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Artemisia lactiflora

Botanical Name : Artemisia lactiflora
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species:A. lactiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Artemisia kitadakensis ‘Guizhou
*Artemisia lactiflora purpurea

Common Name: White Mugwort

Habitat : Artemisia lactiflora is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on forest margins, shrublands, canyons, slopes, roadsides, river banks and thickets from low elevations to 3000 metres.

Description:
Artemisia lactiflora is a vigorous clump-forming herbaceous perennial herb, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.It has plumes of creamy-white flower heads appearing in Summer and Autumn above dark green leaves.

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It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly acid loamy soil, preferring a sunny position and a moisture-retentive soil. Plants are tolerant of light shade. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Medicinal Uses:
White mugwort is a bitter aromatic tonic herb. The leaves and flowering stems are used internally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat menstrual and liver disorders.

Other Uses: Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Seashore, Woodland garden.

Known Hazards : The plant might be poisonous in large doses. Skin contact can cause dermatitis in some people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_lactiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+lactiflora
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/100891/White-mugwort-Guizhou-Group/Details

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Parsnip

Botanical Name: Pastinaca sativa
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Pastinaca
Species:    P. sativa
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Apiales

Common Name :Parsnip

Habitat : Parsnip is native to Eurasia. It has been used as a vegetable since antiquity and was cultivated by the Romans, although there is some confusion in the literature of the time between parsnips and carrots. It was used as a sweetener before the arrival in Europe of cane sugar. It was introduced into the United States in the nineteenth century.

Description:
Parsnip is a biennial  plant with a rosette of roughly hairy leaves that has a pungent odor when crushed. The petioles are grooved and have sheathed bases. The leaves are once- or twice-pinnate with broad, ovate, sometimes lobed leaflets with toothed margins; they grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long. The flower stalk develops in the second year, growing to a height of 40 to 200 cm (20 to 80 in). It is hairy, grooved, hollow (except at the nodes), and sparsely branched. It has a few stalkless, single-lobed leaves measuring 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) long that are arranged in opposite pairs. The yellow flowers are in a loose, compound umbel measuring 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) in diameter. There are 6–25 straight pedicels, each measuring 2–5 cm (1–2 in) that support the umbellets (secondary umbels). The umbels and umbellets usually have no upper or lower bracts. The flowers have tiny sepals or lack them entirely, and measure about 3.5 mm. They consist of five yellow petals that are curled inward, five stamens, and one pistil. The fruits, or schizocarps, are oval and flat, with narrow wings and short, spreading styles. They are colored straw to light brown, and measure 4–8 mm long….click & see

Parsnip  is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long tuberous root has cream-colored skin and flesh and can be left in the ground when mature as it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, it produces its flowering stem, topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, in its second growing season. By this time the stem is woody and the tuber inedible. The seeds are pale brown, flat and winged.

Parsnips are grown for their fleshy, edible cream-colored taproots. The roots are generally smooth, although lateral roots sometimes form. Most are cylindrical, but some cultivars have a more bulbous shape, which generally tend to be favored by food processors as they are more resistant to breakage. The plant has a apical meristem that produces a rosette of pinnate leaves, each with several pairs of leaflets with toothed margins. The lower leaves have short stems, the upper ones are stemless, and the terminal leaves have three lobes. The highly branched floral stem is hollow and grooved, and can grow to more than 150 cm (60 in) tall.

Cultivation:
The wild parsnip from which the modern cultivated varieties were derived is a plant of dry rough grassland and waste places, particularly on chalk and limestone. Parsnips are biennials but are normally grown as annuals. Sandy and loamy soils are preferable to silt, clay and stony ground as the latter produce short, forked roots.. Parsnip seed significantly deteriorates in viability if stored for long. Seeds are usually planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked to a fine tilth, in the position where the plants are to grow. The growing plants are thinned and kept weed free. Harvesting begins in late fall after the first frost, and continues through winter. The rows can be covered with straw to enable the crop to be lifted during frosty weather. Low soil temperatures cause some of the starches stored in the roots to be converted into sugars, giving them a sweeter taste.

Propagation :   
Seed – sow from late winter to late spring in situ. Seed can be slow to germinate, especially from the earlier sowings, it is best to mark the rows by sowing a few radishes with the parsnips. The seed has a short viability, very few will still be viable 15 months after harvesting

Edible Uses:
The parsnip is usually cooked but can also be eaten raw. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. It also contains antioxidants and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

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Parsnips resemble carrots and can be used in similar ways but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. While parsnips can be eaten raw, they are more commonly served cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried or steamed. When used in stews, soups and casseroles they give a rich flavor.  In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root, and starch to thicken the dish. Roast parsnip is considered an essential part of Christmas dinner in some parts of the English-speaking world and frequently features in the traditional Sunday Roast.  Parsnips can also be fried or thinly sliced and made into crisps. Parsnips can be made into a wine that has a taste similar to Madeira.

