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
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Chloroquine- resistant malaria:
A small amount of research reports that berberine, a chemical found in goldenseal, may be beneficial in the treatment of chloroquine- resistant malaria when used in combination with pyrimethamine. Due to the very small amount of berberine found in most goldenseal preparations, it is unclear whether goldenseal contains enough berberine to have these effects. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
Common cold / upper respiratory tract infection:
Goldenseal has become a popular treatment for the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections, and is often added to echinacea in commercial herbal cold remedies. Animal and laboratory research suggests that the goldenseal component berberine has effects against bacteria and inflammation. However, due to the very small amount of berberine in most goldenseal preparations, it is unclear whether goldenseal contains enough berberine to have the same effects.
One study suggests that berberine in addition to a standard prescription drug regimen for chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) may improve quality of life and decrease ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) and mortality. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Immune system stimulation:
Goldenseal is sometimes suggested to be an immune system stimulant. However, there is little human or laboratory evidence in this area. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Berberine has been used as a treatment for diarrhea caused by bacterial infections (including diarrhea from cholera). Due to the very small amount of berberine in most goldenseal products, it is unclear whether goldenseal contains enough berberine to have the same effects. Therefore, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to make a firm recommendation in this area.
Narcotic concealment (urine analysis):
It has been suggested that taking goldenseal can hide the presence of illegal drugs from urine tests. However, there is limited research to support this idea. One study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, looked at marijuana and cocaine use and suggested that goldenseal probably does not have this effect.
Trachoma (Chlamydia trachomatosis eye infection):
The goldenseal component berberine has effects against bacteria and inflammation. Several poorly designed human studies report benefits of berberine used in the eye to treat trachoma. Better research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.