What is Goldenseal Tea?

Synthia L. Rose

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.

Better digestion is often praised as one of the benefits of goldenseal tea.
Better digestion is often praised as one of the benefits of goldenseal tea.

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.

Goldenseal tea may be consumed to help soothe a person's stomach.
Goldenseal tea may be consumed to help soothe a person's stomach.

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.

Goldenseal tea may be consumed hoping for relief from their hemorrhoids.
Goldenseal tea may be consumed hoping for relief from their hemorrhoids.

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.

Goldenseal tea may be used to fight cancer of the cervix.
Goldenseal tea may be used to fight cancer of the cervix.

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.

Goldenseal tea has been used for fighting malaria.
Goldenseal tea has been used for fighting malaria.

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.

Consuming an excessive amount of goldenseal tea may render a false positive drug test.
Consuming an excessive amount of goldenseal tea may render a false positive drug test.

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Discussion Comments

serenesurface

I drink goldenseal tea with echinacea whenever I feel a cold coming on. This tea is a life saver during the winter months because it keeps the viruses and bacteria at bay. It keeps the immune system strong.

bear78

@ysmina-- I just checked my box of goldenseal tea but couldn't find any information about what parts of the plant the tea is made from. It does talk about Native Americans using goldenseal root though. So I'm assuming that it's made from the root.

I bet you could check the ingredients list of most goldenseal teas to find out what exactly the tea contains. Or an email to the manufacturer might work too.

ysmina

Do all parts of the goldenseal plant have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties?

I want to drink goldenseal tea to help fight and prevent infections. Do I need to look for a tea that is made of a specific part of the plant for these benefits? Or will a tea made from the flowers, roots and leaves work just as well?

Does anyone here drink goldenseal tea? What type of goldenseal tea do you use?

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