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Goldenseal Root Powder & Vaginitis

By Caroline Jackson

Vaginitis, the inflammation of the vagina, is an uncomfortable infection marked by itching, painful urination and burning. Goldenseal root, or Hydrastis canadensis, is sometimes used as a complementary therapy for the condition. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warns that women who experience symptoms of vaginitis should see a health care professional. Because these symptoms can indicate a serious problem, including the presence of a sexually transmitted infection, only use goldenseal after receiving a proper diagnosis.

Goldenseal Root Facts

Goldenseal has a long history of use in treating ailments ranging from eye infections to wounds. The plant's efficacy stems from its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which come from the active constituent berberine. "Nature's Medicines" adds that goldenseal may give your immune system a boost and slow down infection-causing bacteria. Wild goldenseal is currently an endangered plant, making goldenseal powder expensive.

Causes of Vaginitis

The most common cause of vaginitis is Candida albicans, a fungus. Other causes include bacteria, viruses, lack of estrogen, sexually transmitted diseases and chemicals. Yeast infections, the type of vaginitis caused by Candia albicans, occur when too much of the candida fungus grows in the vagina. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and corticosteroids, may contribute to this overgrowth of fungus. Taking birth control pills, being overweight or having diabetes are also risk factors for developing a yeast infection. The type of vaginitis called bacterial vaginosis occurs because of an overgrowth of the bacteria normally found in the vagina. Trichomonas vaginalis, a sexually transmitted disease, causes a form of vaginitis called trichomoniasis.

Goldenseal for Vaginitis

Goldenseal's antibacterial, antiseptic and antibiotic properties may help it fight certain types of vaginitis. Though the herb is traditionally used for vaginitis and may be helpful, few scientific studies have confirmed its efficacy. The University of Maryland Medical Center website stresses that the studies done so far have not always been rigorous or well-designed. That does not mean goldenseal powder will be ineffective; it means you should discuss your treatment options with a health care professional.

Usage Information

Goldenseal powder as a treatment for vaginitis is typically taken as a douche. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends mixing 1/2 tsp. of goldenseal with 1/4 tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water. After letting the douche settle, UMMC advises that you strain the mixture to remove suspended particles. Consult your doctor prior to treatment with goldenseal concerning dosage and use.


In some cases, douching may actually exacerbate or cause vaginal infections. Goldenseal powder may also irritate vaginal skin. If your symptoms worsen after using the herb, contact your doctor. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid goldenseal, as should people who suffer from heart or liver conditions.

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