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Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) versus Penicillin: A Comparison of Effects on Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Sherilynn Eddy Knight
Bios
Vol. 70, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 3-10
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4608492
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) versus Penicillin: A Comparison of Effects on Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
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Abstract

Extracts of the herb goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) have been used for centuries as treatments for skin sores, eye infections, and intestinal disorders. Goldenseal contains the alkaloid berberine, which has been documented as a useful antimicrobic agent with bacteriostatic activity against a wide range of bacteria. The presence of berberine in goldenseal introduces the possibility that goldenseal possesses antibacterial properties. In this experiment, the effects of goldenseal on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were compared with the effects of penicillin on the same organisms. To determine the effectiveness of each substance, the minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined. Results indicate that goldenseal has inhibitory effects against S. aureus and S. pyogenes in high concentrations (300-4000 μg/ml), while penicillin is effective against S. aureus and S. pyogenes at lower concentrations (0.98 μg/ml). Pseudomonas aeruginosa is resistant to goldenseal, and is susceptible to penicillin only at a high concentration (8000 μg/ml). These findings support the use of goldenseal as a traditional remedy for those preferring herbal medicines over conventional treatments.

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