An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.


Goldenseal - Hydrastus canadensis - family: Ranunculaceae (Crowfoot Family) (Buttercup Family).

This rhizome-based perennial woodland plant of eastern North America grows to a height of about one foot. It has deeply-lobed rounded dark green leaves and produces small white flowers in late spring and early summer. The flowers are followed by small reddish fruits. Traditional use of rhizomes by Native Americans as a remedy for wounds and for sore eyes. Traditional American folk use of rhizomes in a tonic and as a remedy for a poor appetite. Also used as a traditional remedy for watery eyes, cuts and wounds, mouth sores, stomach ailments and liver ailments. Traditional European folk use of roots as a bitter digestive aid. Modern European folk use of roots as a remedy for colitis, earache, enteritis, fungal infections, gallstones, hearing problems, laryngitis, nasal congestion, sinusitis, sore throats and tonsillitis. Modern American folk use of roots as a remedy for acne, allergies, bronchitis, colds, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, excessive menstruation, flu, genital herpes, hearing problems, indigestion, intestinal parasites, nausea, painful menstruation, pneumonia, shingles, stomach ulcers, sore throats, tinnitus, urinary tract infections and vomiting. Modern American folk use of roots as an external remedy for conjunctivitis, eczema, earaches, gum infections, psoriasis, toothache and vaginal infections. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias in 1830 and from 1860 to 1920. Note: do not take while pregnant or nursing. Note: do not use continuously internally for over twelve weeks at a time. Note: avoid use if you have diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure or heart problems. Note: possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea and skin irritations. Note: in very large doses, one of its active ingredients, hydrastine, is quite toxic, causing convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Roots yield yellow dyes and a black dye, depending upon what mordant is used. Native to eastern and central North America. Cultivated as a medicinal herb and as an ornamental in North America.




Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please feel free to Email the author at sayresayre@yahoo;com.

This web page was recently created by James Sayre.

Contact author James K. Sayre at Author's Email:

Copyright 2003 by Bottlebrush Press. All Rights Reserved.

Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.