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Echinacea and Goldenseal Study

Marye Audet
echinacea goldenseal studies

There have been difficulties for scientists and researchers trying to do an echinacea and goldenseal study over the past two or three decades. Echinacea and goldenseal are considered to be the immune system's dynamic duo, and with good reason.

Challenges to an Echinacea and Goldenseal Study

There are several reasons why there is such a variation in research data when it comes to the medicinal effects of herbs. Researchers have a number of challenges to overcome in an echinacea and goldenseal study to get a true result from their investigations.

They must first determine which part of the plant is the most effective:

  • Root
  • Stem
  • Leaves
  • Flower
  • Seeds

They must then determine the differences in the two major species of the echinacea plant, and decide if one has more potency than the other. This can have added challenges to overcome because the plants from some locations can be stronger than the plants from others.

The researchers must then determine an average potency and decide on a dosage to work with in their studies on the effect of the herbal remedy on humans. The process must then be repeated with goldenseal.

Echinacea Research

While there have been a number of studies on the effects of echinacea, one of the most recent studies was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This research was spearheaded by:

  • Doctor Ronald Turner, University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • Doctor Rudolf Bauer, Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria
  • Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina

During this study, the team tested three different preparations made from the roots of Echinacea angustfolia. They used the most popular procedures for extracting and giving doses of echinacea to treat the common cold.

They wanted to see if echinacea really does help prevent the common cold or reduce cold symptoms. This is the normal way most consumers would use echinacea. Four hundred and thirty seven healthy adults were given one of the three echinacea preparations or a placebo. They received the assigned preparation in two phases. First, the volunteers received their dose as a preventative. This lasted for one full week (seven days). On the seventh day, they were exposed to a nasal spray which contained a virus that would induce a cold within a couple of days.

The volunteers were kept in isolation for five days while the team observed, tested, and documented their symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. The research concluded that a 900 mg per day dose had not had a significant effect on the volunteers.

Later, when the study came out, critics of the study stated that the dose had been too low. Most herbalists recommend a minimum of 300 mgs of Echinacea given every two hours at the first sign of a cold, or about 1,600 mgs per day. This should be done for three days and then 300 mgs should be taken three times a day for seven to ten days.

Goldenseal Research

Several animal and cell culture tests done at the Veterans' Administration Health Care System in Palo Alto, California have shown that goldenseal, commonly used for its capabilities in protecting and boosting the immune system, also can significantly lower cholesterol levels in adults.

Researchers did studies based on a Japanese study that found Berberine, one of the main components of goldenseal, reduces lipids in the blood by about one third. In the VA study, senior investigator Dr. Jingwen Liu found that the whole goldenseal root was much more effective than just the Berberine in reducing cholesterol levels.


The entire results of this research can be found at the Department of Veteran's Affairs website.

While goldenseal has not been highly researched using the scientific method. The evidence in favor of the healing capabilities of this amazing herb is overwhelming. Goldenseal has been used for centuries with positive results.

There was some clinical research done in Canada during the 1960s that supported goldenseal's claim as an anti-microbial drug. It was shown hat hydrastine, a substance in the herb, constricted blood vessels and stimulated the autonomic nervous systems of the subjects being tested.

Does Echinacea and Goldenseal Work?

Most people don't care about an echinacea and goldenseal study or research. People just want to know if it works.

The answer for much of the population is yes. Echinacea and goldenseal, when combined, turn into a dynamic combination that can be used as a wide spectrum antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal as well as strengthening the entire immune system.


Echinacea and Goldenseal Study