(Hydrastis canadensis)

Other Names:
Canadian Goldenseal, Yellowroot, Yellow Root, Orangeroot, Orange Root, Eye balm, Ground Raspberry, Indian paint


Ranunculaceae– Buttercup family

Growth Type:
Perennial Herbaceous

Up to a foot tall

Two palmate, coarse, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes. Leaves can be 3" - 12" in diameter, and 3" - 8" in length

The stem is reddish to purplish, and hairy. Below the ground, the stem turns yellow where it connects to the yellow rhizome

Thick yellow rhizome and rootstock

Flower Season:
Late spring

Flower Appearance:
A single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens

A single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds in the summer

Miscellaneous characteristics:

Rich, moist, densely shaded, deciduous forests

Parts Used:

Wild Food Uses:
None Known

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
Goldenseal was used by Native Americans as an eye wash, and to sooth skin irritations. It is often used as a topical antimicrobial, but it is not known how it functions. It has been used to aid digestion, and to aid in normal liver function. It is because of this last use that it is extremely effective at normalizing Th2 cells which cause histamine response to allergens. It seems to boost the effectiveness of other medications, and is often used in medicinal preparations. You can find it in many over the counter cold remedies. It has been shown to ease sore throat. When used as a gargle, it has proven effective at eliminating cold, and canker sores. It is effective at toning and soothing the mucus membranes of the body.

Goldenseal contains a compound called Berberine. This compound has been shown to kill many types of bacteria. Among these bacteria are E. coli, and those that cause diarrhea. It has also been shown to kill the fungus that causes Candida yeast infections. It can therefore be used as a douche for yeast infections. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections. there is evidence that a perineal wash after sexual activity can greatly reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections. It has been shown, in laboratory tests to aid in the production of white blood cells. Many believe this is where it's antibiotic properties are derived. It has been shown to strengthen the immune system.

Medicinal Actions:
Alterative, Antibacterial, Antibiotic, Anticatarrhal, Antifungal, Anti-Infective, Anti-Inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antiparasitic, Antiseptic, Bitter, Cholagogue, Demulcent, Emmenagogue, Emollient, Hepatic, Laxative, Oxytocic