All About Goldenseal Healing Power

goldenseal - healing powder

Hydrastis Canadensis is a perennial plant of the family Ranunculaceae that is native to Canada and northeastern parts of the United States. People use different names for this plant: Ground raspberry, Puccoon, Indian paint, Eye balm, and Wild curcuma. Orange root and Yellow root are two very popular names because they describe the color of the most distinguished part of the plant: rootstock.

This plant looks very peculiar with its hairy palm-like leaves and a flower that can bear a single berry that looks like a large raspberry. The root is the most significant part of the plant; it is yellow or brown, wrinkled, and twisted and it tastes bitter. The stem is purplish and thick.

You could have found it growing wild all over the northern parts of the United States. Now usually farmers grow this plant.


History of Goldenseal

Native American tribes used this plant primarily for health purposes, as well as for the coloring of different materials. The tribes drank Goldenseal tea because they knew it could reduce all sorts of inflammation. The frequent usage of this plant was also for the skin problems and diseases, liver conditions and sore eyes.

The Clark of Luis and Clark team expedition was one of the first people to write about Goldenseal popularity and usage among Native American tribes. On the other hand, professor Benjamin Smith Barton documented that Cherokee used this plant to treat cancer. He also noticed that this plant is good for a local wash for ophthalmia.

Later, when Goldenseal was submitted to different researches, many beneficial properties were proven. In 1760, Miller introduced the plant in England. The plant changed the name to Warnera after Richard Warner of Woodford. By 1850, large amounts of Goldenseal were spread all over Europe. In 1905, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that farmers start growing Goldenseal.

This plant was very popular during the mid-nineteenth century, but today wild Goldenseal herb is listed as one of the endangered species. Moreover, Goldenseal is one of the most over harvested herbs.


Goldenseal Characteristics

All About Goldenseal Healing Power

Yellow root is a plant that is alternative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, hepatic, anti-catarrhal, astringent, and anti-diabetic. Although its usage varies, it is most famous for its anti-inflammatory characteristics.

Goldenseal contains important alkaloids such as berberine, hydrastine, canadine and berberastine. Berberine kills many types of bacteria, such as those that cause Candida, tapeworms, and diarrhea and is responsible for strengthening the immune system as well. It is used as a protection against E. coli.

Chinese traditional medicine uses Goldenseal because of the berberine properties to treat infectious diarrhea and dysentery.


Health Benefits of Goldenseal

The researches show that the roots of this plant are useful for chronic constipation, cirrhosis, gastritis, hay fever, sinus problems, chronic respiratory tract infections, stomach disorders, bronchitis, dermatitis, laryngitis, cystitis and breast swelling. Many of the researches are not yet confirmed, but those that are, suggest using Goldenseal for:

  • Immunity problems
  • Different skin infections
  • Colds and flu
  • Sinus congestion
  • Chest congestion
  • Bladder infections
  • Minor wound healing
  • Eye infections
  • Sore throats

Although many dislike the bitter taste of the Goldenseal, the bitterness stimulates and aids digestion and appetite. When used as a tonic, it can soothe an upset stomach. One study found that Goldenseal can also boost white blood cells. Due to its antiseptic properties, it is used to disinfect scrapes and cuts.


Forms of Goldenseal

All About Goldenseal

One can find Goldenseal in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, tincture, ointment and cream. The root and underground parts of the steam are dried and used to make a powder. Goldenseal is also available in supplement form, but should not be taken without medical approval.

Most of the people use cream, tincture and capsules because of the peculiar taste of the plant. For those who do not mind the bitterness, they can drink Goldenseal tea, and for others, a mixture with Echinacea plant is usually the solution.


Goldenseal Treatment for Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by the bacteria that get into the skin through a cut or other wound. Given the fact that it is a natural anti-inflammatory plant, Goldenseal is an excellent remedy for cellulitis.

Since the bacteria cause cellulitis, this plant can also be very helpful due to its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. The root is the part of the plant used for the treatment. When applied directly on the skin in the form of a paste or cream, it can help alleviate skin inflammation and infection.

Moreover, Goldenseal provides pain and itching relief. Goldenseal is, in fact, a sort of prevention for cellulitis. When the symptoms of the infection show for the first time, Goldenseal is commonly used as a remedy. The reason for this frequent usage is due to its easy preparation. Everyone can easily prepare a paste of water and powdered Goldenseal root.  The paste is usually used twice a day.


First, you must cleanse the infected area with antibacterial soap. After that, you should dry the area with a towel. Dip cotton balls, usually three, in the Goldenseal liquid, and apply to the infected area but do not rub. The parts of the body that are infected need to be covered entirely with liquid until Goldenseal paste is visible. Finally, you should place a gauze pad over the area, and put a bandage on it.

For the cellulitis treatment, Goldenseal can be taken internally as well.


Side effects

Although very beneficial, Goldenseal can show some side effects one must know before taking this herb.

Goldenseal is safe for short-term usage when taken in the recommended dosage. If not, it can cause vomiting and nausea.

It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Young children and infants should not take Goldenseal.

People with high blood pressure should avoid Goldenseal.

In general, side effects are rare, but one should always be very careful and well informed about every remedy.


Additional resources:

Ettefagh K.A., Burns J.T., Junio H.A., Kaatz G.W., Cech N.B. (2010), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) Extracts Synergistically Enhance the Antibacterial Activity of Berberine via Efflux Pump Inhibition, Planta Medica

Tierra M. (1998), The Way of Herbs, Pocket Books

Bergner, P. (1997) The Healing Powers of Echinacea, Goldenseal and Other Immune System Herbs, Prima

Image credit: &

Last article update: 01/30/2019