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Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Berberastine, berberine, berberine bisulfate, canadine, curcuma, eye balm, eye root, golden root, goldensiegel, goldsiegel, ground raspberry, guldsegl, hydrastine, Hydrastis rhizoma, hydrophyllum, Indian dye, Indian paint, Indian plant, Indian turmeric, isoquinoline alkaloids, jaundice root, Kanadische Gelbwurzel (German), kurkuma, Ohio curcuma, orange root, Ranunculaceae (family), sello de oro (Spanish), tumeric root, warnera, wild curcuma, wild turmeric, yellow eye, yellow Indian plant, yellow paint, yellow paint root, yellow puccoon, yellow root, yellow seal, yellow wort.
  • Note: Goldenseal is sometimes referred to as "Indian turmeric" or "curcuma," but it should not be confused with turmeric (Curcuma longa). Goldenseal contains berberine, an alkaloid constituent in goldenseal, so it is mentioned in this monograph, but a separate monograph is available on this topic.

Background

  • Goldenseal is one of the five top-selling herbal products in the United States. However, there is little scientific evidence about its safety or effectiveness. Goldenseal may be found in dietary supplements, eardrops, feminine cleansing products, cold/flu remedies, allergy remedies, laxatives, and digestive aids.
  • Goldenseal is often found in combination with echinacea in treatments for upper respiratory infections and is suggested to enhance the effects of echinacea. However, the effects when these agents are combined are not scientifically proven.
  • Goldenseal has been used by some people due to the popular notion that detection of illegal drugs in urine may be hidden by use of the herb; however, scientific information is limited in this area. The popularity of goldenseal has led to a higher demand for the herb than growers can supply.
  • Studies on the effectiveness of goldenseal are limited to one of its main chemical ingredients, berberine salts. A small amount of berberine is actually present in most goldenseal preparations. Therefore, it is difficult to extend the research of berberine salts to the use of goldenseal. There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of goldenseal in humans for any medical condition.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.