What Is Goldenseal? All the Health Benefits

What Is Goldenseal? All the Health Benefits

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also known as orangeroot or yellow puccoon, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to the Eastern United States and Canada. It is best identified by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock, which has been used in traditional forms of medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.


Loss of habitat and overharvesting have threatened this plant, and have even placed it on the list of endangered plant species. Goldenseal is now grown commercially in the United States, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some herbalists and wild foragers also take into consideration this plant’s endangered status and only practice sustainable wild harvesting methods that allow it to regrow and even propagate.


What Is Goldenseal Used For?


Historically, goldenseal was used as a very important medicine by Native Americans. They used goldenseal for various conditions including skin disorders, ulcers, fevers, respiratory ailments and much more. European settlers saw the extensive use of goldenseal by the native tribes and also adopted it as a medicinal plant.


Today, goldenseal is often used as an herbal remedy for colds and other respiratory tract infections, ulcers, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and digestive ailments such as diarrhea and constipation. It is also used as an eyewash for eye inflammation, a mouthwash for sore gums, and applied to the skin for rashes and other skin problems.


What are the Health Benefits of Goldenseal?


There are many goldenseal root benefits. There is a reason why goldenseal was used so extensively by Native Americans, and why so many people have been drawn to this plant, and have even foraged it to the point of over harvesting. It is incredibly medicinal, and offers many health benefits. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and an incredible herb for treating infections of various kinds. Some of the primary health benefits of goldenseal include:


Goldenseal is Used for Colds and Respiratory Infections


Goldenseal is commonly used as a natural remedy for the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections. One of the primary active components in goldenseal is berberine. Several studies on animals and cells have shown that berberine may help to treat bacterial and viral infections—including the virus responsible for the common cold.


Goldenseal is Used for Urinary Tract Infections


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common type of yeast infection that many people suffer from. Goldenseal has commonly been used as an herbal home remedy for treating urinary tract infections and other yeast infections, including the common yeast infection Candidiasis.


One study involving people suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections, participants were provided with a mix of herbal extracts containing berberine. It was shown that those given the herbs containing berberine were less likely to experience another UTI than those given no berberine.


Goldenseal is Used for Killing Candida


Cell studies have shown that berberine, one of the primary active compounds in goldenseal, may protect the body against various viruses, bacteria and fungi—including the single-cell fungi species Candida, known to be a common cause of fungal infection.


Candida are a type of yeast (single-celled fungi) that commonly live on and inside the body. Normally, they make up part of the body’s microflora and cause no issues. Due to certain dietary and lifestyle factors, however, Candida populations may grow out of control and lead to a fungal infection known as Candidiasis.


Candidiasis can show little to no symptoms in mild cases, but in extreme cases, the Candida yeast can spread to the bloodstream and can cause serious and potentially even fatal health issues.


Goldenseal may play a crucial role in killing the Candida fungus and returning Candida populations to normal levels, especially when paired with an anti-candida diet. Candida use sugar as a primary fuel source, and so anti-Candida diets involve reducing sugar intake significantly to starve the Candida, and then supplementing with anti-fungal herbs that kill the weakened Candida yeast.


Studies suggest that berberine, one of the main active compounds in goldenseal, has a particularly unique ability for killing Candida albicans, the most common Candida strain to cause infection.


Goldenseal is Used in Many Herbal Formulas


Goldenseal also works well when combined with certain other herbs. One common combination used as an herbal medicine is goldenseal and echinacea. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), also commonly called purple coneflower, is a flowering plant in the sunflower family that is native to eastern North America. It also grows in much of the eastern, southeastern and midwestern United States as well as in the Canadian Province of Ontario. The roots of echinacea are commonly used in herbal medicine as an immune-boosting and adaptogenic supplement.


Goldenseal is often combined with echinacea in herbal cold and flu remedies. Not only do both goldenseal and echinacea reveal antiviral and antibacterial properties, they also have both been used for treating respiratory infections like the common cold. Together, they form a great remedy for numerous infections, as echinacea significantly supports immune system health, and goldenseal is a powerful antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial agent, as well as a great digestive aid due to its berberine content.


Goldenseal Is Used for Digestive Issues


Goldenseal is naturally high in berberine, a chemical compound that has been studied to have many health benefits, including benefits to gut health. This is largely in part due to berberine’s antifungal and antibacterial properties that help to kill harmful microorganisms in the gut.


Berberine has been extensively researched and has been shown to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as other stomach issues like bloating, stomach aches, and gut inflammation. Studies on animals have shown that berberine helped to improve not only IBS symptoms, but other stomach conditions like gut inflammation as well.


Goldenseal is Used for Skin Conditions


The amazing berberine compound has been shown to benefit more than just digestive health. It can also offer numerous health benefits to the skin. Some  studies have shown that berberine helped to fight the bacterium responsible for acne. Additional research shows that berberine contains anti-inflammatory effects that may help treat inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.


Goldenseal is Used for Detoxification


Goldenseal is also commonly used for supporting the natural detoxification of toxins and other harmful substances from the body. The body has an incredible ability to detoxify itself, and includes certain organs dedicated to this purpose—namely the liver and kidneys, as well as the lymphatic system. The liver converts toxic compounds into harmless substances and makes sure they’re eliminated from your body through urine and sweat, a function supported by the kidneys. Certain compounds like berberine may strengthen the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself and improve the functioning of these detox pathways.


