Goldenseal or Bayberry for nasal polyps?

LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin
edited November 2020 in General Health

I am wanting to get some goldenseal for use for my husband's nasal polyps that have returned. I read that a nasal rinse is the way to go, but nothing flows through his nose. He won't do this.

So, in this case, what might be better to attack possible infection that may be hiding in there? Tea, tincture? Leaf, root? The answer will determine what form of the dried stuff I get.

Any help is appreciated!


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin


    Not sure if this will be an answer or not. I have never used goldenseal. Partly because it doesn't grow here and partly because some of the products on the market might be adulterated due to the scarcity of goldenseal in the wild. I use Oregon Grape Root instead as it is almost as high in berberine as goldenseal and I can wildcraft it. My experience is that it is a very good anti-infectious agent. I prefer to use it as a tincture. If you were going to use it dried, it would be best decocted, as roots don't infuse as well as leaf matter. Turmeric might be something to start taking as well, to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.

    I found some references to medicated snuffs to assist with polyps, using myrrh, goldenseal, bayberry, etc. but I have no experience using snuffs. Perhaps @sarah121 has more experience with snuff treatments and could comment.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin
    edited April 2020

    @torey A snuff sounds good, if he could actually breathe in through his nose, which is extremely rare.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning My daughter had polyps in her sinuses and on her vocal cords when she was just a toddler. The ENT doctor was shocked because most two-year-olds don't even have well formed sinuses, let alone polyps. We allowed him to perform surgery on her sinuses, which I deeply regret. Adhesions from the surgery have caused her to have lifelong sinus problems.

    When the doctor wanted to perform surgery on her vocal cords, I got really worried- and pretty angry. No one mentioned that she might permanently lose her voice! (I remember reading that that's what happened to Julie Andrews.) She was an early talker and a real chatterbox, so it would have been a shame to allow that to happen.

    As I said, I got pretty angry at that point and went for a second opinion. Instead of a specialist, I took her to a old fashioned country doctor. His first thought was, "Why does she get these polyps? Are you going to let this doctor go in for a polyp harvest every year?" I'm ashamed to say that I'd never thought of why she was getting polyps! He suggested taking her off dairy. It helped a lot. After that, we went to an herbalist and she recommended that we try bayberry tincture. (I finally answer your question!) My daughter took it orally and in a very short time the problem was resolved. I can't remember exact doses because it was nearly thirty years ago, but it helped tremendously. A friend's daughter was studying opera and started to develop polyps, I believe her mom had her try it; she's still singing today.

    If a nasal rinse won't work, perhaps you could try a face dip. I find them quite helpful. Just get a bowl of very warm water and add enough salt to make it very salty. Add a dropperful of whatever extract you think will be helpful. Have your husband dip his face in the water; if he can manage to blow bubbles, so much the better.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin
    edited April 2020

    @Gail H This is great information. I have never heard of using bayberry before. We have considered diet/allergy possibilities, but I would like to try a tincture. There is a much better chance of compliance than with diet changes. I can only change things so much. Haha

    It would also rather not use something endangered, so this fits that thought.

    I can order this to grow myself. I just looked at it earlier today. One bonus is that I can use parts of the plant to make various dye colors too. So cool. I checked again. It is too cold here. 😑

    @torey @sarah121 Do you have any information about making a bayberry tincture? Part used, strength, idea of dose? PM me if you feel that's appropriate.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning @torey @Gail H what an interesting thread! I hope I can help.

    I don't tend to use myrica in the dispensary. I also haven't used goldenseal in a while as it's super expensive and it's one of the plants I don't grow (note to self to look into this!)

    First a couple of points about polyps. As with any condition, first look to the root cause. In ayurveda this is a kapha type issue (as are all types of lumps an bumps.) In a sense you can imagine it as a blockage of energy causing build up and congestion (imagine a pond where there's no movement of the water, everything becomes stagnated and blocked up.) In TCM polyps are classed as a damp condition, and so treatment protocol is similar, remove cold, drain damp. Kapha reducing herbs are helpful and should be a regular inclusion in the diet (warming spices that move and melt.) Choose herbs that have a pungency, and avoid cold damp forming foods (dairy is a classic example.) See this list for what to eat and avoid:

    You could try doing a facial steam using herbs like thyme and rosemary (essential oils are easier to use and prepare.) I've also heard of people putting cloves of raw garlic up their nostrils, but as you can imagine this comes with a whole bunch of issues not to mention the smell and mess!

    Homeopathic thuja is classic for all kinds of lumps and bumps. NOTE - Never take thuja internally unless prepared by a homeopath IT IS POISONOUS. You would need to consult a homeopath to assess the correct tritration (potency) for each individual case. Does the person have a tendency towards lumps and bumps? Are they visible elsewhere eg fibroids etc? Is this a pattern for this person? A homeopath can prepare a constitutional remedy that is even suitable for children.

    If you're not treating constitutionally and are just after symptomatic relief, you can use powdered bayberry bark to make a snuff (I've never tried this personally so this is not a recommendation!) If you did want to try a tincture (again not to be taken internally unless working under professional supervision of a qualified herbalist) but applied to a muslin cloth and inserted into the nostril so it comes into contact with the mucous membranes. It's much easier and cheaper to buy than to make, as you would first need to source the bark and then grind it into a powder before macerating which is a lot of faff and takes a couple of weeks to prepare properly if you don't have a percolator.

    I hope this is helpful, but of course, please don't take this on face value and as always, do your own research before ingesting anything you are unsure of without professional supervision. Be safe!