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Golden seal is an eastern woodlands plant that likes to grow in rich soil. At one time it was abundant in Ohio, Missouri and Iowa to the Eastern seaboard, and all the way up into Canada. Today, because of its immense popularity, the wild resources are rapidly dwindling. Goldenseal is sold to kill bacteria. It is considered a natural antibiotic and is often combined with echinacea and promoted as strengthening the immune system.
Golden seal is a member of the buttercup family and has a bright yellow horizontal root or “rhizome” which is the part used in medicine. The plant was another favorite herb with the native people of America. According to early accounts from the diary of Lewis and Clark made on their trip to Oregon, Indian doctors used the root for infections and as a wash for any kind of eye irritation or infection. This use is still common today, and the root powder simmered in water and carefully filtered is still one of the best treatments for pink-eye and other similar ailments. Use golden seal powder from one “00” capsule in about 3 ounces of purified or distilled water.
Today, herbalists still widely recommend golden seal for many kinds of infections, inflammations and irritations of the mucous membranes. The mucous membranes are the “slime-producing” coating of our entire digestive tract, upper respiratory tract and urinary tract. They act as a protective barrier against bacteria, viruses and other kinds of mechanical irritation. When we have a urinary tract, upper respiratory tract or bowel inflammation or infection, it is mainly the membranes which are first affected. Golden seal works well with these infections, bringing in more immune energy and increasing the micro-circulation to the “surface” (right beneath the membranes), which can help eliminate wastes and speed up the healing process. In Chinese medicine, golden seal is considered “cooling” because it lowers inflammation and removes heat.
Golden seal is also a good bitter tonic, and can help promote strong digestion and increase the production of enzymes and hydrochloric acid. However, it is important to note that some people can actually be harmed by golden seal, if they take it for too long a time or in too great a quantity—especially if they have weak digestion. I recommend two “00” capsules morning and evening around mealtimes for up to 10 days as a moderate dose.
So to summarize, golden seal is recommended for the following:
It is best to take golden seal for limited periods (not more than 2 or 3 ten-day cycles every few months), and to add herbs such as cayenne or ginger if one’s digestion is weak or cold.