Goldenseal Benefits

Latin Name

Hydrastis canadensis

Also Known As

Eye Root, Goldenroot, Ground Raspberry, Jaundice Root, Wild Curcuma, Yellow Puccoon and Yellow Root


North America

Parts Used

Root and Rhizome

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Golden Seal is anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent. So it can help fight bacterial infections, and fungal disorders. It is known as a remedy for eczema, ringworm, pruritis, earache and conjunctivitis. It may be used as a mouthwash for gum disease and mouth ulcers, as a douche for vaginal problems, such as thrush, and as ear drops for middle-ear inflammation and congestion.

Golden seal is a tonic for the mucous membranes of the body and in this way it is used as a remedy for many digestive disorders, and for disorders of the upper respiratory tract, it is thought to stimulate the healthy flow of mucus in the body, bringing with it mucus's anti-biotic properties. However it can also reduce the flow of mucus where it is excessive. It can be inhaled for nasal inflammation. It is a great remedy for colds, and flu, taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, Goldenseal can help to prevent further symptoms from developing. It has also been used to help reduce fevers, and relive congestion and excess mucous.  



Golden Seal cleanses and promotes healthy glandular functions by increasing bile flow and digestive enzymes, therefore, regulating healthy liver and spleen functions. Its tonic and astringent actions indicate its use in uterine conditions such as haemorrhage during labour; it is also thought to stimulate the uterus and can be used to stimulate effective contractions during labour.



  In particular it is the alkaloid berberine that is most likely responsible for Goldenseal's effectiveness against bacteria, protozoa, fungi, Streptococci and it also promotes easier removal of the bacteria by inhibiting their ability to adhere to tissue surfaces. Berberine is also anti-fungal and strongly anti-diarrhoeal. It aids against the infection of mucous membranes such as the lining of the oral cavity, throat, sinus, bronchi, genito-urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract. Clinical studies have shown it is effective in the treatment of diarrhoea cause by E. coli (traveller's diarrhoea), Shigella dysenteriae (shigellosis), salmonella paratyphi (food poisoning), giardia lamblia (giardiasis), and vibrio cholerae (cholera). It is also indicated for use in the treatment of candida albicans as it limits the capacity for unhealthy bacteria to thrive in the gut, whilst improving the condition of the gut wall.


Typical Use

Golden seal can be taken as a tincture. 1-3ml x 3/day.

Folklore and History

A traditional healing herb of Native Americans, goldenseal was used by the Cherokee for indigestion, local inflammations and to improve the appetite; the Iroquois used it for whooping cough, liver disorders, fevers and heart problems. So popular was it with the European settlers that it was soon over-collected and now has to be specially cultivated. The herb was introduced into Europe in 1760. During the 19th century it was a favourite with Thomsonian and Eclectic practitioners and was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia until 1926.


5% of the root consists of isoquinoline alkaloids, hydrastine, berberine and canadine) chlorogenic acid, traces of essential oil, resin, fatty oil, starch, sugar

Golden Seal should not be used by pregnant women, or by those with hypoglycemia. If taken over the long term, it can deplete Vitamin B and possibly disrupt normal bowel flora, therefore vitamin B and lactobacillus must be supplemented.