PART 2. THE HERBS
A native to North America, goldenseal was commonly used by Native American tribes to protect against just about everything. Its main active ingredients—berberine and beta-hydrastine—have massive antimicrobial and astringent benefits, not to mention it’s a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and decongestant. Normally found in the wild, the huge market demand on this wonder herb has put its supplies in danger so beware of any goldenseal product labels that don’t say “organically cultivated.”
Did You Know?
Perhaps you’ve heard through the grapevine about one of goldenseal’s most popular uses—to produce a false negative when urine is tested for illegal drugs, from marijuana to cocaine. But according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there’s no hard evidence showing the goldenseal actually works for this purpose. As WebMD notes, the idea that goldenseal could alter the results first came up in a novel, and not a medical study.
MEDICINAL: Treats skin infections, bronchitis, digestive problems, colds, flus, reproductive issues, vaginal conditions, eye infections, mouth issues, eczema, psoriasis, acne, wounds, ulcers; protects the liver; fights cancer; lowers cholesterol; and boosts immunity.
COSMETIC: Acne, skin irritation.
•Drink as a tea
•Apply as a tincture, salve, ointment, oil, poultice, compress
Herbalists recommend taking breaks when consuming the herb internally—three weeks on, one week off—to stop irritation in the mucous membranes.
Locating & Growing
Consider goldenseal to be another high maintenance herb with very particular needs to achieve optimal growth. Because it’s a native of forested areas in Canada and the eastern United States, it thrives in similar climates and conditions: three-quarters shade and beneath a large tree. Soil should be humus-rich. That said, even if you get its gardening demands correct, you still have a three-year wait for a harvest.