Goldthread

Health Benefits of Goldthread

Goldthread, also known as coptis or canker root, is a genus of perennial herbs that have been part of Asian and North American traditional medicine for hundreds of years. The roots of the plant look like a tangled mass of gold thread, hence its name. Herbal goldthread is actually the powdered rhizome, or underground stem, of the goldthread plant.

goldthread-roots-1Traditional Uses for Goldthread

Goldthread is an important herb in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine. Starting in the Tang dynasty, goldthread was used to make a medicine called Huang-Lian-Jie-Du Decoction (HLJDD), which is still used today. Herbalist relies on HLJDD to address a variety of ailments, including soothing irritation, promoting normal blood sugar, and supporting gastrointestinal health.

Native Americans used the herb as a digestive aid and to remedy infections and mouth sores. It’s from this that goldthread got the nickname “canker root.” The practical value of goldthread wasn’t limited to therapeutic applications; because of its bright gold color, Indigenous Americans also used goldthread to produce a yellow dye and to flavor beer.

Health Benefits of Goldthread

The healing properties of goldthread aren’t simply folkloric in nature. Modern medicine has started to examine the potential health benefits of this herb. Animal testing confirms that goldthread can soothe redness, swelling, and irritation. Studies have found that goldthread can promote normal blood sugar and even support brain health.

Goldthread owes its healing abilities to high concentrations of several potent alkaloid compounds. Of these, berberine is most commonly associated with goldthread’s benefits. Berberine has dozens of therapeutic applications. It can protect against some types of harmful organisms and soothe irritated tissue. It promotes normal lipid profiles and is even known to boost the immune system. Multiple studies suggest that berberine may be of benefit for those suffering from obesity. Berberine promotes heart health, bone and joint health, brain health, digestive health, liver health, and is beneficial for the respiratory system. Perhaps most intriguing of all, berberine has been evaluated for activity against cancer but further research is necessary to fully understand its potential or draw conclusions.

Berberine isn’t goldthread’s only beneficial compound, though. Other alkaloids present in goldthread include palmatine, epi berberine, jatrorrhizine, columbamine, and coptisine. Coptisine, in particular, has received attention from researchers recently. It’s currently being examined for its ability to promote brain health. Among its other positive attributes, coptisine may help a fever, relieve discomfort, support heart health, and it’s a strong antioxidant. Additionally, it encourages normal cellular respiration.

Where to Find Goldthread

Many varieties of goldthread are native to Asia and North America and some are actually critically endangered. There are two reasons for this—one is genetic and one is man-made. The genetic cause is a random mutation that results in low pollen and seed production in certain species of goldthread. This mutation affects up to 80% of Coptis teeta, a type of goldthread from the eastern Himalayas. The second cause is overexploitation by humans. Goldthread is a victim of its own success. It’s desirable properties as a therapeutic herb has led to widespread overharvesting.

Finding a substitute for goldthread may be tricky. Goldenseal is a herb that also contains berberine. But, like goldthread, goldenseal has been severely over-harvested. You can find goldenseal in most drug stores, but the quality is dubious. Oregon grape root may be a better alternative than goldenseal. Although it has a lower berberine concentration, Oregon grape root is more sustainable and readily available. In fact, the plant is so common that it’s often considered an invasive species outside its native habitat.

While several varieties of goldthread are endangered and in need of protection, other species remain plentiful. Populations of some formerly threatened species, like the North American coptis trifolia, are recovering. If you’re careful about your source, goldthread itself is still a good option. You can find goldthread in supplements, both by itself and blended with other herbs.

