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Can a pregnant or breastfeeding woman use Goldenseal?

Can a pregnant or breastfeeding woman use Goldenseal?

Goldenseal interaction with Drugs

Interaction of a substance generally refers to a potential risk that could develop inside the human body when two or more drugs, products, or medical conditions, interact with one another in a negative manner that could result in certain unwanted health conditions. 

Natural products such as goldenseal are generally considered safe when taken in food amounts but might be harmful when consumed as a medicine amount like supplements. If an individual is medicating with certain medical drugs to treat any condition, there might be a possibility of interaction between those drugs and Goldenseal. This could cause complications in the condition that is to be treated or could result in new unwanted conditions. Such interacting medical drugs include:

  • Antidiabetic Drug– Antidiabetic medicines are used to lower the blood sugar level of the body. Goldenseal might also decrease the blood sugar level of the body. Combination of both might result in abnormally low blood sugar levels than usual causing complications. It is recommended to keep a frequent check on the blood sugar level when consuming Goldenseal along with antidiabetic drugs or avoid it. Such antidiabetic drugs include glimepiride (Amaryl), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), metformin (Glucophage), rosiglitazone (Avandia), glipizide (Glucotrol), and several others.
  • Antihypertensive Drug– Antihypertensive medicines are used to lower the blood pressure level of the body. Goldenseal might also decrease the blood pressure level of the body. Combination of both might result in abnormally low blood pressure levels than usual causing complications. It is recommended to keep a frequent check on the blood pressure when consuming Goldenseal along with antihypertensive drugs or avoid it. 
  • Tacrolimus– Goldenseal consists of a natural substance that might decrease the rate of tacrolimus breakdown inside the body. This might increase the side effects associated with tacrolimus.
  • Sedative medicine– Goldenseal might cause dizziness and drowsiness. Sedative medicines are generally used for sleep and could cause slow breathing. Combination of both might result in excessive dizziness, sleepiness than usual.
  • Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Feverfew might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Cytochrome P450 2E1(CYP2E1)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Feverfew might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Cytochrome P450 2C9(CYP2C9)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Feverfew might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Cytochrome P450 3A4(CYP3A4)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Feverfew might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.
  • Cytochrome P450 2C8(CYP2C8)– Some medicines require the liver for their breakdown and change inside the body. Feverfew might reduce the breakdown action of such medicines which might result in several unwanted side effects.

There are also some minor interactions of Goldenseal with other drugs such as Oseltamivir.

Precautions and warnings before using Goldenseal

Although being a natural herb that is used for a number of medical applications, there are certain medical conditions in a human body in which intake of Goldenseal must be limited or avoided in order to prevent complications. Interference of this herb could result in worsening of certain medical conditions or might cause other unwanted conditions. Such medical conditions includes:

  • Pregnancy– Consuming Goldenseal while pregnant is generally unsafe. A chemical in this herb can cause brain damage to the unborn child. It is recommended to avoid using goldenseal during pregnancy. 
  • Breastfeeding– Consuming Goldenseal while breastfeeding is generally unsafe. A chemical in this herb can pass into the breastmilk and cause brain damage to the nursing child. It is recommended to avoid using goldenseal during breastfeeding. 
  • Bleeding disorder– Goldenseal might increase the risk of bleeding especially in individuals who are already diagnosed with such disorder. It is advisable to use a goldenseal seal with caution.
  • Children– Newborn or infants must not be given goldenseal as it can cause brain damage in them.
  • Surgery– Goldenseal increases the risk of bleeding. This might increase the bleeding during or post surgery. It is advisable to avoid using this herb and its extract at least before 2 weeks of surgery.

Side effects of using Goldenseal

Interaction of Feverfew with several medical drugs, overdose, or no precautionary actions against several medical conditions might cause certain unusual or allergic side effects and condition in a human body that includes:

  • Cardiac damage
  • Depression
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Paralysis
  • Respiratory failure
  • low blood pressure
  • easy bleeding\bruising
  • brain damage in unborn and newborn child
  • constipation
  • skin irritation
  • digestive disorders
  • excitability

There could be more side effects not mentioned in the above list. An individual must make sure to consume goldenseal with proper precaution and avoid interaction in order to prevent side effects. However if side effects are observed, it is advisable to contact a doctor or get immediate medical attention as soon as possible if necessary.

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