Goldenseal and echinacea are herb whose roots, flowers and stems are commonly used in herbal medicine. Both herbs have a variety of benefits, but also pose a risk for some side effects.
In herbal medicine, echinacea is used for treating the cold, preventing fungal infections and as a cure for urinary tract infections, migraines and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Possible uses for goldenseal include UTI, hemorrhoids, stomach pain, gastrointestinal ulcers and colitis.
Echinacea contains chemicals that reduce inflammation and destroy the cells that cause fungal infections. The chemical berberine found in goldenseal fights E.coli bacteria that cause infections of the digestive and urinary tracts.
Echinacea and goldenseal are safe for short-term use, but the effects of these herbs when used for an extended period of months or years are unknown, according to RxList.
Goldenseal interferes with the actions of many drugs and increases the risk for their side effects, including cyclosporine antibiotics, the heart drug Digoxin, antidepressants like Prozac, blood pressure medications like Lopressor, analgesics like Ultram, sexual dysfunction medications such as Viagra and allergy medications like Allegra. Echinacea has the potential to cause side effects like fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and insomnia.
If you have an allergy to ragweed or daisy, are pregnant or nursing, or have a medical history of multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you should not take echinacea. Patients who are pregnant or nursing or taking a drug affected by goldenseal should avoid using the supplement.