Triphala

The most widely used herb combination in the world, Triphala is the flagship of the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia.
It’s employed to treat a range of both minor and serious conditions, and so highly esteemed that a common aphorism among Ayurvedic practitioners is “when in doubt, the Triphala comes out.” The name Triphala means “three fruits,” refers to the fruits of amla, bi bitki, and Hari take that make up the combination.
The sour amla fruit {Emblica officinalis} is the best single Ayurvedic remedy for inflammation. It also serves as a tonic for the blood, helping to regulate blood sugar, and support the bones, liver, and heart. It enhances production of red blood cells and strengthens the teeth, hair, and nails, and has been shown to improve eyesight. It’s one of the strongest rejuvenates, and an extraordinarily rich source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
triphalia plantAnother eyesight booster, bibitki [Terminalia belerica} also nourishes the lungs, throat, and hair, and helps remove stones and deposits in the digestive, urinary, and respiratory tracts. It also has the unusual dual trait of being both laxative and astringent, purging the intestines while simultaneously toning the tissues of the gut. It’s the best single herb for controlling mucus, fat, and toxins.
Considered the most important herb in Ayurveda, and referred to as the “king of herbs” in Tibetan medicine, Haritake {Terminalia chebula} effectively maintains the brain and nervous system. Its laxative quality eases constipation and offers a simple way to detoxify the body. Strongly astringent, Hari take tonnes tissue, making it a great remedy for various ulcers, prolapses, and fluid discharges. Haritaki is thought to increase mental and spiritual awareness, as well.
With limitless uses, Triphala appears in many preparations. Consumed with honey and ghee, Triphala stimulates digestion, acting to reduce fullness and heartburn, as well as gas and constipation. When mixed with shilajit, another Ayurvedic herb staple, the formulation can improve stubborn kidney conditions, including nephritis and diabetes. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology confirmed triphyla’s help in preventing toxic liver and kidney damage.
Triphala boosts the immune system. One study, published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, found that the herb combination stimulates immune cell function. Mixed with other immune and respiratory herbs, it works as a decoction {warning: it has a very bad taste} for treating the common cold. In fact, a 2008 study, published in the review Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, confirmed that Triphala had antimicrobial activity against all types of bacteria tested.
Use Triphala as a rapid-acting expectorant during hay fever season, cold infusing 5 grams of the powder in 8 ounces of water overnight. Consumed first thing in the morning, it offers dramatic results within minutes.
When used with guggul gum, a resin from the Mukul tree that grows widely in India, Triphala appears to have weight-loss benefits. The three fruits have been shown to lower cholesterol significantly, with bibitki proving the strongest herb for this condition.
Triphala Guggul is a classic Ayurvedic arthritis medicine, as well. In 2007, scientists at the Interactive Research School for Health Affairs in India confirmed that this formula inhibits two major enzymes that degrade cartilage. It may also have significant anti-inflammatory effects.
amla_freshMix it with water and you can use it as a shampoo, a gargle, or for nasal administration. Eyewashes are popular in Ayurvedic ophthalmology and Triphala may also be administered this way. Add 1 tablespoon Triphala powder to 10 oz water. Cover and let sit for 12 hours. Filter and apply with an eyedropper or eye cup.
Triphala’s only downside is that it tastes terrible. Look for it in powdered form and take it with water, honey, or ghee for a more palatable flavor. Ayurveda values tasting the herbs, but if you can’t stand the flavor, you can also find it in capsules.
Triphala’s laxative quality is fast acting, but its tonic properties are long term. Practitioners often prescribe it for a year or more. It may even be taken throughout one’s life on a semi-regular basis.

Arjuna {Terminalia arjuna}

The arjuna, scientific name Terminalia arjuna, is a lofty evergreen tree that is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. This tree often grows to a height of about 100 feet or 30 meters and bears yellow blooms and tapering leaves. The bark of the arjuna tree possesses therapeutic properties and has been used by people for centuries to treat different conditions.

Arjuna is an exceptional herb that aids in facilitating a hale and hearty heart and diminishes the results of the anxiety and apprehension. In addition, using the bark of the tree endorses effectual functioning of the cardiac muscles. As a result, arjuna has been a preferred herb in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical science, for treating as well as maintaining the health of the cardiovascular system. Primarily, the ingestion of medications prepared with bark of arjuna ensures usual functioning of the heart, provides energy to the heart muscles, promotes the functioning of platelets as well as helps in sustaining a steady blood pressure level. The chemical analysis of the arjuna bark has revealed that the main elements enclosed by this herb include ellagic acid, arjunic acid and Beta-sitosterol.

