Goldenseal tea is an herbal drink made from the dried green leaves, yellow roots, and white flowers of the goldenseal plant, which is part of the buttercup family. The plant’s burgundy berries can also be used for tea. Tepid water is poured over dried goldenseal to make the tea, which typically is steeped for five to seven minutes. Drinkers of goldenseal tea often consider it a health booster that heals viral, skin, and digestion problems.
Known alternately as yellow puccoon and Indian turmeric, goldenseal makes a tart, bitter tea that is often sweetened with honey or sugar. The drink can reportedly fight infections and sicknesses, including malaria, by strengthening the immune system. An anti-inflammatory tea, this goldenseal drink can reportedly reduce swelling, relieve constipation, and soothe irritated membranes in the stomach, nose, or oral cavity. It is a suspected reviver of the musculatory system, thereby benefiting many who suffer with spasms and cramps.
Better digestion is an often praised benefit of drinking this tea. Stomachaches and hemorrhoids are often mitigated by goldenseal tea whether it is served warm or chilled. The antibacterial and cleansing properties inherent in this tea have also made it a natural feminine hygiene product for some women.
The active ingredients in goldenseal tea are alkaloids. Alkaloids are natural, nitrogen-based compounds that are biologically active and purportedly have healing properties. Canadaline, beta-hydrastine, and berberine are the most common alkaloids in goldenseal tea. The presence of these pure compounds allegedly gives goldenseal tea the ability to fight some cancers, particularly cancers of the mouth and cervix, according to some research reports. Alkaloids also help combat typical colds and influenzas.
A hardy plant, goldenseal thrives in the wild, even in forests overrun with fungi that kill other herbs. Plants that lack anti-fungal qualities, like ginseng, are often planted alongside goldenseal so that they do not need a chemical fungicide to prosper. In teas and extract form, goldenseal is often combined with other herbs, such as echinacea, because it is believed to make other medicinal herbs work better.
Darker urine is one side effect of those who use goldenseal tea. Experts are divided on whether the presence of this tea in urine can skew drug tests. Some doctors say this tea in excess can render a false positive drug test; however, other experts say the traces of the tea in urine are too minimal to taint a drug assay. Other side effects include a stimulated appetite and possible interference with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B.