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Although goldenseal root is one of the most popular herbs sold today, it is taken almost entirely for the wrong reasons. Originally, it was used by Native Americans both as a dye and as a treatment for skin disorders, digestive problems, liver disease, diarrhea, and eye irritations. European settlers learned of the herb from the Iroquois and other tribes and quickly adopted goldenseal as a part of early colonial medical care.
In the early 1800s, an herbalist named Samuel Thompson created a wildly popular system of medicine that swept the country. Thompson spoke of goldenseal as a nearly magical cure for many conditions. His evangelism led to a dramatic upsurge in demand, followed by over-collection and decimation of the wild plant. Prices skyrocketed and then collapsed when Thompsonianism faded away.
Goldenseal has passed through several more booms and busts. Today, it is again in great demand, but now it is under intentional cultivation.
When used as a topical treatment for minor skin wounds , a sufficient quantity of goldenseal cream, ointment, or powder should be applied to cover the wound. Make sure to clean the wound at least once a day to prevent goldenseal particles from being trapped in the healing tissues.
For mouth sores and sore throats, goldenseal tincture is swished or gargled. Goldenseal may also be used as strong tea for this purpose, made by boiling 0.5 to 1 g in a cup of water. The herb has a bitter taste. Goldenseal tea is also used as a douche for vaginal yeast infections .