It is officially Fall 2021, and not only is Covid still here but so are all the other viruses that can attack the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. It is no surprise that people who have a low-functioning immune system or have nutrient deficiencies are more prone to catching viruses. When sleep disorders, gut issues, and emotional stress are added to the immune system, then there is a recipe for disaster or a larger chance to catch a virus. Multiple herbs and flowers can help alleviate colds and gastrointestinal symptoms, and a potent one is goldenseal.
Goldenseal is a perennial herb that is a part of the buttercup family. In the wild, it is located on the Northeastern side of the United States but is also found in Europe and Canada. It has a knotty, yellow root system that spreads via rhizomes and a purple stem. The Native Americans have used its leaves and flowers medicinally and culturally (to dye clothing) for thousands of years. It is comprised of many alkaloids, which are helpful for pain management and relaxing both the mind and the body; however, small amounts of powdered or concentrated root are necessary because it can impact the nervous system. Goldenseal is usually taken in capsule form because its taste is not palatable. It is available in salves, capsules, tinctures, and powder. Keep reading because at the end of this article, there is a recipe for a tincture and salve cream.
According to Jon Barron, goldenseal has been used to ease the following:
- allergic rhinitis
- alcoholic liver disease
- internal bleeding
- gum infections
- sore throats
4 Ways Goldenseal Improves Health
This article focuses on how goldenseal boosts the immune system, reduces sinus infections and allergies, soothes the gastrointestinal tract, and relieves inflammation and joint pain.
- Boosts Immunity
As a supplement, goldenseal can boost respiratory and intestinal systems because of its antiviral properties. Jon Barron states that “goldenseal root is not only used to kill pathogenic infections, but it is a multipurpose herb that provides immune system support and cleanses vital organs. It contains an active compound – berberine – that can activate white blood cells to fight infection and strengthen the immune system.” (Goldenseal Root: Antibiotic & Immune System Enhancer | Herbal Library (jonbarron.org))
- Reduces Sinus Infections and Allergies
In addition to boosting overall immunity, the rootstock of goldenseal has been used to reduce sinus inflammation and infections. In the past, the rootstock was ground up and sniffed, but today digesting a simple capsule can provide the same benefits. In addition to reducing infections, because it is an antimicrobial, it helps to prevent illnesses. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, goldenseal reduces the inflammation on the mucus membranes and helps to prevent allergic reactions by calming the body’s nervous system.
- Treats the Gastrointestinal Tract
Because of Goldenseal is an anti-inflammatory, it is an excellent remedy for intestinal issues. Goldenseal root increases the digestive secretions, such as saliva, bile, and digestive enzymes. (Goldenseal Root: Antibiotic & Immune System Enhancer | Herbal Library (jonbarron.org))Goldenseal root helps to lace the digestive system back into proper function. If parasitic worms are an issue, goldenseal is anthelmintic, which is used to help starve and destroy worms. If a person is suffering from constipation, it acts as a mild laxative. The berberine that boosted the immune system also has been shown to kill the bacteria that causes diarrhea, and it also kills germs like candida. “Berberine is sometimes used as an antibiotic, although studies have not shown whether it works or not in people. It has been studied to treat H. pylori infection (the bacterium that causes ulcers) and infectious diarrhea.” (Goldenseal Information | Mount Sinai – New York)
- Relieves inflammation and joint pain
In addition to inflammation on the intestinal tract, goldenseal can be used as a salve or a cream to help ease joint pain and topical inflammation. Only a small amount of powder is needed, but “it will reduce the inflammation and speed up the healing of wounds, rashes, bites, stings, and other irritations. It also reduces bleeding or running from wounds and sores.” Goldenseal Clears Inflammation and Infection – Vitality Magazine
A goldenseal tincture has a healing effect on the mucus membranes in the body. It is used for the common cold, other upper respiratory tract infections, and for allergies. It is also beneficial for gastrointestinal upsets, as mentioned above. Goldenseal works best as a tincture given as 1/8th to 2 teaspoons three times a day on an empty stomach 15 minutes before and two hours after a meal. Common practice is to hold the medicine in the mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing. Do not take longer than three weeks.
Note: Please consult a medical professional or an herbalist for advice before starting a goldenseal routine because there are medical situations that are not beneficial with goldenseal.
4 tbs dried goldenseal herb
4 glasses of vodka (80 or 90 proof)
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and then set them aside in a cool, dark place for approximately two weeks. After two weeks, strain the mixture and store it until needed. Goldenseal tinctures have a shelf life of three years.
Echinacea and Goldenseal Salve for External Infections
Both goldenseal and echinacea have been used to treat wounds, both have antibacterial properties, and goldenseal has antiseptic properties.
- Place the leaves and flowers into a jar and pour the carrier oil over them. Set aside for four weeks for the ingredients to infuse.
- After a month, strain the mixture and reserve the oil.
- Place the oil in a saucepan and add the beeswax. Warm on low heat until it is melted.
- Remove from the stove, and then add the essential oil. Mix well.
- Pour the liquid into containers and set aside to solidify.
- Place the lid on the container and store in the refrigerator or a cabinet for up to six months.
- When needed, apply the salve to the affected area until the infection is gone.