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Hydrastis canadensis

Hydrastis canadensis                                   Common name: Goldenseal

Family: Ranunculaceae

Part used: Root

Constituents: Isoquinoline alkaloids (hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, canadine), chlorogenic acid, carbohydrates, volatile oil, resins, fatty acid

Actions: Tonicantimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-catarrhal, detoxifer, alterative, anti-hemorrhagic, hemostatic, hypertensive, anti-emetic, bitter, choleretic, cholagogue, liver tonic, laxative, oxytoxic, emmenagogue, diuretic, mucus membrane trophorestorative, involuntary muscle stimulant, immuno-stimulant


Medical uses: Has specific use for atony dyspepsia with hepatic symptoms. Is well known for being a restorative to mucus membranes and helpful in all forms of catarrh. Is useful for all kinds of infections and inflammations. Note: considered an endangered plant species. Consider using Berberis aquifolium as an alterative when possible.


  • Isoquinoline alkaloids are anti-convulsant, cholagogue, choleretic and anti-microbial.
  • Berberine is immuno-stimulant, ant-microbial, bitter, sedative, uterine tonic & anti-convulsant.
  • Hydrastine is similar to berberine, a uterine stimulant, anthelmintic, vasoconstrictor and nervous system stimulant.
  • Canadine is an uterine stimulant, hypotensive in low doses but high doses is hypertensive.

Pharmacy: Dried parts: 2g, TID. Infusion: 1tsp/cup, infuse 15 min, TID. Decoction: 1 tsp/cup, simmer 20 min, TID. Tincture: (1:5, 60%), 1ml, TID. As douche, ointment, eyewash, gargle or compress. Note: Dose short term, up to 4 weeks.

Contraindications: Caution with hypertension & acute inflammatory conditions. Pregnancy & lactation.

Toxicity: Long-term dosing can kill “good” & “bad” bacteria. High doses can cause stomach upset, dizziness, dyspnea, nephritis, nervous issues, depression, convulsions & paralysis and may be fatal.

Interactions: With CNS depressants, cardiac medications and anticoagulants.



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