Medicinal Uses and Indications
ANTIBIOTIC OR IMMUNE BOOSTER
Today, goldenseal is sold to help with digestion, soothe an upset stomach, and to kill bacteria. It is considered a natural antibiotic and is often combined with echinacea and promoted as strengthening the immune system. However, only one study found that goldenseal might help boost white blood cells (a measure of the infection-fighting ability of the immune system), and the study was not well designed.
UPPER RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS
Goldenseal is often found in herbal remedies for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), colds, and the flu. There is no real evidence that it works to treat upper respiratory infections or allergies in humans, however. It may help ease a sore throat, which often accompanies cold or flu.
Because goldenseal seems to have antiseptic properties in test tubes, it is sometimes used to disinfect cuts and scrapes.
It is commonly used to treat several skin, eye, and mucous membrane problems, such as sinusitis, pink eye, and urinary tract infections. It is also available in mouthwashes for sore throats and canker sores.
Not many scientific studies have looked at goldenseal. Some have looked at berberine, one of the active compounds in goldenseal. Berberine is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat dysentery and infectious diarrhea. Berberine may work in humans to treat malaria, heart failure, and some types of infections, including upper respiratory problems. It may also dilate blood vessels and help treat heart failure. However, oral goldenseal has only very small amounts of berberine, so it is impossible to say whether or not goldenseal would work to treat these conditions.