Hydrastis canadensis L. Family: Ranunculaceae
golden seal, yellow root
Goldenseal is a perennial herb. It’s native to eastern North America. The roots and
rhizome are the parts that are used.
Goldenseal contains the alkaloids hydrastine and berberine. These have weak antiseptic
effects. They may help fight bacteria-induced diarrhea. You shouldn’t take goldenseal
during pregnancy. This is because it may cause uterine contractions.
In the past, goldenseal was used by Native Americans to treat sore eyes, mouth ulcers,
tuberculosis, and edema. Now, there’s evidence that berberine works against resistant
strains of tuberculosis. But berberine isn’t used as a primary or add-on treatment
for tuberculosis. Berberine may also work well to control blood sugar in people with
Goldenseal has also been used as in eye drops. It’s used on tired, burning, red, and
Medically valid uses
There are no proven uses for goldenseal.
There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.
Goldenseal tea has been used as eyewash. The eyewash may soothe itchiness caused by
Berberine is used in an eye drop to reduce eye irritation. Goldenseal has also been
used as an astringent. This contracts the tissues of the body. It’s also been used
as an anti-catarrhal. This helps the body remove extra mucous and catarrhal buildup.
Goldenseal may also be used as the following:
Treatment for the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections
Bring on uterine contractions
A bitter to stimulate organ systems to work better
A tonic for the whole body
Strengthen the immune system
Control menstrual periods. Specifically, it may decrease bleeding.
Stimulate bile production and secretion
Stimulate the central nervous system
Aid in digestion
Topical goldenseal may also be used as a mouthwash. It’s used to treat sore gums and
mouth. It is also used topically for these conditions:
Goldenseal comes as capsules, alcohol-free extract, tincture, and bitter tea. Follow
the instructions on the package for the correct dose.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Women who are pregnant shouldn’t use goldenseal. It can bring on contractions. Also,
goldenseal can cause harmful levels of jaundice in newborns.
Goldenseal may also change the way your body processes medicines.