Goldenseal root Hydrastis canadensis
Goldenseal root
[Hydrastis canadensis]

Goldenseal Root: The Sourthorn of North America

The medicinal plant Hydrastis is one of the important remedies in homeopathy and is actually used too rarely. As a medicinal plant, it is not so popular in our latitudes. However, this is not due to its enormous potential. In liver and digestive tract diseases, it is actually one of the most important medicinal plants. However, its effect is strongly related to the native sourthorn, barberry, which simply outranks it a little.

Goldenseal Root Facts

Did you know that...

... the main active ingredient berberine is named after barberry.
... Hydrastis has strong anti-bleeding properties?
... the Cherokee Indians use the root against cancer?

What is goldenseal root?

Goldenseal root is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 50cm high. It forms erect, unbranched stems with a terminal flower. On each stem there is a basal leaf and two stem leaves. The leaves make a leathery, grained impression, are multiply lobed and serrated at the edges. The flower is white with light green and the petals are thread-like. The special feature of the plant is the creeping rhizome, i.e. root network, with which the plant spreads and ensures its survival. In some places, this root system is bulbous thickened. This rhizome is used medicinally. Its native country is North America. It likes shady locations with moist forest soil.

General and medicinal properties of Hydrastis canadensis

The basic knowledge


Hydrastis is astringent. Its ingredients cause blood vessels to contract. This can stop bleeding and treat injuries.

Liver stimulating

Hydrastis is liver stimulant. It stimulates the organ to produce bile by increasing the activity of liver cells. This improves digestion and makes you feel lighter and fitter.


Hydrastis is digestive. Through hydrastis, the liver produces more bile. This adjusts the pH of the intestine better and ensures that the digestive enzymes of the pancreas and the bacteria of the intestine can do their work better. Bowel movements can thus take place effortlessly and constipation is no longer an issue.

Hydrastis canadensis: Ingredients

For the preparation of tinctures, the dried root cut into small pieces is used. This contains mainly:
  • Berber
  • Hydrastine

Goldenseal root: effect for body and mind

The plant contains two highly potent alkaloids. One is berberine. This substance is known from barberry as an active ingredient and has excellent effects on liver-biliary metabolism. The other substance is hydrastine, which is largely responsible for the hemostatic effect. Basically, it results in antiseptic, antifungal, anti-bleeding and antibiotic effects. Due to the liver-activating power of berberine, Hydrastis was also used in the past for conjunctivitis. Especially for fibroids of the uterus, Hydrastis is still used today because of its hemorrhage-stopping power and its positive decongestive effects on the portal vein. Its main field of application is therefore problems associated with the digestive system.

Properties of Hydrastis canadensis

  • hemostatic
  • Liver activating
  • fungicide
  • antibacterial
  • myoma adverse
  • appetizing

Fields of application in naturopathy

[Hydrastis canadensis]
From the main active substances of the goldenseal root derive various applications, for which there are many years of experience in naturopathy.

Hydrastis canadensis for weakness

Hydrastis is metabolism activating. Therefore, it can help with general weakness, as it activates the liver metabolism. A functioning metabolism in the liver positively affects the overall well-being and provides new strength. The metabolism and excretion of the body is noticeably improved and relieves the body.

Hydrastis canadensis for feeling of emptiness in the stomach

Canadian turmeric stimulates metabolism and appetite. Thus, an unpleasant feeling of emptiness in the stomach turns into real hunger. Digestion improves and the digestive organs relax. The feeling of emptiness subsides and well-being returns.

Hydrastis canadensis for hemorrhoids

In most cases, hemorrhoids are due to blocked liver metabolism. Congestion phenomena of the portal vein occur because nutrient-rich blood cannot be adequately processed by the liver. The fine vessels of the hemorrhoidal plexus swell, itch or even burst, leading to bleeding. If the liver functions as usual again, the portal vein congestion recedes and the hemorrhoids disappear.

Hydrastis canadensis for constipation

Many blockages are due to the bile not pouring enough bile into the intestine. As a result, the pH levels are not right and the enzymes cannot do their job in the intestines. Hydrastis stimulates bile production so that all mechanisms return to normal and constipation subsides.

Hydrastis canadensis for inflammation of mucous membranes

Hydrastine in particular has a proven effect on the mucous membranes, as it influences the blood flow to the mucous membranes and thus their metabolism. If blood flow is inhibited by hydrastine, inflammation and swelling decrease. If the cause is infectious, the antimicrobial potential of Canadian turmeric helps to eliminate the cause.

Hydrastis canadensis for psoriasis

Some skin rashes may have their cause in liver metabolism. Excretion does not function properly and the skin has to take over these tasks. The result is rashes. Used internally, turmeric stimulates metabolism and thus relieves the skin. Externally, it can be used on the rashes to reduce itching as it contracts the blood vessels and reduces inflammation.
Young woman with very clear skin after a shower

Notes on the use of Hydrastis canadensis

Hydrastis is used as a cure for problems. Most often it is a component of mixtures and is taken several times a day. Tablets, drops or sprays can be used. These are always homeopathic or spagyric preparations. Tea applications are not common due to toxicity. A permanent intake is not recommended.

Goldenseal root during pregnancy & lactation

Hydrastis should not be used during pregnancy and lactation because it affects blood circulation.

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Goldenseal root Hydrastis canadensis


Goldenseal root

Botanical name

Hydrastis canadensis

Plant family


Other designations

Goldenseal root, Canadian turmeric


May till July

Harvest time

Spring and autumn





Flower color


Flower shape


Leaf color


Leaf shape


Sheet properties


Soil type


Soil moisture




Lime compatibility

sensitive to lime

Nutrient requirements




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