In the wild, goldenseal grows up from the forest floor
in late April. Small white flowers bloom in the middle of the leaf. With only two large,
five-lobed, serrated leaves growing on a one foot stem, it bears a raspberry-like fruit in July.
Goldenseal has many medicinal uses, and that is in fact its most common use.
Growing Info: Goldenseal grows
naturally on the floors of forests, therefore it needs a shady location to grow. It is beginning
to become threatened in the wild, which is just another good reason to include it in your
garden. Plant several of these perennials to make a community. Will grow to about 1 foot tall.
Loves rich, moist soil with plenty of organic material worked in. The thick, knotty, yellow
rootstock can be harvested after three years of growth.
Standard Uses: While goldenseal
could be considered a worthy ornamental plant for a forest like garden setting, it's primary use
has been for its medicinal values.
Medicinal Uses: Goldenseal
contains hydrastine and berberine which give it antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, alternative
laxative and tonic properties. It has been traditionally used for such ailments as eye
inflammations, cancer, high blood pressure, skin and liver diseases.
CAUTION: Those with hypoglycemia should avoid taking the
root internally, but can safely use it as a mouthwash, eyewash or douche. Pregnant women
should avoid using goldenseal until they have delivered. It should also not be used for more
than two months at a time as it can interfere with the colon's ability to manufacture vitamin
Some holistic physicians use a solution of goldenseal
root for various eye ailments, especially conjunctivitis. Mix together 1/8 teaspoon each of
powdered goldenseal root, comfrey and chamomile, add to one cup of boiling water and steep it
for 15 minutes before straining through a sterile cheesecloth. Can then be used at room
temperature by applying 2-3 drops three times daily from a sterile eye dropper.
The berberine that goldenseal contains makes it
excellent for treating inflammations of the cornea and iris brought on by the herpes simplex
virus. A similar solution as described above is used, but with an increased portion of 1/4
teaspoon of goldenseal.
Yeast infections can be treated by combining 3 cups of
water and 1-1/2 teaspoons of powdered goldenseal root in a blender. The mixture is then used as
a douche several times a day until the problem is cleared up.
Any kind of sores in the mouth, gums or tongue can be
healed by making a simple mouthwash with a pinch of goldenseal powder and baking soda in a
For those with poison ivy rashes, goldenseal powder
(1tspn) can be combined in a pint of hot water and be dabbed on the effected areas when cool.
Also 2-3 capsules of root powder taken internally will expedite the healing process as
Some diabetics have reported that they are able to
reduce their dependency on insulin as a result of taking goldenseal capsules.
Some people use the following method to relieve sinus
miseries. Take a shaker of salt and put about 20 or so grains into the palm of your hand, adding
a pinch or two of goldenseal powder and enough filtered water to form a liquid paste. Then sniff
the mixture up your nose and you'll get almost instantly relief as the mixture reaches your
Goldenseal is also being used by alternative care
doctors and holistic healers who use various preparations of this and other herbs to treat drug
addictions. They first cleanse the body of the offending toxins, then use another specific
preparation to deal with the physical withdrawal symptoms, and finally a third mixture to
rebuild the body through sound nutrition.
Research data that appeared in the Chinese
Pharmacological Bulletin (1994) indicated that the berberine in goldenseal "markedly inhibited
clot retraction". Those who are prone to strokes of frequent clot formations (that don't have
hypoglycemia) may benefit from a goldenseal root capsule every other day.