The goldenseal plant is a popular remedy in the United States and Canada, starting to be used in the rest of the American continent and Europe due to its fascinating properties.
Goldenseal Plant Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name: Hydrastis canadensis L.
- Other Names: Eye balm, eye root, ground raspberry, Indian plant, jaundice root, orangeroot, turmeric root, yellowroot, yellow puccoon.
- French: Hydrastis.
- Spanish: Hidrastis.
- Environment: Mountainous and wet forests of North America. It is not found in Europe.
- Description: Plant of the Ranunculaceae family, growing from 30 to 40 cm high. Its stems grow an underground root (rhizome)—large, palm-shaped, dark-green leaves. A small flower grows at the tip of its stem.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The rhizome.
The plant’s rhizome contains various alkaloids (hydrastine and berberine, among others), essential oil, resins, sugars, vitamins A, B, and C, and mineral salts, especially phosphorous. These substances give the plant antiseptic, astringent, hemostatic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is successfully employed in the following cases:
- Nasal, pharyngeal, and bronchial catarrhs. The goldenseal plant acts effectively by regenerating the cells of the mucous membranes, thus diminishing the production of mucus and the congestion and inflammation that accompanies catarrhs. It is applied both internally and externally.
- Excessive menstruation and metrorrhagia (uterus hemorrhages) are constricting effects on the uterus. In these cases, its use must always be under medical control.
- Vaginitis and leukorrhea are applied in irrigations and cleansing.
- Pyorrhea and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
- Conjunctivitis (eye irritations) in eye baths.
The goldenseal plant is a potent germ killer. It is suitable for nearly all diseases like echinacea. Combined with any herb, it enhances the effects of the tonic on the specific organs being treated. Combine it with eyebright for the eyes, kola for the brain, cascara sagrada for the lower bowel, and squaw vine for the female genito-urinary system. Incorporate it in douches for vaginal infections, reducing hemorrhoids, and salves for the skin.
Goldenseal primarily acts on the mucous membranes and is beneficial in catarrhal conditions, especially those in the intestines. It can stop sore throat, cold, and flu if used at the first sign of trouble. This all-around herb is also helpful for ulcers, ovarian and mammary tumors, measles, lymph congestion, liver problems, leukorrhea, inflammations, infections, indigestion, herpes, hemorrhoids, heart weakness, stomach ailments, hay fever, eczema, diabetes, colds, chicken pox, canker sores, bronchitis, bladder diseases, bad breath, asthma, allergies, and alcoholism.
The plant becomes a bowel tonic when combined with cascara sagrada. It can even reduce swollen hemorrhoids as a retention enema. It is also suitable for disorders affecting the vagina, stomach, prostate, and bladder. Small doses of goldenseal can relieve nausea caused by morning sickness during pregnancy. Treat stomach ulcers by combining goldenseal with myrrh. Combine two parts goldenseal and one part wild alum to treat hemorrhoids and prostate issues.
It can also give a boost to the immune system and enhance the effectiveness of insulin. The herb can lower blood pressure, decrease uterine bleeding, regulate menses, and stimulates the central nervous system. Externally, it can be used for wounds, tonsilitis, skin inflammation, ringworm, mouth sores, leukorrhea, herpes sores, eye inflammations, burns, and canker sores.
Gum infections or bleeding gums can be treated using goldenseal with a toothbrush or as an antiseptic mouthwash. Use it as a gargle for throat problems and tonsilitis. The herb can be used on itchy skin conditions, ringworm, eczema, inflammations, and open sores. It is a primary remedy for all sorts of mucous membrane problems.
The powder is excellent for a stuffed-up nose and nasal catarrh or congestion. Treat ringworm by washing the area with the tea, then sprinkling the powdered root. Prepare a soothing eyewash by combining it with boric acid (one teaspoon powdered root and one teaspoon boric acid to one pint of boiling-hot water); stir; let cool; and pour off the liquid. Add one teaspoon of the liquid to ½ cup water for the eyewash.
WARNING: The goldenseal plant is a potent alkaloid, so it should not be abused or overused. Two or three #00 capsules per day are adequate and safe for most ailments. Commonly, it would help if you did not use it for more than a week at a time, then switch to using echinacea or another comparable antibiotic herb such as pau d’ arco, myrrh, or chaparral.
Overuse limits the absorption of vitamin B by destroying certain beneficial intestinal bacteria. Use no more than two to three #00 capsules daily for prolonged use. Avoid using large doses if you suffer from hypoglycemia. People with insomnia or high blood pressure should use it sparingly. Consuming the fresh plant can produce inflammation of mucous tissue and ulcerations.
Large doses of goldenseal can contract the uterus. Therefore, it should be avoided by women who have a propensity to miscarry unless it’s for morning sickness; it is used in the following formula: Less than ¼ teaspoon of goldenseal, plus ¼ teaspoon cloves; the powders taken in gelatin capsules should not go over two capsules daily and taken with spearmint tea.
How to use Goldenseal
Infusion (powdered root): Steep powder until cold. Take one to two teaspoons three to four times daily. Decoction: Simmer for fifteen to thirty minutes, then take one to two teaspoons three to four times daily. Tincture: Take twenty to ninety drops (1/3 to 1-1/2 teaspoons) three times daily. Powder: Take two to five #0 capsules (10 to 30 grains) three times daily or two to three #00 capsules (five is an average dose) per day.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 207. Print. [goldenseal plant]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 161.