Goldenseal's Effectiveness: What Does the Research Say?

Goldenseal and Scientific Evidence

There is no strong scientific evidence that the product really works for any of the uses listed in this article. Studies suggest that one of the compounds in goldenseal (berberine) may possibly be effective for a few different uses. However, it cannot be assumed that goldenseal (which has many different active compounds that likely have many different, perhaps even opposing, effects) has the same medicinal properties as berberine.
A few different studies have demonstrated that goldenseal does not help people "beat" urine drug tests for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), or THC (the active component of marijuana). It is thought that people began associating goldenseal with false laboratory tests due to an early 20th century novel in which goldenseal produces a false positive in a test for strychnine. Somehow, this led to an inaccurate, widespread belief that goldenseal could help people pass drug tests.

Final Thoughts on the Effectiveness of Goldenseal

There is little high-quality evidence to show that goldenseal really works for many claimed uses. In fact, research suggests that it does not have any benefit for helping people pass drug tests. As is often the case with dietary supplements, some of the more outlandish claims about the health benefits of goldenseal should be viewed with skepticism (or at the very least, with caution) until more research is available.
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