(hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal is native to eastern North America and is now cultivated due to over-harvesting in the wild. The dried root and rhizome are used in herbal medicine. Goldenseal was used by Native Americans 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 and has been used historically as a mouthwash to help heal mouth ulcers. Because of its anti-microbial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhoea, upper respiratory tract infections, and vaginal infections. Goldenseal is often recommended by herbalists in combination with echinacea for the treatment of colds and flu. Its benefits are most likely limited to helping ease the discomfort of a sore throat associated with these conditions.

What it does

Goldenseal contains high levels of the berberis alkaloids berberine and hydrastine. These compounds have potent anti-microbial and anti-biotic actions and can destroy bacteria such as staphylococcus, streptomyces, chlamydia, corynebacterium diphtheria, escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella typhi, vibrio cholera, etc., protozoa and fungi.

It is a uterine tonic, liver stimulant and potent detoxifier.

Potential Uses

Acne Diarrhoea Cystitis
Leaky gut Candida Parasite infections
Colds and Flu Cold sores Mouth ulcers
Psoriasis Sinusitis Urinary tract infection

Other information

Goldenseal displays soothing properties to inflamed mucous membranes, which along with its anti-microbial benefits, which helps explain significant benefits and frequent use in intestinal infections.

Goldenseal has also demonstrated activity against many parasites, which along with its antibiotic properties is of great value in helping to prevent or treat ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’ and many types of food poisoning.


Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using goldenseal.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with goldenseal.

Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

High doses over a long period of time may interfere with B vitamin metabolism, thus warranting the increased intake of B vitamins if goldenseal is used regularly.

If you are taking tetracycline antibiotics, consult your doctor before taking goldenseal.


Leave a Reply