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What Are the Benefits of Goldenseal Tea?

By Mala Srivastava

A perennial herb, goldenseal is native to the northern United States. It bears small flowers, raspberry-like fruit and five-lobed leaves. The roots of the goldenseal herb are bitter-tasting, are bright yellow-brown in color, and are wrinkled and twisted. Drinking tea made from goldenseal can offer many health benefits. Speak with your doctor to determine the correct dosage.

Guards Against Microbial Threats

Alkaloids, which are the bioactive components in goldenseal, can help protect against microbial threats. Goldenseal alkaloids have been found to be effective against microbes such as Helicobacter pylori, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, as well as Klebsiella and Candida species, notes Helicobacter pylori is linked to the development of stomach ulcers, while Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis. Staphylococcus aureus can lead to blood poisoning, skin infections, food poisoning and pneumonia, and Klebsiella has the potential to cause wound infections, blood infections and pneumonia. If you have a bacterial infection, consult your doctor before taking goldenseal tea.

Boosts Your Heart Health

Goldenseal contains a substance called berberine that has been found to exert beneficial effects on your cardiovascular system. Berberine helps alleviate endothelial dysfunction, which is a precursor for cardiovascular disease. Berberine protects endothelial cells of the cardiac system against endothelial injury, states a study published in “Cardiovascular Research” in February 2009. The alkaloid also encourages the widening of blood vessels, thereby minimizing the chances of cardiovascular problems.

May Provide Other Benefits

Drinking goldenseal tea may help strengthen your immune system. One study demonstrated that goldenseal may help boost the number of white blood cells, which help battle infections, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Unfortunately, that study was not properly designed, the UMMC reports. Also, studies done on berberine show that it possesses anti-cancer activities. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that berberine significantly inhibited the growth in laboratory cultures of brain and breast cancer cells. However, more research is needed to confirm the cancer-fighting benefits of goldenseal.

May Cause Side Effects

While goldenseal has many health benefits, it can produce unfavorable side effects such as increased sensitivity to light and irritation in the mouth, skin, throat and vagina. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid drinking goldenseal tea. If you have liver disease, heart disease or high blood pressure, check with your doctor before using goldenseal. The herb may also interact with medications such as blood thinners, tetracycline, digoxin, cyclosporine, ranitidine and some chemotherapy drugs; therefore, seek advice from your health care provider.

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