SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Hydrastis canadensis L.
Family: Ranunculaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Goldenseal, yellowroot, orangeroot, eyebalm, eyeroot, goldenroot, ground raspberry, Indian turmeric, yellow puccoon, jaundice root, sceaud'or

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is one of the most popular herbs on the market today. It was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat skin disorders, digestive problems, liver conditions, diarrhea, and eye irritations. Goldenseal became part of early colonial medical care as the European settlers learned of it from the Iroquois and other tribes.

Goldenseal root has acquired a considerable reputation as a natural antibiotic and as a remedy for various gastric and genitourinary disorders.

Numerous references to Goldenseal began to appear in medical writings as far back as 1820 as a strong tea for indigestion. Today it is used to treat symptoms of the cold and flu and as an astringent, antibacterial remedy for the mucous membranes of the body.


Goldenseal root was used medicinally by American Indians of the Cherokee, Catawba, Iroquois, and Kickapoo tribes as an insect repellent, a diuretic, a stimulant, and a wash for sore or inflamed eyes.It was used to treat arrow wounds and ulcers,as well as to produce a yellow dye. Early settlers learned of these uses from the Indians and the root found its way into most 19th century pharmacopeias. The Eclectic medical movement was particularly enthusiastic in its adoption of goldenseal for gonorrhea and urinary tract infections. The widespread harvesting of Hydrastis in the 19th century, coupled with loss of habitat, resulted in depletion of wild populations. In 1997, Hydrastis was listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which controls exports of the root to other countries. The final listing included roots or live plants but excluded finished products. As an alternative to wild harvesting, goldenseal was cultivated in the Skagit Valley of Washington state and is being promoted as a cash crop in New York ,North Carolina and Canada. Because of its high price, goldenseal, like other expensive herbs, has often been adulterated. Common adulterants include species of Coptis and Xanthorrhiza,both of which also contain large amounts, of the yellow alkaloid berberine. The popular notion that goldenseal can be used to affect the outcome of urinalysis for illicit drugs evolved from the novel Stringtown on the Pike by pharmacist John Uri Lloyd, in which goldenseal bitters are mistaken for strychnine in a simple alkaloid test by an expert witness in a murder trials Goldenseal can be variously ingested prior to testing added to the urine sample after collection. It is one of several adulterants commonly detected in urinalysis samples.

Botany :- Goldenseal is a perennial herb found in the rich woods of the Ohio River valley and other locations in the northeastern US. The single, green­white flower, which has no petals, appears in the spring on a hairy stem above a basal leaf and 2 palmate, wrinkled leaves. The flower develops into a red seeded berry. The plant grows from horizontal, bright yellow rhizomes, which have a twisted, knotty appearance.

Uses of Goldenseal

Goldenseal may be of use in topical infections and is used as an eyewash. Goldenseal has been included in cold and flu preparations for its anticatarrhal effects but little evidence supports this use and its effects are debatable.

Goldenseal is also used for infections of the mucus membranes, including the mouth, sinuses, throat, the intestines, stomach, urinary tract and vagina.

Side Effects of Goldenseal

Goldenseal is contraindicated in pregnancy and hypertension; adverse effects with normal doses are rare.


A typical dose of goldenseal is 250mg to 500mg three times per day. It can also be used topically in creams and ointments to heal skin wounds.

Goldenseal herbal tincture can be used as a mouthwash or gargle for mouth sores and sore throats. A tea made of goldenseal can also be used for this purpose, made by boiling 0.5 g to 1 g in a cup of water.


Very high doses of goldenseal may rarely induce nausea, anxiety, depression, seizures, or paralysis. Hydrastine was once used as a uterine hemostatic, but was found inferior to ergot in the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. Goldenseal is generally contraindicated for use in pregnancy. Because of hypenensive actions of the alkaloids, it is also contraindicated in cardiovascular patients.

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