This Native American botanical played a very important part in the European settlement of the Americas. Goldenseal is an extremely bitter tasting plant which contributes to its medicinal appeal. Indigo Herbs have two Goldenseal products, Goldenseal Tincture and Goldenseal Powder, that which are some of the very best 100% pure Hydrastis canadensis products on the market.
The history of Golden Seal as an herbal ingredient starts with the European settlement of the Americas. Even though it is almost certain that certain tribes of Native American Indians used this plant for centuries, there are no records of its use before the Europeans started to incorporate the plant into their own medical concoctions. When Europeans first started settling in America they favoured medicines from Europe that were known and trusted. Of course, these medicines were scarce and in short supply necessitating the need for other herbs to be used in their place.
Being weary of the Native American herbal remedies, Goldenseal did not become a major part of early American herbalism until the middle to late 18th century. It was not until 1798 that Goldenseal appeared in American herbal literature with the most notable work being that of Benjamin Smith Barton in his notes toward the ‘Materia Medica of the United States’. From the period of 1830 to 1955 Goldenseal was an official drug plant and today it is one of the most sought and used alternative remedies within the United States.
Because of its wide use during the 18th and 19th century, Goldenseal was given the status of an endangered species. Wild plants are every rare in America and are protected by law. Most of the Goldenseal products made today come from plantations where plants are monitored and protected. Goldenseal is an herbaceous perennial that can reach a height of 30cm. It is harvested for its roots which are knotted and covered in many tiny rootlets that are golden yellow in colour. The leaves are green and hairy with serrated margins. The top of the stems bears a single white flower which eventually develops into a single red berry which resembles a raspberry.