GENERAL NAME: Goldenseal
LATIN NAME: Hydrastis Canadensis
ORIGIN: Hydrastis grows in shady wet forests of Canada and eastern part of North America. The plant occurs from Ontario to Georgia. The western border lies in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi. 
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Hydrostis Canadensis is the only member of the genus Hydrastis. The genus belongs to the Ranunculaceae family, which also includes about sixty genera.
Hydrastis is a perennial herb with a powerful, fleshy brown-yellow rhizome and thin horizontal roots up to 6 cm long. An upright, hairy cylindrical stem usually reaches a height of 15-30 cm. Generally, there are two leaves: one is located closer to the base of the stem, the other is at its top. The edge of the leaves is notched, lamina is wide. There are single flowers of white and pink color at the very top of the stem. Hydrastis does not have corolla. The number of stamens reaches 40, sometimes 70 pieces. Hydrastis Canadensis begins to bloom in May, and in July you can see the appearance of fleshy fruits, vaguely reminiscent of raspberries. The seeds are oval, have a dense skin with a pronounced blossom scar.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: Hydrastis contains isoquinoline alkaloids: canadine, berberine (which causes the yellow color of the root) and hydrastin. It also contains minerals: aluminum, copper, calcium, cobalt, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, silicon. In addition, vitamins A, B, C, E, essential oils and amarines are found in the plant. Hydrastis contains 11% of proteins, 2% of fats, 80% of carbohydrates, 12% of dietary fiber.
Berberine and hydrastin are poorly soluble in water, but freely soluble in alcohol, and therefore alcoholic tincture is more common in the recommendations for use.
Actions on the body: Goldenseal is believed to produce antibacterial, oxytocic, antiatherogenic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, diuretic, stomachic, alterative, adaptogenic, cardio tonic effects on our body. 

  • In homeopathy, Goldenseal is used as a powerful tonic. It contributes to increased secretion of gastric acid and bile, stimulates appetite, improves digestion. Hydrastis improves the condition of the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, and also has a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect. The plant has a beneficial effect on the intestines. A lot of people use it for diarrhea, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, constipation, intestinal gas and hemorrhoids.
  • It has a positive effect on the body's immune system. Hydrastis also has a beneficial effect on the condition of the upper respiratory tract. It is used for sinusitis, rhinitis, bronchitis. It is also effective in otitis, keratitis and stomatitis.
  • Hydrastis has possible anticancer effect. Several studies have proven that berberine in Goldenseal causes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.
  • In addition, the alkaloids contained in Goldenseal block individual centers in the rachidian bulb and irritate the vagus nerve. As a result, there is dilation of blood vessels, occurrence of bradycardia and blood pressure decreases.
  • Hydrastis has found its use in gynecology. Homeopaths prescribe it for heavy menstrual bleeding, with severe premenstrual syndrome, with myomas, uterine bleeding and endometritis.
  • Some homeopaths claim that Goldenseal can be used to treat psoriasis, dysbiosis and even Crohn's disease. 


  • Individual intolerance;
  • Avoid consuming it during pregnancy and breast feeding;
  • Be cautious when taking Goldenseal if you suffer from Heart Disease, Diabetes or Glaucoma.


  • The name of the plant comes from the golden yellow scars that appear on the base of the stem when it is broken. These scars look like a gold wax seal. For this reason, the plant is called Goldenseal.
  • Even before the advent of Europeans in America, Hydrastis was widely used among some Native American tribes as a medicine and a source of dye, which dyed wool and skin in yellow color. The Cherokee Indians used it for indigestion, and the Iroquois used it for whooping cough and fever, as well as diseases of the liver and heart. Hydrastis Canadensis was highly valued as an antimicrobial agent.
  • For the Indians of North America, Hydrastis Canadensis was a remedy for many diseases. It was used to treat fever, tuberculosis, pneumonia, whooping cough, dyspepsia, ulcers, diseases of the eyes, liver, heart, and even considered a panacea for cancer.
  • Benjamin Smith Barton, in his first edition of Materia Medica of the United States (1798), refers to the use of Goldenseal to treat cancer. Later he mentions this plant as bitterness and a remedy for the treatment of eye diseases.
  • Dr. John Henry Pinkard, a well-known manufacturer of drugs, in the 1920s and 1930s, produced from a variety of drugs from this plant that were sent throughout the country. Many of his medications were simply a copy of local Indians ‘recipes. 
  • Hydrostis Canadensis is one of the five best-selling herbal products in the USA.

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.