As mentioned above the Terminalia arjuna tree possesses wide-ranging therapeutic properties and has the potential to treat numerous medical conditions, especially those pertaining to the heart and circulation system. By tradition, people of the Indian subcontinent have used this herb for treating several ailments. This tree is considered to be an excellent hypolipidemic, anticoagulant, hypocholsteremic, antihypertensive, antiviral, antithrombotic, antifungal and antibacterial mean. While the bark of the tree is of utmost important from the therapeutic point of view, researchers have examined other parts of arjuna to ascertain if the herb possesses phytoconstituents as well as pharmacological actions. Thus far, scientists have been able to isolate several valuable phytoconstituents from the tree. The therapeutic properties of the tree regarding cardiovascular health are basically attributed to triterpenoids enclosed by the arjuna tree. Similarly, flavonoids and tannins naturally present in the herb possess anticancer properties. In this article we shall primarily discuss about the traditional use, pharmacological actions of the extracts obtained from the herb and the phytoconstituents of Terminalia arjuna during the last nine decades.

Precisely speaking, the Terminalia arjuna is a herb belonging to the Terminalia genus and is extensively used by Ayurveda medicinal practitioners. Ayurveda physicians utilize the remedial properties of the herb in the intrinsic or functional heart problems, such as angina (chest pains owing to the absence of blood to the heart), deposits in arteries and hypertension or high blood pressure. The Ayurveda texts also assert that medications prepared with the herb are also effective in treating any kind of pain owing to a fall, ecchymosis (bleeding from broken vessels into the adjoining tissues), spermatorrhoea (ejaculation with no pleasure of orgasm) as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like gonorrhoea (a genital disease caused by a gonococcus bacterium). As discussed above, the bark of this herb also possesses numerous therapeutic properties and is considered to be especially effective in treating cardiovascular ailments. A study conducted on this subject has confirmed this remedial property of the Terminalia arjuna bark. The study also found that ingestion of the dried and powdered bark of the tree has proved to be effective in improving the conditions of patients enduring coronary heart ailments.

Several studies have hinted that using the herb is highly effective in providing relief from the excruciating pain due to angina pectoris as well as for the treatment of heart failure and coronary artery ailment. In addition, medications prepared with different parts of the herb are also beneficial for treating conditions like hypercholesterolemia (excessively high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream). The herb’s utility in protecting the cardiovascular system as well as promoting its functioning is attributed to the antioxidant features of a number of its constituents – oligomeric proanthocyanidins and flavonoids. At the same time, it is believed that the helpful inotropic (having an influence on the force of muscular contraction) consequences are likely to be a result of the saponin glycosides enclosed by the herb. Apart from being an effective medication for different cardiovascular conditions, Terminalia arjuna may also be used as a protective agent against gastric ulcers, for instance ulcers caused by the use of NSAIDs or pain killers.

The leaves of arjuna tree are also useful as the Antheraea paphia moths feed on them. This species of moths produces tassar silk (Tussah), a raw form of silk that has great commercial value as a fabric.

Plant Part Used:

Bark.

arjuna herbAyurveda Use:

In Ayurveda medicine, Terminalia arjuna is one of the most widely prescribed herbs for treating cardiovascular problems. It has been found that the bark of arjuna tree encloses valuable substances, including tannins, calcium salts, magnesium salts and glucosides. The bark of the tree is considered to be an energizer, a tonic and an astringent and is extensively used to heal hemorrhages, dysentery, diarrhea, edema, and skin disorders as well as bone fractures. Apart from the above mentioned remedial properties of the arjuna bark, studies have found it to possess antimutagenic and antibacterial properties.

The medical condition specific benefits of using herbal medications are discussed in brief below.

Angina, Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Attack: The basic advantage of using Terminalia arjuna is enhancement of the functioning of the cardiac muscles as well as augmented pumping actions of the heart. It is generally thought that saponin glycosides contained in the herb are responsible for the positive impacts caused by administering medications prepared with arjuna in treatment of several conditions, especially those related to the cardiovascular system. Arjuna encloses oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) and flavonoids, which facilitate reinforcement of the blood vessels and simultaneously possess antioxidant actions. In fact, the herb is extensively used in the treatment of heart failure and edema (extreme build-up of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity), especially in the ankles and legs as the heart is unable to circulate adequate amount of blood to these body parts.

