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Goldenseal - Uses and Benefits

Alternative Names:

Turmeric root,Yellow root, Orange root, Eye balm, Eye root, Wild curcuma, Ground raspberry, Indian plant, Indian dye, Indian paint, Jaundice root, Yellow puccoon Orange root, Puccoon, Ground raspberry.

Herb Description

Goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a perennial plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae , deep-rooted to northeastern United States & southeastern Canada .It is a medicinal plant introduced to early settlers by Cherokee Indians who take it as a wash for skin infections, injuries, and for sore, inflamed eyes. Golden Seal includes albumin,calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E , B-complex, and the other compounds found in goldenseal are biotin , candine, chlorine, choline , chlorogenic acid, inositol , lignin,PABA , phosphorus , potassium ,some other nutrients and minerals.Its consider to be a broad-spectrum plant.

It matures in the rich soil of shady woods and moist areas at the edge of wooded lands. It is a small perennial plant, with a decumbent , irregularly knotted, bright yellow root stock, from 1/4 - 3/4 inch thick. Its roots are , thus the name. Goldenseal root has got a considerable reputation as a natural antibiotic and as a treatment for numerous gastric & genitourinary problems. The leaves have from 5-9 lobes and when full matured are from 6 - 8 inches in diameter. The greenish-white flowers in April or May is unattractive and peculiar in look and is followed by a large, fleshy, berry shape head. The sepals fall away as soon as the blossom expands, which has no petals, but numerous, prominent stamens .Traditionally, it was used by Native Americans to cure skin infections, digestive problems, liver conditions, diarrhea, and eye irritations. It is one of the most famous herbs on the market today.


  • Tonic.
  • Choleretic.
  • Alterative.
  • Astringent.
  • Haemostatic.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Anti-catarrhal.
  • Mild laxative.
  • Muscular stimulant.
  • Oxytocic.
  • Bitter.
  • Antihaemorrhagic.
  • Antimicrobial.
  • Cholagogue.
  • Stomatic.
  • Hypertensive.

Uses and Benefits

Goldenseal is used internally to treat digestive secretions, astringes the mucous membranes that line the gut & checks inflammation. Since it stimulates appetite, it is effective when a low appetite is being experienced, and acts as a mild laxative, while assisting with peptic ulcers. It also boosts digestion by enhancing the production of saliva, bile, and some other digestive enzymes.It is efficacious for use to stop diarrhea, as well as bleeding - especially after giving birth .Externally it can be used for disorders such as eczema, ear inflammation, conjunctivitis, vaginal inflammations, as well as gum infections.

It is used at the first signs of respiratory disorders, colds or flu , Golden Seal may help prevent further symptoms from developing. It may be taken to reduce fevers , and relive congestion and excess mucous. Its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent actions ease irritated mucus membranes aiding ears, nose ,eyes, and throat.

The injections of Goldenseal are used in chronic inflammation of the colon & rectum, and it has been taken in haemorrhoids with excellent results, the alkaloid Goldenseal having an astringent properties. The powder has proved helpful as a snuff for nasal catarrh. It is an efficient treatment for sickness and vomiting .

Goldenseal, as a dilute infusion, can be taken as an eyewash and as a mouthwash for gum disease, and canker sores. It is also an efficacious wash or douche for yeast infections. External applications have been used in the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis, athlete's foot, herpes, and ringworm.

Side Effects

Goldenseal and some of its components in excess doses, can cause fatal respiratory failure. Using goldenseal over a long period of time can diminish absorption of B vitamins.

Using the young plant causes ulceration and inflammation of mucous membranes. As Goldenseal excites the involuntary muscles of the uterus, it should not be used during pregnancy. It should not be used in hypertensive conditions.

Goldenseal includes potentially toxic alkaloid compounds such as hydrastine and berberine , it should be used with precaution .

Side effects are not common, but present as irritation of the mouth and throat, nausea, heighten nervousness, and digestive symptoms. The liquid types of goldenseal are yellow-orange and can stain.

Berberine has a stimulant impact on the heart, and it can potentially get involved with the anticoagulant activity of heparin .


  • Dried root:

0.5 to 1 gm. Take three times in a day.

  • Liquid Extract:

1:1 in 60% alcohol, 0.3 to 1 ml .Take three times in a day.

  • Tincture:

1:10 in 60% alcohol, 2 to 4 ml . Take three times in a day.

Drug Interactions

Goldenseal when used with prescription drugs that heighten sleepiness, the effects of the drug may be exaggerated, causing in sedation or mental impairment. Prescription drugs that can result sleepiness include anticonvulsants such as phenytoin ,carbamazepineand valproic acid ,drugs for insomnia such as sonata & ambien ,barbiturates such as phenobarbital , tricyclic antidepressants such as amoxapine, amitriptyline, doxepin, and nortriptyline .

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