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The Healing Herb: Goldenseal

By Michelle Newport Published 11/5/2006 | Alternative Medicine

Common name(s):

Golden Seal, Eye Balm, Ground Raspberry, Jaundice Root, Orange Root, Turmeric Root, Wild Curcuma, Yellow Puccoon, Yellow Root

Botanical name:

Hydrastis canadensis

Plant part used:

The rhizome and root

AHPA Class:

2b Not to be used during pregnancy


Allergies, Asthma, Bladder, Bowels, Bronchitis, Burns, Chcken Pox, Circulation, Colds, Colitis, Colon, Constipation, Coughs, Diarrhea, Earaches, Eczema, Eye Infections, Fever, Flu, Gallbladder, Gastritis, Glands, Gonorrhea, Gum Diseases, Hay Fever, Heart Trouble, Hemorrhage, Hemorrhoids, Herpes, Infections, Inflammation, Insulin, Intestines, Kidneys, Liver Disorders, Menstruation, Mouth Sores, Mucous Membranes, Nausea, Nervous Disorders, Nosebleeds, Ringworm, Rhinitis, Skin Disorders, Sore Throat, Spleen, Stomach Problems, Tonsillitis


Alterative, Amoebicidal, Antacid, Antibiotic, Antiparasitic, Antipyretic, Antisecretory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Chologogue, Detergent, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Hemostatic, Hepatic, Laxative, Nephritic, Nervine, Purgative (mild), Stimulant, Stomachic


Alkaloids, including berberine, hydrastine, canadine and canadaline. Also contains chlorogenic acid, lipids, meconin, resin, starch, sugar and a small amount of volatile oil.. Other constituents include calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and F, zinc


Native Americans used Goldenseal as a tonic for sore throats, eye infections, ulcers and wounds. It was also used as an insect repellent and a pesticide for crops. It has been used traditionally for female problems such as hormone imbalances and menstrual problems, infections, bowel disorders as well as being used as an antiseptic and to boost the immune system. Goldenseal is an amoebicidal and has been found to kill toxic bacteria, such as giardiasis, in the intestinal tract and has also been used historically to fight cold and flu viruses. Goldenseal is also considered to be a "wonder remedy" for digestive problems by many herbalists.

Daily dose:

1,500 3,000 mg.


Should not be used during pregnancy. Not recommended for using persons with digestive weakness, high blood pressure or who are emaciated. May cause malabsorption of vitamin B when used for long periods

Side effects:

May cause increased or decreased blood pressure, Not recommended for hypoglycemics as goldenseal lowers blood sugar levels.

Drug interactions:

Possible interaction with Doxycycline and Tetracycline


Botanical Safety Handbook. by McGuffin, Hobbs, Upton and Goldberg, 1997
Mastering Modern Herbal Medicine, by LaMar Wiscombe, 2001
Today's Herbal Health, by Louise Tenney, 2000
Basic Herbalism, by Horne & Robinson, 2000
The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies, by Louise Tenney, 1995