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Herb Information
Name: Goldenseal
Biological Name: Hydrastis canadensis
Other Names: Goldenseal, yellow paint root, orange root, yellow puccoon, ground raspberry, eye root, yellow Indian plant, turmeric root, Ohio curcuma, eye balm, yellow eye, jaundice root
Parts Used: dried root and rhizome
Active Compounds:  

The two primary alkaloids are hydrastine and berberine, along with smaller amounts of canadine. Berberine, which ranges from 0.5-6.0% of the alkaloids present in goldenseal root and rhizome, has been the most extensively researched. It appears to have a wide spectrum of antibiotic activity against pathogens, such as Chlamydia species, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, and Entomeba histolytica.


Goldenseal was used by the American Indians as a treatment for irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. It was commonly used topically for skin and eye infections. Because of its anti-microbial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and vaginal infections. Goldenseal is often recommended in combination with echinacea for the treatment of colds and flu.

Remedies For

Laxative, tonic, alterative, detergent, opthalmicum, antiperiodic, aperient, diuretic, antiseptic, deobstruent

Useful for:

Common cold/sore throat

Crohn's disease

Recurrent ear infection

Urinary tract infection

Jethro Kloss describes this herb as "the most wonderful remedies in the entire herb kingdom. It does seem like a cure all after looking at all it can do."

Specifically used for digestive system such as stomach disorders, acute inflammations, liver troubles. It exerts a special influence on all the mucous membranes and tissues with which it comes in contact. Excels for open sores, inflammations, eczema, ringworm, erysipelas, skin diseases, nausea during pregnancy.

In combination with skullcap and red pepper it will relieve and strengthen the heart.

Excellent remedy for tonsillitis, diphtheria, and other serious throat troubles. Also for chronic catarrh of the intestines and all catarrhal conditions, as well as for improving appetite and digestion.


Goldenseal is native to eastern North America and is cultivated in Oregon and Washington. The dried root and rhizome are used.


Most people take 4-6 grams of powdered goldenseal root and rhizome supplements per day as tablets or capsules.

For liquid herbal extracts, 4-6 ml are used.

Continuous use should not exceed three weeks, with a break of at least two weeks between use. Goldenseal powder as a tea or tincture may soothe a sore throat.


Taken as recommended, goldenseal is generally safe. However, as with all alkaloid-containing plants, high amounts may lead to gastrointestinal distress and possible nervous system effects. Goldenseal is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

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