Benefits and Uses of Goldenseal Root

Goldenseal or hydrastis canadensis is probably one of the most popular herbs in the United States used for treatment in almost any infection. Its long history can be traced to the Native American tribes of the northeast, the Cherokee, where they used its roots as general treatment for body weakness as well as an effective insect repellant.

The plant garnered the distinction of being the most popular herbal remedy among the North American settlers in the 1800s. Nearly harvested to extinction in the wild by 1910, goldenseal is still considered rare in some regions due to overharvesting.

Alternative Names

Part of the plant family Ranunculaceae, goldenseal is small with hairy stems, small flowers, and raspberry-like fruit. Its most used part, the wrinkled and twisted root, ranges from color yellow to brown. While the plant can be found mostly growing wild, it has found its way to farms and backyards. Goldenseal is also known for its other names like ox-eye daisy, herb Margaret, maudlinwort, ground raspberry, and Indian dye, among others.

Who Can Benefit from It

This medicinal plant is used for treating people with various skin infections and ailments. Some studies show that the anti-bacterial qualities of the goldenseal can kill some kinds of bacteria and fungi. Berberine, a substance present in the plant, does show antimicrobial properties in test tube studies, but scientists do not know yet if it could kills germs in humans. In the said studies, it can eliminate bacteria that cause yeast infections, as well as parasites such as Giardia and tapeworms.


Whether prepared as tea, poultice, or capsule, goldenseal offers many benefits such as the following:

  • serves as a natural antibiotic
  • boosts the immune system
  • cures upper respiratory problems like hay fever, colds, and flu
  • eases sore throat
  • functions as antiseptic to wounds and scrapes
  • treats skin and eye problems

In addition, goldenseal has been studied to treat infectious diarrhea and urinary tract infections (UTIs). According to the research conducted by Lee in 2006, berberine is also anti-diabetic agent. A 2014 study, on the other hand, concluded that the substance could also lower cholesterol. Berberine is also widely used to cure dysentery and other digestive problems in traditional Chinese medicine.

Today, goldenseal is marketed as treatment for an array of ailments from malaria and gonorrhea to dandruff and eczema. While there is no scientific basis to attest its effectiveness, many people still testify to the herb’s healing quality especially in curing different kinds of infections.

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