Goldenseal herb and root supplement pills, health benefits and side effects, review of tea, plant in capsules and tablets
Feb 27 2014 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Goldenseal is sometimes spelled golden seal. Goldenseal herb (Hydrastis canadensis L., Ranunculaceae) is an ingredient in various dietary supplements intended for general body immune support. Many goldenseal herbal products are currently available either alone or in combination with echinacea. In most products, the content of the main active alkaloids of goldenseal, hydrastine and berberine, is not indicated on the label. How well does this herb boost the immune system, does it help prevent or treat the common cold?

Goldenseal Root, 570 mg, 100 Capsules
5% total alkaloids
Nature's Way

Hydrastis canadensis is a wild perennial herb native to North America. The Native Americans used Goldenseal internationally as a medicine, and externally as a wash. They also used the root to make dye. While both the herb and the root are useful herbal supplements, the thick-knotted yellow root is more potent, having a higher alkaloid content, than the herb (leaves, stems and flowers). His herb provides a high level of alkaloids.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size 2 Capsules
Goldenseal root - 1.14 grams

Recommendations: As an addition to the daily diet, take two golden seal root capsules one to two times daily. For best results, use for two weeks, then take a one to two week break.



Herbal extract
Goldenseal is available in various extracts, including 5% total alkaloids. You will often see a goldenseal echinacea combination in various immune enhancing products. You can also find goldenseal tea.

Cancer protection
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013. Ethanolic extract of the Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, has demonstrable chemopreventive effects on HeLa cells in vitro: Drug-DNA interaction with calf thymus DNA as target.

Goldenseal herb and CYP3A activity
Supplementation With Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), but not Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), Inhibits Human CYP3A Activity In Vivo.
Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007.
Sixteen healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either goldenseal or kava kava for 14 days. Our findings suggest that significant herb-drug interactions may result from the concomitant ingestion of goldenseal and CYP3A substrates, but not with kava kava.

Goldenseal study
Chemical comparison of goldenseal root powder (Hydrastis canadensis) from three commercial suppliers.
J Agric Food Chem. 2003.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), which has been chosen for toxicity evaluation by NIEHS, is among the top 15 herbal supplements currently on the market and contains a complex mixture of indigenous components ranging from carbohydrates and amino acids to isoquinoline alkaloids. One key component of herbal supplement production is botanical authentication, which is also recommended prior to initiation of efficacy or toxicological studies. To evaluate material available to consumers, goldenseal root powder was obtained from three commercial suppliers and a strategy was developed for characterization and comparison that included Soxhlet extraction, HPLC, GC-MS, and LC-MS analyses. HPLC was used to determine the weight percentages of the goldenseal alkaloids berberine, hydrastine, and canadine in the various extract residues. Palmatine, an isoquinoline alkaloid native to Coptis spp. and other common goldenseal adulterants, was also quantitated using HPLC. GC-MS was used to identify non-alkaloid constituents in goldenseal root powder, whereas LC-MS was used to identify alkaloid components. After review of the characterization data, it was determined that alkaloid content was the best biomarker for goldenseal. All three lots of purchased material contained goldenseal alkaloids hydrastinine, berberastine, tetrahydroberberastine, canadaline, berberine, hydrastine, and canadine. Material from a single supplier also contained palmatine, coptisine, and jatrorrhizine, thus indicating that the material was not pure goldenseal. Comparative data for three commercial sources of goldenseal root powder are presented.

Influence of goldenseal root on the pharmacokinetics of indinavir.
J Clin Pharmacol. 2003.
Goldenseal root was identified as the most potent inhibitor of CYP3A4 in a study that tested 21 popular herbal products for in vitro inhibitory activity. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the influence of goldenseal root on the disposition of the CYP3A4 substrate indinavir in humans. Using a crossover study design, the pharmacokinetics of indinavir were characterized in 10 healthy volunteers before and after 14 days of treatment with goldenseal root (1140 mg twice daily). Indinavir was given as a single 800-mg oral dose, and blood samples were collected for 8 hours following the dose. No statistically significant differences in peak concentration or oral clearance were observed following treatment with goldenseal root. Half-life and time to reach peak concentration were also unchanged by goldenseal. These results suggest that patients being treated with indinavir can safely take goldenseal root and that interactions with other drugs metabolized by CYP3A4 in the liver are unlikely.

Antimicrobial constituents from goldenseal (the Rhizomes of Hydrastis canadensis) against selected oral pathogens.
Planta Med. 2003.
Two new C-methyl flavonoids, 6,8-di- C-methylluteolin 7-methyl ether (1) and 6- C-methylluteolin 7-methyl ether (2), were isolated from a commercially available sample of the roots of Hydrastis canadensis, along with seven known compounds, berberine, beta-hydrastine, canadine, canadaline (6), isocorypalmine, canadinic acid, and beta-sitosterol 3- O-beta- D-glucoside.

Relaxant effects of Hydrastis canadensis and its major alkaloids on guinea pig isolated trachea.
Pharmacol Toxicol. 2000.
Hydrastis or goldenseal, one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the U.S.A., is used in mild pathological conditions like cold and flu, based on the pharmacological properties of its active components, berberine (anticholinergic, antisecretory, and antimicrobial) and beta-hydrastine (astringent). We previously reported the relaxant effect of a total ethanolic extract of hydrastis on carbachol precontracted isolated guinea pig trachea, and with the present study, using the same experimental model, we aimed at evaluating the contribution of its major alkaloids, berberine, beta-hydrastine, canadine and canadaline to the total effect. Furthermore, using specific pharmacological tools, like timolol and xanthine amine congener, we attempted to elucidate its mechanism of action. Timolol effectively antagonized the effect of canadine and canadaline but not that of berberine and beta-hydrastine, while xanthine amine congener antagonized the effect of beta-hydrastine and canadaline but not that of berberine and canadine. Besides, the hydrastis extract, at concentrations between 0.01 and 0.1 microg/ml, potentiated the relaxant effect of isoprenaline on carbachol-precontracted isolated guinea pig trachea. These data, which are insufficient to draw definite mechanistic conclusions, indicate that the aforementioned alkaloids may act by interacting with adrenergic and adenosinic receptors.

Goldenseal supplement emails
Are there obvious problems combining a capsule of goldenseal with a capsule of holy basil herbal supplement?
   Basil is an herb that has no known side effects and interactions so it is likely safe to be combined with goldenseal herb.

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Echinacea and Goldenseal are often found together in formulas for the immune system.

The Native American Cherokee and Iroquois tribes are thought to have revealed the benefits of goldenseal herb. As part of their traditional medicines, this herb was used for a variety of conditions including skin disorders, canker sores, gonorrhea, urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea. Hydrastis canadensis is a perennial herb in the buttercup family, is native to the shady woodlands of southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States. Wild-grown Goldenseal is in danger from overharvesting and habitat loss, so it is now also grown commercially in the United States as well as Europe and some Asian countries.