A white and yellow goldenleaf flower with green leaves.

People use supplements in many different ways, whether for a boost in nutrition or as a therapeutic approach to different health symptoms. Goldenseal has served people in both ways, yet research provides little evidence in regard to its exact effectiveness. So, is trying this supplement worth it? We’ll explain the potential risks and benefits in-depth below.

What is goldenseal?

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a plant and herb that is part of the Ranunculaceae plant family. You can recognize it by its green leaves that surround either a red berry or a white flower that looks similar to a daisy.

Historically, especially in Native American cultures, people have used goldenseal to treat infections. Today, people continue to consume goldenseal to treat a variety of health conditions and symptoms, yet more research needs to be done in order to determine just how effective the herb is.


The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) states that goldenseal has not been studied enough to fully determine its effectiveness on health outcomes. Having said that, goldenseal is still used to treat the following:

  • Ulcers
  • Cold symptoms
  • Various skin disorders and rashes
  • Fevers
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Hay fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Sore gums
  • Eye irritation

Please note this list is not exhaustive, and goldenseal may affect everyone differently.

Side Effects

The NIH also explains there are various risks associated with goldenseal consumption. Instances in which a person should not take goldenseal include but are not limited to:

  • In pregnant and/or breastfeeding women
  • In infants or children
  • If you take any medications

Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements to avoid serious side effects or interactions. Your doctor and other health professionals will be able to provide you with personalized advice regarding supplements in relation to your individual needs.

How to Take Goldenseal

You can consume goldenseal in a variety of ways. It is a good idea to ask a health professional, such as a registered dietician or nutritionist, about the best and healthiest way to take goldenseal. In supplemental form, this plant comes in:

  • Capsules
  • Root powder, which can be added to food, shakes and smoothies
  • Beverage
  • Oil, which can be added to beverages like water or tea

Be sure to follow instructions from a health expert when it comes to dosing and adding it to your food and/or drink.

Final Thoughts

Staying healthy is a lifelong process, and in some cases, supplements can be helpful for dietary needs or to improve symptoms associated with health conditions and illnesses. People have used goldenseal for medicinal purposes for years, yet it is absolutely necessary to get professional advice before taking it. If you plan to try goldenseal, make sure to first talk to your doctor to make sure you get the best advice available.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.

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