Goldenseal is one of the most popular herbs in the United States. It is scientifically known as Hydrastis canadensis. It belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. The other common names of this herb are Orangeroot Yellow Puccoon, Yellow Root, Indian Dye, Ground Raspberry, Jaundice Root and Eye Root. Its main habitat is northeastern United States and southeastern Canada though it was initially grown mainly in the Ohio valley which later became depleted due to deforestation. Due to its medicinal properties, Goldenseal has been traditionally used as a tonic, muscular stimulant, laxative, astringent, and anti-inflammatory agent among other uses. Goldenseal is available in tablet, salve, tincture or powder form. It is widely used as a blend with other herbal formulations to improve the efficacy of those herbs.
Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) is a perennial herb having a thick knotted rootstock. The stem has a hairy texture. It has 2 five lobed, jagged leaves. The plant bears small flowers in late spring and raspberry-like fruit in summer. The fruit isn’t edible. Goldenseal can be cultivated from seeds as well as the rhizomes and requires a rich humus soil and partial shade.
Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) has a long history of usage as a medicinal herb among the natives of northeastern United States. The Iroquois used the roots to make herbal decoctions for curing various stomach ailments, whooping cough, fever and liver problems. Cherokees used Goldenseal as a tonic for improving appetite, to treat dyspepsia, general debility, cancer and local inflammations. The initial settlers were responsible for spreading the popularity of the herb to England and America. And by 1905, the demand for Goldenseal outstripped its supply. In order to save the endangered species, trade restrictions have been imposed in 1997, on the sale and supply of Goldenseal.
Being rich in several alkaloids such as canadine, berberine and hydrastine apart from traces of fatty oil, essential oil and resin, Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) has laxative, emmenagogue, hepatic, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. As a gargle it helps in removing canker sores while it improves digestion when taken internally. Goldenseal has been traditionally used in the treatment of gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, dyspepsia, constipation and hemorrhoids. Its astringent and revitalizing properties have been effectively used for treating internal bleeding and excessive menstruation. Goldenseal is used as an external wash to heal skin infections such as sores, wounds, ringworm and eczema. It is highly effective against yeast, bacteria and fungi, such as Candida and E. Coli.
Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) shouldn’t be taken in large doses. Goldenseal may increase blood pressure and may adversely affect patients with cardiac problems. It is contraindicated for use in pregnant and lactating women as Goldenseal may increase contractions of the uterus. Hydrastis Canadensis should be avoided for treating infants and children. This herb must be consumed under the supervision of a qualified physician.