The Food Reality Blog

Trust in the Power of Nature

How To Grow | Goldenseal Root: A Pretty Flower and Powerful Viral & Bacteria Buster

Image result for goldenseal

Simply put, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. The medicinal claims about goldenseal range from its powers as a cure for toenail fungus to its effectiveness against pancreatic cancer. But is goldenseal really an all-conquering super plant?

In short, it might be easier to make a list of conditions goldensealhasn’t been associated with helping. Early American medical texts refer to the Cherokees and Iroquois using goldenseal to treat cancer, mouth ailments like canker sores, and stomach issues.

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Today, it’s marketed for a vast array of symptoms. Some claim that it can treat colds and upper respiratory infections. Other conditions it’s said to help include

  • viral infections
  • stress & tension
  • just about any stomach or digestive condition
  • prescription or pleasure drug over-use

Image result for goldensealGoldenseal is also said to increase the effectiveness of other herbs and medicines. It’s regularly combined with echinacea, an herb associated with strengthening the immune system.

Common Names

Goldenseal , Yellow Root

Botanical Name

Hydrastis canadensis


Purchase Goldenseal US | Horizon Herbs

Purchase Goldenseal UK | Poyntzfield Herb Nursery

Growing Goldenseal – Gardening Basics

Image result for goldenseal

Healthy and recently harvested stock is the absolute key to growing beautiful goldenseal from dormant roots. We are fortunate to have had a very good year on Goldenseal root growing, and will move the quality and well-sized roots on to you. Premier astringent and tonic agent for treating any and all afflictions of the mucous membranes, including colds, sore throat, sinusitis and conjunctivitis. Incredibly useful in home medicine and as always very big in the herb trade.

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Today, it’s marketed for a vast array of symptoms. Some claim that it can treat colds and uppe

Planting Goldenseal Roots

Best to plant dormant live roots in the fall for emergence in the spring.  May be planted in woodlands, shade garden or in pots.  Prefers dappled sunlight over complete shade.

Image result for goldensealGrows best in woodlands under the shade of hardwood trees, not conifers.  Choose a place with deep, humusy soil.  Organic compost may be added to poor soil in order to improve growth of Goldenseal, but if the soil is already a deep forest loam then amending with compost is not necessary.

Rake away existing mulch and plant root in the mineral soil, just below the surface, buds up, buds barely covered by mineral soil.  Spread out rootlets below rhizome and tamp in firmly.  Then cover with mulch, about 2 inches deep of mulch.  Regular forest mulch, rotted leaves, or coir work well.  Commercial bark mulch is not a good choice.  Peat moss is a good soil conditioner to start with… mixed with commercial compost and leaves.

Plant roots between 1 foot and 2 feet apart. Water once after planting, after which winter rain and snowfall will keep them sufficiently watered. The roots will overwinter under the mulch and the plant will emerge and probably flower first thing in the spring.

If during the spring and summer the planting becomes very dry (ie no rain for 2 weeks) then it is a good idea to water them.   That is all the care that is usually required. If potting up, use standard potting soil, one root per pot, gallon pot or bigger. Mulch on top of the pot and place in shade garden.

Important Growing Information

DAYS TO GERMINATION: Best to plant dormant live roots in the fall for emergence in the spring.

SOWING:1 – 2 feet apart

LIGHT PREFERENCE: Part or dappled shade

SOIL REQUIREMENTS:  Lots of natural loam or compost. Likes deep forrest type soil. Well drained.


World Zone Map

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Flower Arrangements or Edible Flowers

Image result for goldensealThe flower, which is produced in April, is solitary, terminal, erect, small, with three small greenish-white sepals, falling away immediately after expansion, no petals and numerous stamens.

The fruit is a head of small, fleshy, oblong, crimson berries, tipped with the persistent styles and containing one or two hard black, shining seeds.

It is ripe in July and has much the appearance of a Raspberry (whence the name ‘Ground Raspberry’), but is not edible.

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Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Goldenseal

Image result for goldensealGoldenseal is widely used in many herbal salves and ointments as a disinfectant. Goldenseal root contains berberine and hydrastine which have a broad-spectrumantibacterial and antiviral action. Duke The herb’s primary value is as an infection fighter for upper respiratory congestion and sinus infections as well as a topical antibiotic in skin infections, cuts and wounds, sore throats, mouth ulcers, and eye infections.

Goldenseal is also a bitter herb that stimulates bile and can be used to improve digestive problems from peptic ulcers to colitis. It works well against diarrhea caused by intestinal bugs and can be used in formulas to treat intestinal parasites.

Preparation Methods & Dosage

Image result for goldensealTincture of goldenseal can be applied directly for infections and ulcers of the mouth. The leaves can be used as a antiseptic skin wash and applied in a poultice. Combines well with garlic as an anti-parasitic treatment. Goldenseal makes a good topical antiseptic for minor injuries. The powdered root can be made as an infusion, the chopped root should be simmered.

Goldenseal Side Effects

Goldenseal is not for long-term use, and should not be used by pregnant,or lactating women. Avoid if you have high blood pressure. The tannins in goldenseal tinctures may cause stomach irritation, so you should avoid taking the herb in tincture form if you have diarrhea or chronic heartburn.

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This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner.



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This entry was posted on August 7, 2015 by in MEDICINAL PLANTS AND HERBS and tagged , , , , , , , , .
C Katt Krespach, NTP

C Katt Krespach, NTP

C Katt Krespach, NTP is a nutritional therapist and long time activist with a passion for healing arts and social entrepreneurship, …working in both areas for over a quarter of a century. Her site has a worldwide following. is her newest project and coaches brick-and-morter business owners into global social entrepreneurship. She is an author, public speaker, and entrepreneur. You can get Katt’s free edible flowers e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame neuropathy, significant weight gain, and more with easy, natural and healing mindsets. Follow Katt on Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, and Instagram.

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