Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)

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Goldenseal (or Hydrastis Canadensis) is a perennial herb belonging to the family, Ranunculaceae. It is native to the shady, rich soil of the forests of North America. It is a low, sprawling plant, which is revered for the health benefits it provides. It is commonly used in the treatment of infective disorders. It contains powerful medicinal compounds such as berberine that has been proven to act as an anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic agent. It is commonly used for the treatment of heart diseases and cancer. It can also be used to obtain relief from arrhythmias.

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

Goldenseal contains several bioactive compounds. It possesses isoquinoline alkaloids such as hydrastine, berberastine, berberine, hydrastinine, canadine, tetrahydroberberastine, and canalidine. It also possesses 8-oxotetrahydrothalifendine.

Goldenseal Roots
Goldenseal Roots

Goldenseal Benefits and Uses

Goldenseal is a natural antibacterial agent. It is commonly used for the prevention of infections, especially in the digestive tract. It can also be used to reduce the risk of cancer. It is used for the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and esophageal cancer. It can also be used in the management of cardiovascular diseases.

Goldenseal for Infections

Goldenseal possesses strong antibacterial properties. It can help in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal system, skin, and the urinary system. It is effective against a broad range of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. It also produces an anti-inflammatory action and reduces the symptoms caused due to infections.

How Does Goldenseal Work in Infections?

The antibacterial properties of Goldenseal are primarily attributed to the presence of alkaloids such as berberine, hydrastine, and canadine in it. These phytochemicals produce an astringent effect on the mucous membranes and reduce inflammation. It also produces an antiseptic effect thus clearing up the infection.

Most bacteria, fungi, and protozoa are susceptible to berberine present in this herb. Berberine produces an antibiotic effect in vitro as most microorganisms export this alkaloid from the cell actively.

This herb also helps to prevent infections by stimulating the functions of the immune system. It promotes the ability of the immune cells to identify and attack the organisms responsible for causing infections.

Research studies for the use of Goldenseal in Infections

The antibacterial properties of Goldenseal have been proved during research. The randomized controlled trial was conducted to assess the effect of Berberine Sulphate therapy for treating diarrhea caused due to Vibrio Cholerae and enterotoxigenic Escherichia Coli.

Berberine Sulphate was administered to 165 adult patients diagnosed with acute diarrhea caused due to these bacteria. The results of this study indicated that Berberine Sulphate in Goldenseal offered an effective and safe treatment for diarrhea caused due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia Coli infections. The activity of this compound against cholera was mild. These results confirm the potential of Goldenseal as an alternative natural treatment for managing infective disorders. (1)

Goldenseal for Cancer

The use of Goldenseal has been found to be beneficial for the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is effective against several forms of cancer including the breast, prostate, colon, esophageal, and pancreatic cancers. It helps to reduce the abnormal multiplication of cancer cells thus preventing the disease from worsening.

It can be used in combination with the conventional cancer treatment to achieve better results. It can help in the faster recovery of patients and improve the success rate of the conventional treatments.

How Does Goldenseal Work in Cancer?

Goldenseal produces an anticarcinogenic effect. It reduces the effect of toxins on the healthy tissues of the body. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects the normal cells against the damage caused by free radicals. The anti-inflammatory action of Goldenseal offers protection to the cells and tissues against cancerous changes.

It also improves the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and helps a person to recover faster from the disease. It has been found to reduce the risk of cancer relapse in the future.

Research studies for the use of Goldenseal in Cancer

The anticancer potential of Goldenseal has been proven during scientific research. The study was aimed at investigating the efficacy of the alkaloid in this herb in inhibiting the growth of the Anoikis-resistant MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines. It was found that Berberine present in Goldenseal could prevent the spread and growth of cancer by inducing cell cycle arrest.

The results of this study showed that berberine in Goldenseal could reduce the growth rate of these anoikis-resistant cells. Berberine also promoted the growth inhibition of the anoikis-resistant cells. Hence, the use of Goldenseal is recommended for the patients suffering from cancer. (2)

Goldenseal for Arrhythmias

Goldenseal can be used as a natural therapy for the patients suffering from arrhythmias. It can support the functions of the heart. It can regulate the heart rate and rhythm. It can also provide relief from the symptoms of arrhythmias such as palpitations, and increased sweating.

How Does Goldenseal Work in Arrhythmias?

The cardiovascular benefits of Goldenseal can be attributed to the presence of berberine in it. Berberine and its derivatives help to regulate the functions of the heart. These compounds also have the ability to block the potassium channels and thus, act as a delayed rectifier.

Berberine also causes stimulation of the Na+ -Ca(2+) exchanger. It can prolong the duration of the ventricular action potential. It also produces a vasodilator activity through its multiple cellular mechanisms. These properties of berberine in Goldenseal help to control the heart rate and rhythm and provide relief from arrhythmias.

Research studies for the use of Goldenseal in Arrhythmias

The cardiovascular effect of berberine present in Goldenseal was evaluated during research. The potential beneficial effect of the derivatives of berberine including 8-oxoberberine and tetrahydroberberine on the heart was also assessed.

The results of this study indicated that Berberine had negative chronotropic, positive inotropic, vasodilator, and antiarrhythmic properties. Both the derivatives of berberine produced an antiarrhythmic effect. It was also found to improve the heart functions. These effects of berberine on the heart suggested that Goldenseal could be used in the treatment of arrhythmias and heart failure. (3)

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