Hydrastis canadensis


Hydrastis canadensis


Goldenseal is a member of the buttercup or Ranunculaceae family. It is native to rich, moist soils of the Ohio River Valley, West Virginia, the mountains of North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and north to New England and Upstate New York and parts of Quebec, Canada. It was harvested almost to extinction in the mid to late 1800’s in the Ohio River Valley where it was sold heavily in Cincinnati in amounts upwards of 200,000 pounds. Eclectic physicians learned about the plant from Native Americans who revered the plant for its medicinal, cultural, and practical uses. The deforestation of the North Eastern United states, along with demand and over harvesting, led to this plant's status as endangered its natural range. The Eclectics used purified forms of the crude herb known in the commercial market as Hydrastine, Neutral Hydrastine, or Muriate of Hydrastin- preparations which were actually hydrochlorates of the alkaloid berberine. These preparations did not yield the same results as the concentrated whole plant extract and were soon abandoned.

Icon / Delivery
Traditional Health Benefits of Goldenseal

Digestive Support, Immune Support, Urinary Tract Support

What is Goldenseal Used for?

The known actions of Goldenseal's constituents are vast, affecting the immune system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, nervous system and mucosal membranes in general. There have been numerous studies validating the immune potentiating effects of these chemicals.

View Important Precautions

Active Constituents of Goldenseal

The root and rhizomes are highly concentrated in isoquinoline alkaloids or protoberberines, namely Hydrastine (3.2- 4.%), Bereberine (2-4.5%), and Canadine (0.5-1%).

Parts Used


Additional Resources

1.) Brown PN, Roman MC. Determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal raw materials, extracts, and dietary supplements by high-performance liquid chromatography with UV: collaborative study. J AOAC Int. 2008;91(4):694-701. 2.) Tice R. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and two of its constituent alkaloids: berberine [2086-83-1] and Hydrastine [118-08-1]. Review of toxicological Literature. 1997;i-vi, 1-52. 3.) Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996. 4.) McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997. 5.) Tilgner, Sharol ND. Herbal Medicines from the Heart of the Earth. 2nd Edition. Wise Acres LLC. Pleasant Hill, OR. 2009. 6.) Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Simon Mills and Kerry Bone. p.286-96 Churchill Livingstone 2000.

Important Precautions

Not to be used during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs, please consult with your doctor before use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Still need help deciding?

Access our guided product selector to find the right Gaia Herbs product.