Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis): Properties, Uses And Contraindications

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, useful in gastritis, sinusitis, hemorrhoids, ulcers and joint pain. Here’s how to use it, the recommended doses and its contraindications. The goldenseal plant ( Hydrastis Canadensis ), with its typical yellow rhizome and whitish flowers, has always been known in America and used to treat various ailments. The intake and external application of hydrate-based products help fight different inflammatory processes, starting from the common sinusitis and joint pain up to cases of bronchitis.

The plant has also been used (and continues to be known for this characteristic) to soothe stomach pains, gastritis and diarrhea. Finally, it has an effective vasoconstrictive action which makes it ideal for treating enlarged veins, especially hemorrhoids. Hydrastis Canadensis is a plant, where it is cultivated for its roots. The latter is the essential part in which the active ingredients are concentrated and used to produce the preparations that we find on the market today. The vital components are made up of alkaloids. The berberine compounds stand out, which are responsible for the main healing properties of the plant, together with canadine and hydrastine.

Goldenseal: Properties And Benefits

Although this herb is perhaps little known and exploited like other plants, its properties deserve our attention. We can resort to its internal consumption or topical applications to counteract the minor daily annoyances that hinder our activities. Let’s discover some of the essential properties of goldenseal.

Antiseptic And Antibiotic

The rhizomes of the hydrate contain alkaloid compounds with strong antibiotic and antiseptic properties that promote healing from some types of disorders that affect the urinary tract, such as cystitis. On the other hand, its antiseptic efficacy allows you to keep many pathogenic germs at bay that can cause infections and diseases, including intestinal ones.

Calm Gastric Disturbances

Another feature is the herb’s ability to relieve a stomach that has lost its “balance”. It soothes the pain typical of gastritis and reduces the joint stomach pain that affects us in case of indigestion. The plant was also used for its modest anti-diarrheal action in the past.

Anti-Inflammatory Efficacy

The hydrate has an overall anti-inflammatory value that is well expressed in treating the inflammatory conditions of the airways. It can also heal small mouth ulcers, disinfect the oral cavity, and soothe sore throats. Also suitable for reducing joint pain and swelling.

Improve Fever And Flu

Thanks to its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, the plant is successfully used as a mild antipyretic to clear the upper (nose, mouth) and lower airways (bronchi, lungs, etc.). Therefore, it is recommended for sinusitis, seasonal allergy, cold, and bronchitis.


Another property of goldenseal is to favor the elimination of toxins and waste from our body; this is due both to the moderate laxative action of the roots and also to the stimulation of hepatic activity, which can purify the blood and prevent harmful substances from affecting the organs and cells of the body. Further actions exerted by the grassroots are:

  • Improvement of conjunctivitis
  • Stimulation of appetite
  • Skin protection
  • Immunostimulant

Goldenseal: How It Is Assumed

Different formats on the market can be purchased in the most well-stocked para pharmacies and bio shops. Among these, we remember the 400-500 mg tablets in the first place. Establishing a maximum daily dose is not easy since the quantity of dry extract contained can vary. For this reason, we must always respect the instructions on the relative packaging. However, the recommended dose does not exceed 3-4 grams per day.

Another type of product is the tincture, which must be taken in a dose of about 40 drops and a little water several times a day. Finally, although less available, it is also possible to buy hydrated herbal tea. As for the external use, some ointments and creams combine the active principle of berberine with other essential elements typical of healing herbs that work in synergy. Also, in this case, it is advisable to respect the instructions on the package.

Goldenseal: Contraindications And Warnings

Goldenseal is not free from some side effects, which can also be severe. First of all, it should be noted that, unlike other plants or herbal supplements, Hydrastis Canadensis should not be taken for long periods. A treatment with preparations based on this plant should generally not last beyond 3 weeks. This is because the alkaloids in it can give rise to episodes of stomach ache, vomiting, and diarrhea to negatively affect the nervous system, even causing epileptic seizures and convulsions.

Given these premises, it is essential that before starting to take the herb (in any form), you ask for the opinion of your doctor, a homeopath or any other specialized expert. Furthermore, given its vasoconstrictive efficacy, goldenseal causes an increase in blood pressure and is therefore not recommended for those with hypertension. It can interact with some drugs, particularly anticoagulants, canceling their effect and reducing the absorption of B vitamins if taken for long periods. Finally, it is not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Cult Fits
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