In Roman times, parsnips were believed to be an aphrodisiac.  However, parsnips do not typically feature in modern Italian cooking. Instead, they are fed to pigs, particularly those bred to make Parma ham.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of Chinese parsnip is used as a herbal medicine ingredient.

Poultice;  Women’s complaints.

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A poultice of the roots has been applied to inflammations and sores. The root contains xanthotoxin, which is used in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo. Xanthotoxin is the substance that causes photosensitivity .

Other Uses:
Insecticide;  Repellent.

The leaves and roots are used to make an insect spray. Roughly chop the leaves and roots, put them in a basin with enough water to cover, leave them overnight then strain and use as an insecticide against aphids and red spider mite.

Known Hazards:
While the root of the parsnip is edible, handling the shoots and leaves of the plant requires caution as the sap is toxic.  Like many other members of the family Apiaceae, the parsnip contains furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis.  The condition is a type of chemical burn rather than an allergic reaction, and is similar to the rash caused by poison ivy. Symptoms include redness, burning, and blisters. Afflicted areas can remain discolored for up to two years.  Although there have been some reports of gardeners experiencing toxic symptoms after coming into contact with foliage,  these have been small in number compared to the number of people that grow the crop. The problem is most likely to occur on a sunny day when gathering foliage or pulling up old plants that have gone to seed. The symptoms have mostly been mild to moderate.  The toxic properties of parsnip extracts are resistant to heating, or a storage period of several months. Toxic symptoms can also affect livestock and poultry in parts of their bodies where their skin is exposed.  Polyacetylenes can be found in Apiaceae vegetables such as parsnip, and they show cytotoxic activities  In sunlight, handling the stems and foliage can cause a skin rash…...click & see

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsnip
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Pastinaca+sativa

Phytotherapy

Phytotherapy is the study of the use of extracts of natural origin as medicines or health-promoting agents. Phytotherapy medicines differ from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology. Where standard pharmacology isolates an active compound from a given plant, phytotherapy aims to preserve the complexity of substances from a given plant with relatively less processing.

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Phytotherapy is distinct from homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine, and avoids mixing plant and synthetic bioactive substances. Traditional phytotherapy is a synonym for herbalism and regarded as alternative medicine by much of Western medicine.

Phytotherapy is a synergistic approach to health-care, combining the best of science, medicine and nature into a personalised, holistic natural medicine solution for you and your family.

Phytotherapists are medically trained to diagnose and treat a broad range of diseases.It also incorporates disease prevention, diet and nutrition, compounding and dispensing of herbal medicines and herb-drug interactions.

Modern phytotherapy, following the scientific method, can be considered the study on the effects and clinical use of herbal medicines.

Phytotherapy is a synergistic approach to health-care, combining the best of science, medicine and nature into a personalised, holistic natural medicine solution for modern human beings.

Although the medicinal and biological effects of many plant constituents such as alkaloids (morphine, atropine etc.) have been proven through clinical studies, there is always a debate about the efficacy and the place of phytotherapy in medical therapies.

But the herbal medicine has been used and trusted globally for thousands of years as a highly effective and safe method of treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 80% of the world’s population currently depends on herbal medicine for its primary healthcare.

There are no pre-made formulae in Phytotherapy. Each patient is a unique individual and therefore each patient will have a personalised prescription made up just for them. The aim is to treat the whole person-holistically- and to take into account as many factors contributing to the condition as possible. At subsequent consultations your progress will be monitored and assessed. The prescription may be adjusted as needed.

One of the main aims of Phytotherapy is disease prevention and promotion of long-term health. These aims are achieved by treating and rebalancing the individual patient as a whole.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytotherapy
http://www.tammioflynn.com/phytotherapy-herbal-medicine/what-is-phytotherapy/

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Ajuga reptans

Botanical Name :Ajuga reptans
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Ajugoideae
Genus: Ajuga
Species: A. reptans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

SynonymsCarpenter’s Herb. Sicklewort. Middle Comfrey.

Common Names: Bugle, blue bugle, bugleherb, bugleweed, carpetweed, carpet bungleweed, common bugle

Habitat: Ajuga reptans  is native to most of Europe, including Britain, to S.W. Asia and N. Africa. It grows in  damp grassy fields and damp woods.

