an herbal product - treats Infectious diarrhea, Common cold / upper respiratory tract infection, Heart failure, High cholesterol, Narcotic concealment, Immune system stimulation, Chloroquine-resistant malaria, and Trachoma
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
For general use, various types of goldenseal dosing have been used, each taken by mouth three times daily, including 0.5 to 1 gram tablets or capsules, 0.3 to 1 milliliter of liquid/ fluid extract (1:1 in 60% ethanol), 0.5 to 1 gram as a decoction, or 2 to 4 milliliters as a tincture (1:10 in 60% ethanol).
For infectious diarrhea, 100 to 200 milligrams of berberine hydrochloride taken by mouth four times daily or a single dose of 400 milligrams taken by mouth has been studied. Berberine sulfate is often used as well, and the hydrochloride and sulfate forms are generally thought to be equivalent.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend the use of goldenseal in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Goldenseal should be avoided by people with known allergy/ hypersensitivity to goldenseal or any of its constituents, including berberine and hydrastine.
Side Effects and Warnings
Goldenseal is rarely reported to cause nausea, vomiting, breathing failure, or a feeling of numbness in the arms or legs. Large doses of goldenseal may cause mucus membrane irritation and worsening or stomach ulcers. Goldenseal used on the skin may cause irritation or ulcers.
Goldenseal may cause low sodium levels in the blood.
Possible effects of berberine, a chemical found in small amounts in goldenseal, include headache, slow heart rate, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, and low white blood cell count. It is not clear if the amount of berberine in goldenseal products is enough to cause these reactions. Toxic doses of berberine may cause seizures or irritation of the esophagus and stomach when taken by mouth. Berberine used intravenously (through the veins) may cause abnormal heart rhythms. Berberine may increase blood concentrations of bilirubin. Berberine theoretically may cause low blood pressure, although a different chemical in goldenseal, hydrastine, may actually cause increased blood pressure.
Goldenseal or berberine could increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Goldenseal or berberine may cause increased sun sensitivity, although this is not a commonly reported symptom.
Berberine may lower blood sugar. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
The popularity of goldenseal has led to the substitution of other alkaloid- containing herbs, including Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis) and Oregon grape, which do not contain the same active components and may increase the risk of serious toxicity or adverse events.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Use of goldenseal or berberine is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The chemical hydrastine (found in goldenseal) may induce labor when taken by mouth during pregnancy, and could have dangerous effects.