Goldenseal Health Benefits

Scientifically, Goldenseal goes by the name Hydrastis Canadensis. In other regions, it is called yellow puccoon or orangeroot. It grows mostly in Canada and the United States and belongs to the buttercup family.

goldenseal flower

Goldenseal is a herb that has been used for a vast array of health benefits.  From common colds to cancer, this super herb is known for its healing properties.  Know more about goldenseal and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is It

Scientifically, Goldenseal goes by the name Hydrastis Canadensis.  In other regions, it is called yellow puccoon or orangeroot.  It grows mostly in Canada and the United States and belongs to the buttercup family.  

As the name suggests, the herb can be easily distinguished by the color of its rootstock.  It looks like a thick, bright yellow knot. Protruding on top is its purplish stem. However, when you pull it all the way up, the stem is as yellow as the rhizome it connects to.  

It has been used mostly for its medicinal value.  Native Americans used to include this herb for most of their concoctions.  At present, it is a usual ingredient in tea, juices, and supplements that boast a wide array of health benefits.

What it is Used For

As mentioned earlier, Goldenseal is used for different ailments.  Here are some of them:

Digestive problems

These encompass gastritis, diarrhea, colitis, intestinal gas, hemorrhoids, constipation, stomach pain, and ulcers.

Respiratory problems

This herb can also be used to counter symptoms of the common cold, flu, hay fever, stuffy nose, and other respiratory tract infections.

Skin problems

These include dandruff, ringworm, sores, itching, wound infections, rashes, herpes, eczema, ulcers, and acne.

Other conditions that Goldenseal is said to be effective for are the following:

Conjunctivitis Chronic fatigue syndrome Sore gums
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Liver problems Deafness
Pneumonia Malaria Pain in the ears
Hemorrhage Jaundice Ringing in the ears
Cancer Whooping cough It is also used as a treatment for AIDS.
Chronic fatigue syndrome Dysmenorrhea Anorexia

What’s In It?

What can be found in goldenseal that makes it a very potent herb with far-reaching benefits?  These should answer that question:


Goldenseal is known to have berberine.  This bitter alkaloid compound can be used for a whole host of purposes.  It is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.  It is also known to support metabolism, heart health, and the immune system. It also promotes healthy weight loss and helps keep glucose levels in check.  Other conditions it is known to be a supplemental treatment to are cancer, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and liver diseases. Berberine is also known for its effectiveness against fungi, bacteria, and protozoa.  In fact, it has been proven that this alkaloid can be used as a treatment for E.coli-caused diarrhea, salmonella poisoning, cholera, giardiasis, and shigellosis.


Hydrastine is known to be an antihemorrhagic agent.  This is the reason why goldenseal is usually connected to be a supplement that is used during and after surgery.  It also hastens the healing process of wounds.


Being a calcium channel blocker, canadine is best known to help decrease blood pressure.  This is why it is sometimes considered as an antihypertensive herb.


This is yet another alkaloid that can be used in various conditions.  These include inflammation, dysentery, hypertension, jaundice, and inflammation.

How to Use It

There are different ways goldenseal preparation is done.  There are two that are the most popular: one through touch and the other one through sight.

If used topically, you can mix powdered goldenseal or crushed leaves in a cup of warm water and let it set.  After a couple of minutes, you can wash the wound using this concoction.

If used orally, you can make it into an herbal tea.  You can use its leaves and set it in a cup of hot water.  You can also use ready-made powdered tea.

The usual duration for steeping in hot water is 15 to 20 minutes before drinking or applying on the skin.

Some precautions

While side effects are fairly uncommon, it is a lot better to be prepared for any occasion.  There have been claims that people allergic to goldenseal or any of its components exhibit the following symptoms:

  1. Paralysis
  2. Irritation in mouth and throat
  3. Skin tingling
  4. Respiratory failure

Other precautions include the following:

  1. Goldenseal should not be used by pregnant or lactating women.  Substances found in this herb are not friendly to the placenta.
  2. This herb is not safe for young children including infants.  
  3. If you notice any adverse reaction after ingesting or using goldenseal topically, discontinue use immediately.  Seek medical attention if side effects have become serious.
  4. Consult your doctor if goldenseal is the right fit for you.  This is especially important if you have pre-existing medical conditions.  

Studies have shown that raw goldenseal is the usual cause of serious side effects.  In fact, they can be potentially poisonous. This is why any part of the herb, especially the leaves, should be set in boiling water up to 20 minutes before being ingested.  Even if it is for topical use, the same procedure should be followed just to be safe.

The safest route is to take goldenseal as supplements in the form of capsule or tea.  These are usually food grade and come in risk-free dosage.  

For topical use, there are also creams infused with this herb.  Before you fully commit to its use, apply to a small area (usually on the wrist area) and leave it overnight.  If there are no adverse reactions (burning or tingling sensation, redness, and so on), then the cream is safe for you to use.

Goldenseal is a wonder herb that is known for its medicinal value since time immemorial.  It can be used for the skin or can be ingested as a supplement. However, since its chemical contents can be hazardous especially when raw, it is best that you consult your doctor with regards to its preparation and if this is the right fit for you.  This way, you can fully take advantage of goldenseal without having to put yourself in harm’s way.  

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