine and hydrastine, have been researched for their potential to deliver a variety of health benefits. According to studies, hydrastine may support digestion and may have some blood pressure lowering effects. (1)

Berberine may have a number of positive effects on immune functioning. It has been used in upper respiratory infections and to treat inflammation of the mucous membranes. It may also function as an antibiotic on a broad array of viral and bacterial invaders. (2) In addition, berberine may have the ability to fight fevers, as shown in controlled rat studies. (3) (4)

Goldenseal has a number of applications in the gastrointestinal system. It has been studied for its potential to fight infectious diarrhea and other infections, as well as such insidious invaders as salmonella and giardia. (5) , (6) Also, berberine has may stimulate some functions in the digestive system. (7)

Goldenseal has also been researched as a possible complimentary treatment for the chemotherapy drug, paclitaxel. (8)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

Berberine is an active ingredient in goldenseal and is responsible for some of the activity of goldenseal in the body. Due to varying and unknown amounts of berberine in goldenseal, excessive use of this supplement should be avoided. (9)

Health Conditions

The berberine contained in goldenseal can effect the heart and blood vessels in numerous ways. (10) If you have a cardiovascular condition including congestive heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) or high blood pressure do not use berberine containing products unless closely monitored by a health care professional.

Jaundice individuals, especially jaundice infants, should not use berberine containing products. (11) , (12) Talk to your health care professional before taking this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. At higher doses of 2,000 to 3,000mg this dietary supplement may cause decreased heart rate and a decrease in the function of the central nervous system. (13)

A published review of berberine literature notes the following side effects can occur: decrease in blood pressure, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, stomach upset and possible heart damage. (14) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used in pregnant women (15) because berberine has traditionally been used as a stimulant for the uterus and could adversely affect the pregnancy. (16) Also, berberine and berberine containing products can affect bilirubin, (17) , (18) Bilirubin is the pigment found in bile from the breakdown of waste products in the liver that is of concern in juandice infants. Thus, this dietary supplement should not be used if you are breast-feeding an infant without first consulting a physician.

Age Limitations

Due to berberine's ability to displace bilirubin, (19) , (20) a pigment found in bile from the breakdown of waste products in the liver, berberine and berberine containing products should not be used in newborns, especially jaundiced newborns. Also, since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

Read More

   1) Native American Herbs

References

  1. Sabir M, et al. Study of Some Pharmacological Actions of Berberine. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1971;15(3):111-32.
  2. Amin AH, et al. Berberine Sulfate: Antimicrobial Activity, Bioassay, and Mode of Action. Can J Micro. 1969;15:1067-76.
  3. Sabir M, Akhter MH, Bhide NK. Further studies on pharmacology of berberine. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1978;22:9-23.
  4. Sabir M, et al. Study of Some Pharmacological Actions of Berberine. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1971;15(3):111-32.
  5. View Abstract: Rabbani GH, et al. Randomized Controlled Trial of Berberine Sulfate Therapy for Diarrhea Due to Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 1987;155(5):979-84.
  6. Amin AH, et al. Berberine Sulfate: Antimicrobial Activity, Bioassay, and Mode of Action. Can J Micro. 1969;15:1067-76.
  7. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:151-52.
  8. View Abstract: Lin HL, et al. Berberine Modulates Expression of Mdr1 Gene Product and The Responses of Digestive Track Cancer Cells to Paclitaxel. Br J Cancer. Oct1999;81(3):416-22.
  9. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines; A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London:The Pharmaceutical Press;1996.
  10. View Abstract: Lau CW, Yao XQ, Chen ZY, Ko WH, Huang Y. Cardiovascular actions of berberine. Cardiovasc Drug Rev. Sep2001;19(3):234-44.
  11. View Abstract: Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):201-8.
  12. View Abstract: Chan MY. The effect of berberine on bilirubin excretion in the rat. Comp Med East West. Jun1977;5(2):161-8.
  13. Hardin JW, et al. Human Poisoning from Native and Cultivated Plants. 2nd ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press; 1974:56-57.
  14. Birdsall TC, Kelly GS. Berberine: Therapeutic potential of an alkaloid in several medicinal plants. Altern Med Review. 1997;2(2):94-103.
  15. DeSmet P, et al. Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs I. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 1992:97-104.
  16. Birdsall TC, Kelly GS. Berberine: Therapeutic potential of an alkaloid in several medicinal plants. Altern Med Review. 1997;2(2):94-103.
  17. View Abstract: Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):201-8.
  18. View Abstract: Chan MY. The effect of berberine on bilirubin excretion in the rat. Comp Med East West. Jun1977;5(2):161-8.
  19. View Abstract: Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):201-8.
  20. View Abstract: Chan MY. The effect of berberine on bilirubin excretion in the rat. Comp Med East West. Jun1977;5(2):161-8.