This perennial herb offers many benefits when used for dogs.

It is from the buttercup family and is native to the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It features purple stems and reproduces by creating clones through the rhizome. Most plants have two bushy leaves with small flowers that appear in the late spring.

The roots and rhizomes of goldenseal have been harvested for use in various herbal medicine applications, with a host of potential uses. Scientific evidence is rather complicated at this point, but there is circumstantial evidence that suggests it has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-diarrheal properties. It has also been used as an immune-enhancing product.

Goldenseal contains berberine, which has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Berberine is the most effective of the plant’s many isoquinoline alkaloids. It’s marked by its strong yellow color and has been used to dye wool, wood and leather. It is fluorescent after exposure to ultraviolet light and was used as a folk medicine in 3000 BC China.

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What is goldenseal good for?

Therapeutic Uses of Goldenseal for Dogs

Goldenseal for dogs is available in numerous formats, including a dry powder, tea infusion, capsule or pill, and alcohol-free tincture. The root can also be chopped and freshly cut or pulverized and added to food. Bought goldenseal should come from a cultivated organic source. Because goldenseal is an endangered herb, avoid using wildcrafted supplements.

  • Anti-inflammatory Supplement: Goldenseal can be taken internally as an anti-inflammatory supplement. It is effective for treating ulcers and mouth irritations, plus it can help treat ailments in the upper respiratory tract and eyes. Goldenseal has also been known to treat problems in the digestive and urinary tracts, plus the anti-inflammatory effects make it a solid poultice for external applications.
  • Anti-bacterial Treatment: Goldenseal for dogs is particularly captivating as an anti-bacterial treatment. It can be used to fight bacteria in the mouth, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts. It helps sterilize troublesome pathogens like salmonella, streptococcus and staphylococcus.
  • Goldenseal Eyewash: Goldenseal makes for a great treatment for eye conditions like conjunctivitis. You can use a goldenseal eyewash to fight inflammation and redness in the eyes. The eyewash can be made using the dry root and boiling in water for about 10 minutes. Cool the mix to room temperature and apply with a compress. You can also add 10 to 20 drops of goldenseal eyewash to a saline solution and apply directly to your dog’s eye two to three times daily.
  • Ease pressure on Mucus Membranes: Goldenseal can be administered to your dog at the first sign of kennel cough. Its calming properties will ease the pressure on your dog’s mucus membranes. Some sources suggest mixing goldenseal with echinacea to produce a more powerful medicine. The echinacea will provide a boost to your dog’s immune system.

Dosage for Using Goldenseal Powders, Tinctures & Teas for Dogs

  • Tincture: 5-10 drops for every 20 lbs., 2-3 times daily.
  • Tea: Add 1 teaspoon of goldenseal to a cup of boiled water. Allow to cool so that it’s still warm, but not hot. Feed 1/4 cup for every 20 lbs. daily.
  • Powder: 1 teaspoon for every 20 lbs daily.

Preventative Measures

Goldenseal should not be used by dogs that are pregnant or nursing. Newborn or hypoglycemic dogs should definitely not use goldenseal. There are also precautions against longstanding use of goldenseal for dogs, as it may overstimulate the liver and change your pet’s typical intestinal flora. Vitamin B metabolism can be affected by long-term use.

It should be noted that in 2015 the state of California tabled a resolution to name goldenseal root powder as a carcinogen. It is generally understood that normal doses of goldenseal are not toxic, but there are always safeguards to take when trying any treatment for your four-legged friend.

To be on the safe side: Don’t use for longer than one week at a time

Reasons to Use Goldenseal for Dogs

Goldenseal for dogs is a versatile and fascinating herbal component, but it is not without problems. The anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-diarrheal properties are persuasive and provide more than a few reasons to try the treatment. If proper dosages are observed and your dog reacts positively to this herb, we fully endorse goldenseal for dogs.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen

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