Description:
Ajuga reptans is an evergreen  perennial, to be found in flower from the end of April to the beginning of July and well marked by its solitary, tapering flower-stalks, 6 to 9 inches high, and its creeping scions or runners. These are long shoots, sometimes a couple of feet or more long, sent out from the rootstock. At intervals upon them are pairs of leaves, and at the same point rootlets are given off below, which enter the earth. As winter approaches, the runners die, but at every point where the leaf-pairs and the rootlets were formed, there is a dormant plant waiting to develop fully in the spring, a Bugle plant thus being the centre of quite a colony of new young plants, quite independently of setting its seeds, which as a matter of fact do not always ripen, the plant propagating itself more largely by its creeping scions.

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The erect flower-stalk sent up from the root-stock is square, pale green, often purplish above, with the leaves opposite in pairs, the lower leaves on stalks, the upper leaves stalkless, oblong and obtuse in form, toothed or almost entire at the margin, having manycelled hairs on both surfaces, the margins also fringed with hairs. The runners are altogether smooth, but the stems are smooth only on two sides and downy on the other two.

 

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The flowers are of a purplish blue, crowded into a spike formed of about six or more rings of whorls, generally six flowers in a whorl. The upper leaves or bracts interspersed between the whorls are also tinged with the same colour, so that ordinarily the whole of the upper portion of the plant has a bluish appearance. A white variety is sometimes found, the upper leaves then being of the normal green colour.

The flowers are adapted by their lipped formation for cross-fertilization by bees, a little honey being found at the base of the long tube of the corolla. The upper lip is very short and the lower three-cleft. The stamens project. The flowers have practically no scent. After fertilization, small blackish seeds are formed, but many of the ovules do not mature.

The rather singular names of this plant – both popular and botanical – are not very easy to account for. It has been suggested that ‘Bugle’ is derived from bugulus, a thin, glass pipe used in embroidery, the long, thin tube of the corolla being thought to resemble this bead bugle. It is more likely to be a corruption of the Latin name Ajuga, the generic name which Linnaeus was the first to apply to this plant from a belief that this or some closely-allied species was the one referred to by Pliny and other writers by a very similar name, a name probably corrupted from Abija, in turn derived from the Latin word abigo, to drive away, because the plant was thought to drive away various forms of disease. In former days it was held to possess great curative powers. Prior, writing in the seventeenth century, tells us: ‘It is put in drinkes for woundes and that is the cause why some doe commonly say that he that hath Bugle and Sanicle will scarce vouchsafe the chirugeon a bugle.’ The early writers speak of the plant as the Abija, Ajuga, Abuga and Bugula, and the common English name, Bugle, is clearly a corruption of one or other of these forms.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen, Woodland garden. Prefers a humus-rich, moisture retentive soil and partial shade. Does well in marshy soil and in the spring meadow. Grows well in dry shade and is fairly drought tolerant once established, though it shows distress in severe drought. Plants do not always ripen their seeds in Britain, they spread freely by runners, however, and soon form an extensive patch in suitable conditions. A number of forms have been selected for their ornamental value, several of them are variegated and these are used especially as ground cover plants for dry shade. A purple-leafed form, ‘Atropurpurea’ does well in full sun so long as the soil is not dry. A good bee and butterfly plant. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 10°c, though it can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners at almost any time of year. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:  Leaves….…Young shoots – raw

Part Used Medicinally:  The whole herb, gathered in May and early June, when the leaves are at their best, and dried.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter, astringent and aromatic.

Ajuga reptans herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders related with the respiratory tract.

In herbal treatment, an infusion of this plant is still considered very useful in arresting haemorrhages and is employed in coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption and also in some biliary disorders, a wineglassful of the infusion – made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water – being given frequently.

In its action, it rather resembles digitalis, lowering the pulse and lessening its frequency, it allays irritation and cough, and equalizes the circulation and has been termed ‘one of the mildest and best narcotics in the world.’ It has also been considered good for the bad effects of excessive drinking.

Green (Universal Herbal, 1832) gives as his opinion that ‘the leaves may be advantageously used in fluxes and disorders of that kind as they do not, like many other plants of the same value, produce costiveness, but rather operate as gentle laxatives.’
He states that a decoction of the herb has been employed for quinsy on the Continent, where the herb has been more employed as a remedy than in this country.

The roots have by some authorities been considered more astringent than the rest of the plant.

