Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) was introduced to the West by Native Americans, who used the root as a medicine and as a yellow stain for the face and clothing. Much of the plant's original habitat in the eastern U.S. has become the victim of deforestation. It is now cultivated in the Pacific Northwest.
The plant is a small herbaceous perennial that reaches a height of no more than a foot and produces small flowers and raspberry-like, inedible fruit. The plant has a bitter taste and a strong, disagreeable odor. Only the fleshy underground stem and roots are used medicinally.
Goldenseal contains alkaloids hydrastine, berberine, canadine, and canadaline; these are considered the active constituents.
Goldenseal has not been proven effective however, it is commonly used for sore throat, upper respiratory infections, colds, nasal congestion, allergies, gastritis, consipation, diarrhea, inflammation, and infection.
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Products containing Goldenseal
Cautions Avoid use during pregnancy and nursing.