Goldenseal: Herbal Remedies

Preparations and Warnings for Goldenseal

Aside from the many benefits of goldenseal, there are some downsides. Learn more in the sections below.

Goldenseal Preparations and Dosage

Goldenseal's extremely bitter taste makes it more appropriate for tinctures and capsules than for teas. The following doses are recommended.

Tincture: Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon every one to two hours in adults with an acute sore throat or intestinal infection. When treating infections with herbal preparations, it is usually best to take a dose fairly frequently at the onset of symptoms and reduce the frequency in the following days as symptoms improve.

Capsules: Take 1 or 2 capsules every two to four hours when an infection first begins, and then reduce the frequency over several days' time. This botanical is fine for children and the elderly, but they require a lower dosage. Be sure to check with an herbalist for the appropriate dosage.

Goldenseal Precautions and Warnings

Because of the overharvesting of goldenseal, many herbalists recommend using goldenseal only occasionally, suggesting use of other antimicrobial herbs, such as Oregon grape, thyme, or garlic in its place whenever possible.

Be aware that goldenseal is also used as a yellow dye, so medicinal tinctures and teas will permanently stain clothing. Don't worry, though: Topical applications won't stain your skin or your eyes if you use the eyewash.

Side Effects of Goldenseal

Goldenseal is considered quite safe but due to its alkaloid content, it should be avoided during pregnancy. Researchers and herbalists disagree, however, about whether goldenseal can impair the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract the way that pharmaceutical antibiotics can.

Not all bacteria are harmful; our bodies need some types of bacteria to assist in digestion, for example. So if you are one of the rare individuals who needs to use goldenseal long term, you should supplement your diet with Lactobacillus acidophilus bacterial strains, such as those found in active-culture yogurt, to replenish the body's supply of beneficial bacteria.

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Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.