During a study conducted over three months on angina patients taking arjuna, Indian medical practitioners pursued several health indicators, such as high density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) cholesterol, blood pressure as well as the rate of angina attacks endured by the subjects. In general, these physicians found that the patients experienced around 50 per cent decrease in the rate of angina attacks having lesser systolic blood pressure and somewhat enhanced levels of HDL cholesterol. It was also found that during the initial three months of treatment with arjuna, the herb provided comparatively lesser relief from the condition when angina was unstable in the patients. Nevertheless, a double-blind research conducted with arjuna on angina patients for the duration of more that 24 months resulted in decreased symptoms, enhanced movements by the patients, who asserted that they experienced an improvement in their quality of life. It has been confirmed that the habitual use of Terminalia arjuna for a minimum period of one year will fortify as well as maintain the heart in its best health.

Gonorrhea: Studies undertaken by scientists at the Arizona State University have ascertained that a bio-available compound present in Terminalia arjuna – luteolin, is effective in combating Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium responsible for developing this sexually transmitted disease (STD). The influence of luteolin may also aid in explicating the effectiveness of the herb in the treatment of heart ailments, as an associated microorganism known as Chlamydia is likely to be associated in the development of atherosclerosis (a widespread ailment of the arteries wherein raised areas of deterioration and cholesterol deposits plaques form on the internal surfaces of the arteries hindering blood circulation).

In fact, Terminalia arjuna functions as a biological maintenance agent for the heart. The herb endorses the usual functioning of the heart, provides energy to the heart muscles, sustains the functioning of platelet as well as maintains the normal blood pressure level. That the herb possesses properties that can regulate cholesterol levels in the blood stream is evident from the fact that arjuna has the aptitude to encourage the lipid absorption by the blood. Overall, the herb is effective in sustaining the health of the heart and thereby, diminishes the consequences of anxiety and uneasiness on the heart.

Herbal medicine practitioners in ancient India utilized the dried and pulverized bark of arjuna tree to provide relief from the excruciating chest pain caused by ‘hristshool’ or angina as well as other cardiovascular problems. The bark of Terminalia arjuna encloses vast amounts of flavonoids, glycosides, tannins and other valuable minerals. It has been established that flavonoids are responsible for anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and lipid lessening effects. Similarly, glycosides present in the arjuna bark serve as a tonic or stimulant for the heart. Hence, these therapeutic properties possessed by Terminalia arjuna makes it an exceptional medicinal plant among all the herbs used by physicians currently. This review of the remedial properties of Terminalia arjuna endeavors to deliberate on different characteristics of the herb’s pharmacognostical, ethnomedical, pharmacological, phytochemical and clinical significance or consequences vis-à-vis the different cardiovascular conditions.

Several investigation researches undertaken with Terminalia arjuna have shown that the bark of the tree wielded noteworthy inotropic and hypotensive influence enhancing the flow of blood in the coronary artery and simultaneously protecting the heart muscles or the myocardium against ischemic discharges or secretions caused by poor blood supply to the heart muscles. In addition, the arjuna bark has also been found to possess moderate diuretic, prostaglandin E2 augmenting, antithrombotic (protecting against thrombosis) and hypolipidaemic (disorders caused owing to poor levels of lipids in blood stream) actions. In fact, researchers have several clinical verification’s of the fact that the bark of arjuna alone possesses valuable remedial properties that are effective for treating coronary artery disease.

In addition, this herb may also be used effectively in combination with statins to cure coronary heart problems. Many scientists are of the view that taking into account the herb’s anti-ischemic actions and its capability to improve dyslipidemia (a medical condition distinguished by abnormal concentrations of lipids or lipoproteins in the blood), decrease left ventricular mass and augment left ventricular ejection fraction, there is a need to undertake further in-depth investigative studies regarding the actions of arjuna when taken in combination with statins. Substantiating their view, these scientists assert that this is essential to ascertain the precise role of arjuna in the general administration as well as prevention of coronary artery disease.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions:

Arjuna is available commercially in the form of capsules. In fact, Ayurveda medications containing Terminalia arjuna are prepared by combining approximately more than 30 herbs that are also known to be effective for the health of the cardiovascular system. It is important to note that arjuna has a very potent effect on the muscles of the heart and, hence, it should be taken to treat angina or congestive heart failure only after checking with a qualified medical practitioner.