General Information

Common Name:


Latin Name:

Hydrostis Canadensis



Other Names:

  • Yellow root;
  • Indian turmenric;
  • Jaundice root;
  • Eye balm;
  • Ground raspberry;
  • Indian dye.

Indications & Historical Uses

  • Inflammatory conditions of digestive system and of joints;
  • Peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, flatulence, diarrhea, dyspepsia;
  • Liver and gallbladder problems;
  • Skin infections, impetigo, eczema and ringworm;
  • Sedative;
  • Anti-viral, antibacterial;
  • Eye inflammations;
  • Disturbances of endocrine functions;
  • Vaginitis, urethritis and rectal inflammations.

Goldenseal has been used to treat mucous membrane infections caused by bacteria, fungus or protozoa. These types of infections are commonly found in the mouth, respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts. Goldenseal is also used to treat inflammations of the gall-bladder, and to correct some of the metabolic effects of liver cirrhosis. Goldenseal root has been used by native Americans for a wide range of ailments, especially for localized skin and eye irritations. It is still used today as an ingredient in a number of commercial sterile eye washes.

Contraindications & Precautions

At high doses (over 2-3 grams per day) may cause bradycardia (slow heart beat), and also may stimulate the nervous system. Do not use during pregnancy as berberine stimulates the uterus and may cause abortion.

Adverse effects:
See Caution.

Drug Interactions:
See Caution.

Dosage Information

How Supplied:

250 mg tablets of extract.


250 mg once or twice a day.


The active ingredients of goldenseal include a group of alkaloids, hydrastine, berberine & tetrahydroberberine The Alkaloids, primarily hydrastine and berberine have antiseptic and astringent properties, and therefore help reduce inflammation of mucous membranes. The Alkaloids also have an effect on inflammation, help to lower blood pressure, and stimulate peristalsis. Berberine also has some antibiotic properties. A few clinical trials testing berberine’s antibiotic properties show that goldenseal can successfully treat diarrhea caused by E.Coli (traveller’s diarrhea), Shigella, salmonella , Klebsiella and cholera. It has been shown that in Vitro, berberine can inhibit many common bacteria, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Chlamydia, E. Coli, Psuedomonas and others. In Vitro, Berberine has been shown to inhibit protozoa such as Giardia and Trichomonas. In one study in pediatric patients, berberine was shown to be as effective as metronidazole in control of Giardiasis. Clinical studies have also been carried out to study the effectiveness of goldenseal in the treatment of trachoma, an eye infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis In comparison to conventional therapy, Berberine was found to be less effective in reducing acute symptoms such as conjunctivitis and edema, but as effective in eradicating the pathogen and preventing recurrences .

Enhancing Agents:

May be combined with Echinacea and/or Garlic for enhanced effect.


Goldenseal is a perennial and it grows deep in moist rich woods along the East Coast of North America, and has been used by Native American healers for a wide range of conditions. In spring, the small erect stems produce large hand-shaped flowers ,and dark orange-red berries.The parts of the plant used medicinally are the dried rhizomes [underground stems] and roots. Golden seal is now scarce in the wild , probably because of over harvesting.


It is processed with ethanol/water extraction at low temperature, with pH adjusted for maximum yield and extraction.

Scientific References

Datta, D. et al. (1971) Thin layer chromatography and UV spectrophotometry of alcoholic extracts of Hydrastis canadensis. Planta Medica 19(3):258.

Foster, S. (1991) Goldenseal. American Botanical Council, Botanical Series No. 309.

Gupta, S. (1975) Use of berberine in the treatment of giardiasis. Amer. J. dis. Childhood. 129:866.

Ikram, M. (1975) A review of the chemical and pharmacological aspects of genus berberis. Planta Medica 28:353.

Mowrey, D. (1990)Guaranteed Potency Herbs. A Compilation of writings on the subject.

Sharda, D. (1970) Berberine in the treatment of diarrhea of infancy and childhood. J.Ind. Med. Assoc. 54(1):22.

Weiner, M. (1990) Weiner’s Herbal. Mill Valley: Quantum Books.

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