goldenseal flower

Golden Seal

Hydrastis canadensis – root

Traditional Native American medicine for wounds, ulcers, digestive disorders, cancer, and skin and eye ailments.

Considered a “mucous membrane tonic”, golden seal is mainly used used for infections and inflammation of the mucous membranes.

The main ingredient berberine is well researched. Listed as “Vulnerable” it is threatened or endangered due to the sharp decline in goldenseal populations after the herbal medicine boom of the late 1990s. Consider other berberine-containing herbs such as Coptis, which has a higher berberine content (more info in Notes).

Golden Seal is no longer available in our shop due to its high cost and restricted availability. Use Coptis.


Primary: Antimicrobial, Choleretic, Mucous membrane tonic.
Secondary: Antiparasitic, Antiseptic (topically), Antiviral (systemically), Bitter tonic, Decongestant, Uterine tonic.


  • Relief of upper respiratory catarrh.
  • Indigestion, loss of appetite.
  • To support normal menstruation; relief of dysmenorrhoea.
  • Topically for inflammation of the mouth and throat.
  • Topically as a eye bath to support healthy conjunctiva.
  • Topically for relief of skin conditions.


Contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation, in cases of known allergy to the plant material, in kidney disease (inadequate excretion of alkaloids), hypertension, and in jaundiced neonates.

Drug interactions

Berberine may increase the plasma concentration of cyclosporine; observe during concomitant use.
Itraconazole and berberine are mutually antagonistic and should not be combined. Use either itraconazole or berberine (or berberine-containing herbal extracts) but not together. The use of berberine is especially relevant since itraconazole is toxic and prone to fungal resistance. The incidence of Aspergillus fumigatus infections has become more frequent as a consequence of widespread immunosuppression. At present, the number of available antifungal agents in clinical use is limited, and most of them, such as itraconazole, are toxic and show resistance. Berberine is a plant alkaloid used in the clinic mainly for alimentary infections. Berberine has antifungal effects against Aspergillus fumigatus, possibly via inhibition of the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway in a similar way to he antifungal drug, itraconazole. The two drugs were found to be mutually antagonistic and should not be combined clinically.

The analysis of contents below is a guide only, product specific data including expiry date is with the item in the shop.

Hydrastis canadensis 1:3. Each 1 ml contains 330mg of dry herb.

Liquid extract in 60% ethanol. Use 15 to 60 ml weekly.

Our clinic uses fluid extracts from Optimal Rx, Herbal Extract Company, Nutrition Care, Mediherb or Sunray Botanicals, in this order.

To source Berberine containing herb, consider Coptis

berberines in coptis