Goldenseal is Used to Improve Oral Health


Goldenseal’s notorious antibacterial properties have also shown promise in preventing and treating certain tooth and gum infections. Gingivitis, a mild but common gum disease caused by bacteria in the mouth has been shown in one study to be reduced by a mouthrinse contaiing goldenseal. Another study suggests that using a goldenseal toothpaste or mouthwash may help to soothe inflamed gums.


Goldenseal is Sometimes Used to Induce Labor


Interestingly, goldenseal may also help to induce labor by stimulating the uterus to contract, as shown in several animal studies. However, goldenseal and other berberine-containing plants may not be safe to use during pregnancy. While evidence is lacking, some believe that berberine may cause or worsen jaundice in newborns, and in some cases, may even cause brain damage. Additionally, berberine administration in rats was shown to lower weight in both mothers and babies. Due to this women are advised to avoid goldenseal and other berberine-containing plants during pregnancy.




What are the Active Compounds in Goldenseal?


The benefits of medicinal plants like goldenseal lies largely in the unique bioactive compounds that these plants contain. These compounds display different effects on the human body and can provide unique medicinal value.


Goldenseal is a plant that contains impressively medicinal chemical constituents. Its primary bioactive compounds include isoquinoline alkaloids, such as berberine, canadine, and hydrastine. Goldenseal has been reported to contain these alkaloids in the ranges of 1.5-4% hydrastine, 0.5-6% berberine, and 2-3% berberastine.


Berberine already mentioned extensively in this article, is a chemical compound found in many plants. It is defined as a “quaternary ammonium salt from the protoberberine group of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.” It has been researched extensively for its numerous health benefits, primarily for its actions on the digestive system and for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral effects.


Canadine is also known as-tetrahydroberberine and xanthopuccine, is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid is present in many plants from the family Papaveraceae, such as Corydalis yanhusuo and Cordyalis turtschaninovii, as well as in goldenseal.


Hydrastine is an isoquinoline alkaloid which was discovered in 1851 by Alfred P. Durand. Hydrolysis of hydrastine yields hydrastinine, which was patented by Bayer as a haemostatic drug during the 1910s. It is present in Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) and other plants of the family Ranunculaceae.


Is Goldenseal Safe?

Goldenseal root has been used medicinally for centuries, and modern research also verifies that it is a safe and effective herbal medicine for most people. However, due to its berberine content, with strong antimicrobial activities, it is not recommended to consume goldenseal root long term, as over time it may disturb the gut microbiome’s delicate balance of gut bacteria.


It is more intended for use in treating ailments like stomach conditions and fungal infections, but not as a daily medicine for preventative use. Furthermore, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are recommended to avoid using goldenseal root due to lack of safety information for these groups.


Side effects of goldenseal root are rare but may include nausea and vomiting. Additionally, due to its high cost, some products claiming to contain goldenseal may not contain any amount of this plant or very little of it. When using a product with goldenseal, be sure to purchase from a trusted source.


Goldenseal Bioavailability


Bioavailability is a measure of how much a substance is able to access the circulation after digestion, and it depends on absorption (how much we get it) and secretion (how much we get out). In other words, just because we consume something, it doesn’t mean we are actually getting anything from what we consumed or receiving the benefits from it. It all depends on how well we digest and absorb the nutrients in what we consume. The more bioavailable something is, the better able we are to absorb the nutrients from it.


Research shows that the berberine compound, the primary active compound in Goldenseal, has a very low rate of absorption. One study showed that the typical oral bioavailability of berberine is below 1%. The study noted that “some factors such as first-pass effect in the intestine, interaction with P-glycoprotein (P-gp) pumps and high extraction and distribution in the liver are involved to its poor oral bioavailability.”


This poses an issue with using berberine for medicinal use. It has incredible properties and has been shown to exhibit numerous health benefits, but its bioavailability is quite low. Due to this, it is important that when consuming goldenseal root, that one find a product that has an effective extraction method that optimizes its bioavailability.


Our Candida Cleanse tonic, for example, features goldenseal as one of its primary ingredients due to its antifungal properties, and we use a therapeutic dose extraction method, extracting our herbs in organic cane alcohol. Through our formulation process, we significantly increase the rate of absorption, as well as the effectiveness of the dosage of goldenseal root along with the beneficial effects of the berberine compound.


Moreover, our Goldenseal root is sustainably wild harvested, and all of the herbs that we use in our products are of the highest quality we can source, being either wild harvested or grown organically and biodynamically on our own farms. When it comes to herbal products, you want to be sure that you are getting the highest quality herbs you can find and that they are extracted and formulated properly. Truly, quality and formulation make all the difference when it comes to the effectiveness and potency of an herbal supplement.




Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also known as orangeroot or yellow puccoon, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to the Eastern United States and Canada. It is best identified by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock, which has been used in traditional forms of medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.


Goldenseal is incredibly medicinal, and offers many health benefits including helping to treat the common cold and other respiratory infections, killing Candida yeast, helping to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), assisting with digestive issues, aiding in the treatment of skin conditions, assisting in detoxification, managing diabetes, lowering cholesterol, helping induce labor, and much more.


Loss of habitat and overharvesting have threatened this plant, and have even placed it on the list of endangered plant species. Goldenseal is now grown commercially in the United States, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some herbalists and wild foragers also take into consideration this plant’s endangered status and only practice sustainable wild harvesting methods that allow it to regrow and even propagate.


The medicinal benefits of goldenseal are largely due to its bioactive compounds, the most notable of which is berberine. Goldenseal is considered to be a safe and effective herb for most people, though it is not recommended for long term use or for pregnant or breastfeeding women.














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