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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: goldenseal
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997

In <630o5b$> (kristen marie
davenport) writes:

>Dr. Harris, I follow your posts fairly closely because you seem to
>generally have an idea what you're talking about. So I'm a bit surprised
>you would say that goldenseal is worthless. Unless, of course, you're
>saying this as some kind of attempt to discourage its use because it is
>endangered? Naww, that doesn't seem your style.

Nope.  The problem with the studies you quote is this:

1) Berberine is a moderately toxic alkaloid, with a definate therpeutic
window (a narrow one, it seems).  It does no good to quote studies of
berberine in a dish, because it has to be used in an intact animal, and
that's hard.  I can kill bacteria in a dish with Clorox.  So what?

2) Intact animal studies are interesting, but still flawed if berberine
is given by injection.  You can't inject goldenseal.  And berberine is
not well absorbed from the GI tract.

3) Even if it was, goldenseal is a weak and unreliable source of the
stuff.   Where are the studies of goldenseal itself on animals or
humans with medical problems?  It's not unreasonable to ask.

That leaves us with not much to go on.  Goldenseal (if the berberine
can be standardized) may have some role as a topical, and perhaps even
as a "local" agent for gut infections by certain bacteria and parasites
(absorption not necessary).  But even these things remain to be well

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Goldenseal gives False Reading???
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997

In <63lp2m$> (kristen marie
davenport) writes:

>In my view, it's fairly simple.  Berberine has been shown in *countless*
>studies to fight bacterial infections and to help a whole variety of

   These are all ailments inside the intestines, which in a way, is
still "outside" of your body (you're sort of a doughnut topologically,
and your gut is the hole in the middle).  I'm going to have to admit
that there's some evidence that goldenseal is active against gut
infections.  But again, Berberine is not well absorbed, and I have yet
to see a study suggesting a mechanism for use of it like any
antibiotic, which is what I see it used for.  So okay, maybe it's not
worthless.  Just worthless for what most people use it for.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

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