Ajuga reptans has a long history of use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is still considered very useful in arresting hemorrhages and is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption.  It has mild analgesic properties and it is still used occasionally as a wound healer.  It is used to treat bleeding from cuts and other wounds.  The leaves are simmered to make an infusion. It is also mildly laxative and traditionally has been thought to help cleanse the liver.  In the past it was recommended for coughs, ulcers, rheumatism, and to prevent hallucinations after excessive alcohol consumption.   Externally used for bruises and tumors.  It is thought to possess heart tonic properties. The plant is usually applied externally. It is also commonly used fresh in ointments and medicated oils.

Other Uses:     A good ground-cover for a position in semi-shade, forming a carpet and rooting as it spreads. Fairly fast growing but it does not always smother out weeds and can become bare at the centre if not growing in good conditions.

Known Hazards:   The plant is said to be a narctic hallucinogen that is known to have caused fatalities.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/buglec82.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajuga_reptans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ajuga+reptans

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Botanical Name :Hydrastis canadensis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Hydrastis
Species: H. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names:Goldenseal , orangeroot or yellow puccoon

Habitat :Hydrastis canadensis is native to southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States.  Eastern N. America – Connecticut to Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas.It grows in rich shady woods and moist areas on woodland edges. Mesic, deciduous forests, often on clay soils at elevations of 50 – 1200 metres.

Description:

Hydrastis canadensis  is a perennial herb. It may be distinguished by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock. The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds in the summer.

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It is hardy to zone 3.

Cultivation:
Goldenseal is somewhat difficult of cultivation, it prefers a good rich moist loamy leafy soil in shade or partial shade. Prefers a sandy, acid to neutral humus-rich soil. Grows best in a pH range from 6 to 7. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. Goldenseal is grown commercially as a medicinal plant, but it is not easy to establish the plants[4, 200]. Another report says that all goldenseal root that is used medicinally comes from wild plants. Since the plant is becoming increasingly rare in many parts of its range, it is probably wise to try and find alternatives to this species for medicinal use unless you can be sure that your supply comes from cultivated plants.

Propagation:
Seed – sow autumn or early spring in a moist sandy loam in a shady part of the cold frame or greenhouse. The seed is slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for the first year or two. Plant out into their permanent positions when the plants are dormant. Division of the roots in autumn. The roots can be divided into quite small pieces and can also be transplanted at almost any time of the year. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Constituents:
Goldenseal contains the isoquinoline alkaloids: hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, hydrastinine, tetrahydroberberastine, canadine, and canalidine. A related compound, 8-oxotetrahydrothalifendine was identified in one study. One study analyzed the hydrastine and berberine contents of twenty commercial goldenseal and goldenseal-containing products and found they contained variously 0%-2.93% hydrastine and 0.82%-5.86% berberine. Berberine and hydrastine act as quaternary bases and are poorly soluble in water but freely soluble in alcohol. The herb seems to have synergistic antibacterial activity over berberine in vitro, possibly due to efflux pump inhibitory activity.

Multiple bacteria and fungi, along with selected protozoa and chlamydia are susceptible to berberine in vitro. Berberine alone has weak antibiotic activity in vitro since many microorganisms actively export it from the cell (although a whole herb is likely to work on the immune system as well as on attacking the microbes and hence have a stronger clinical effect than the antibiotic activity alone would suggest).[citation needed] Interestingly, there is some evidence for other berberine-containing species synthesizing an efflux pump inhibitor that tends to prevent antibiotic resistance, a case of solid scientific evidence that the herb is superior to the isolated active principle. However, it is not yet known whether goldenseal contains a drug resistance efflux pump inhibitor, although many antimicrobial herbs do

Medicinal Uses
Antibacterial; Antiperiodic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Astringent; Cholagogue; Diuretic; Laxative; Sedative; Stomachic; Tonic.

Goldenseal is a traditional medicine of the North American Indians and is still widely used in Western herbal medicine. In the Nineteenth century it acquired a reputation as a heal-all and was grossly over-collected from the wild and has become rare in the east of its range. It is now being cultivated on a small scale. It is especially valued in treating disorders of the digestive system and mucous membranes and is also extremely useful in the treatment of habitual constipation.   The root is the active part of the plant, it is harvested in the autumn after the plant has died down and is dried for later use. It is said to be antiperiodic, antiseptic, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, laxative, stomachic, tonic. It is used mainly in the treatment of disorders affecting the ears, eyes, throat, nose, stomach, intestines and vagina. The root contains the alkaloids hydrastine, berberine and canadine. Berberine is antibacterial (effective against broad-spectrum bacteria and protozoa), it increases bile secretions, acts as an anticonvulsant, a mild sedative and lowers blood pressure. Use of this plant destroys beneficial intestinal organisms as well as pathogens, so it should only be prescribed for limited periods (a maximum of three months). The plant should be used with caution, and not at all during pregnancy or by people with high blood pressure. An infusion of the root is used externally as a wash for skin diseases, vaginal infections, gum diseases etc.

