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As I mentioned in my last post,Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis,  is being replanted, propagated and preserved at the UpS Botanical Sanctuary. I noted that this plant was heavily harvested especially at the turn of the 20th century.

Jethro Kloss in “Back to Eden”, a physician who practiced herbal medicine back in the early 1900’s stated:

“This is one of the most wonderful remedies in the entire herb kingdom. ” He goes on and praises this herb as invaluable for “all ” diseases of the digestive system.

Native Americans taught the early settlers to use goldenseal for digestive disorders, eye infections and as a dye. It seems that this root exerts an ” anti microbial action against numerous pathogens.”

Parts used: root; though it is actually a rhizome; a deep yellow green in color;

It takes about 3 years+ before roots can be harvested. Because of the demand and loss of plant in our forests, many herb companies use cultivated goldenseal. Berberine is one of the key chemical constituents present in goldenseal’s root. I have seen herb/supplement companies not include goldenseal in their formulas and substitute other berberine rich plants such as  barberry root, (Berberis aquifolium), goldthread ( Coptis, spp.), Oregon Grape Root ( Mahonia aquifolium), and yerba mansa ( Anemopsis calnifornica). For many years there was not much new research on the benefits of Hydrastis. The claims that it helped alleviate cold and flu symptoms have not been clearly documented though there have been in vitro studies on pathogens.

I have used goldenseal successfully in treating a serious flesh wound. Several clients with serious nasal congestion often from allergies made a tea and then snuffed the tea into the nostrils. While this is not formal clinical research I saw some anecdotal evidence of relief in specific areas.

The NIH is  conducting research into goldenseal’s antimicrobial effectiveness and possible cholesterol lowering effect.

I encourage my clients to not use goldenseal but use a substitute. Again contributions to an organization like UpS helps supports efforts by many in replanting this species.

Visiting the Sanctuary reminded me of the balance of what we take and what we give back. I hope you will consider donating to UpS this year especially if you use herbal medicines for you and your family.

Thanks, Judith


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