Goldenseal has been proven to remedy so many infections. For this reason it has been officially recognized as a medicine for over ten countries. A relative to the buttercup, this rich yellow herb has been used as a dye as well as for healing. Goldenseal is native to North America. It's mostly commercially grown today because it was recently harvested almost to extinction.
Goldenseal contains two medicinal alkaloids - berberine and hydrastine - which act as immune system boosters and anti-infection agents against viruses and bacteria. If you take goldenseal at the onset of a cold or flu, it will help your white blood cells fight the virus or even prevent the sickness from further developing altogether. Goldenseal can have a similar effect on urinary tract infections. Unlike other immune-strengthening herbs like echinacea, goldenseal shouldn't be taken consistently to try and ward off these ailments. Start taking it as you notice the first symptoms of illness and cease taking it when you feel better.
Goldenseal has also been shown to combat cold sores, shingles and chronic fatigue syndrome. It may also help quell nausea. When used as a topical tincture, goldenseal can help relieve canker sores, warts and conjunctivitis.
Goldenseal is often made into a bitter tasting tea, but it's also available in capsule, liquid and ointment form. Look for goldenseal products that contain 8% to 10% alkaloids or 5% hydrastine.