Traditional Uses:
At the time of the European colonization of the Americas, goldenseal was in extensive use among certain Native American tribes of North America, both as a medicine and as a coloring material. Prof. Benjamin Smith Barton in his first edition of Collections for an Essay Toward a Materia Medica of the United States (1798), refers to the Cherokee use of goldenseal as a cancer treatment. Later, he calls attention to its properties as a bitter tonic, and as a local wash for ophthalmia. It became a favorite of the Eclectics from the time of Constantine Raffinesque in the 1830s.

The Eclectics used goldenseal extensively for cancers and swellings of the breasts, although they did not consider it sufficient for cancer alone.[citation needed] Hale recommended its use in hard swellings of the breast, while conium was used for smaller painless lumps. The two herbs alone or with phytoplankton Americana were used for cancers, along with alternatives like red clover.

Herbalists today consider goldenseal an alterative, anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter tonic, laxative, anti-diabetic and muscular stimulant. They discuss the astringent effect it has[citation needed] on mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, the bladder, and rectum (applied topically), and the skin. Goldenseal is very bitter, which stimulates the appetite and aids digestion, and often stimulates bile secretion

Efficacy:
There is currently insufficient evidence to determine whether goldenseal is effective for any conditions

Other Uses
Dye and Repellent.
A yellow dye is obtained from the whole plant. It is obtained from the root. The pounded root is smeared on the body to act as an insect repellent.

Known Hazards:The whole plant is poisonous

Cautions:
Goldenseal has an affinity for mucosa, and is cooling so should not be used if an infection is at an early stage or there are more chills than fever.   Goldenseal should be used with caution only while sick with illnesses that respond to hydrastine and berberine. It should generally not be taken for an early stage Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), but reserved for illnesses in which there is yellow or green phlegm.[citation needed] Generally a two-week maximum dosage is suggested.[citation needed] Taking goldenseal over a long period of time can reduce absorption of B vitamins. Avoid goldenseal during pregnancy and lactation, with gastrointestinal inflammation, and with proinflammatory disorders.A recent study (2011) found rats fed with Goldenseal constantly for two years had a greater tendency towards tumor formation.

Goldenseal has been found to have inhibited cytochrome P450 CYP2D6, CYP3A4, and CYP3A5 activity by approximately 40%, a statistically and clinically significant reduction.  CYP2D6 specifically is a known metabolizer of many commonly used pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants (including all SSRIs except for fluvoxamine), neuroleptics, and codeine.  Combining Goldenseal with such medications should be done with caution and under the supervision of a doctor as it can lead to serious – perhaps fatal – toxicity. Those with a genetic deficiency in these enzymes are at particular risk.

Use for masking illicit drug use in urine drug tests:
Goldenseal became a part of American folklore associated with chemical testing errors, from pharmacist John Uri Lloyd’s 1900 novel Stringtown on the Pike. In the book, the victim’s habit of taking goldenseal in the form of digestive bitters, causes this herb to appear as the poison strychnine in a chemical test – thus suggesting murder. It has been used on occasions in this century to attempt to mask the use of morphine in race horses (without success).

Two studies have demonstrated no effect of oral goldenseal on urine drug assays over water alone. Subjects who drank large amounts of water had the same urine drug levels as subjects who took goldenseal capsules along with the water.

Endangered status:
Goldenseal is in serious danger due to overharvesting. Goldenseal became popular in the mid-nineteenth century. By 1905, the herb was much less plentiful, partially due to overharvesting and partially to habitat destruction. Wild goldenseal is now so rare that the herb is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) goldenseal is one of the most overharvested herbs. More than 60 million goldenseal plants are picked each year without being replaced.[36] The process of mountain top removal mining has recently put the wild goldenseal population at major risk due to loss of habitat, illegality of removing goldenseal for transplant without registration while destruction in the process of removing the mountain top is permitted, and increased economic pressure on stands outside of the removal area.

Many herbalists urge caution in choosing products containing goldenseal, as they may have been harvested in an unsustainable manner as opposed to having been organically cultivated.

There are several berberine-containing plants that can serve as useful alternatives, including Chinese coptis, yellowroot, or Oregon grape root.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrastis_canadensis
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hydrastis+canadensis

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