Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Vitamins & minerals health centre


Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is a plant native to the woods of North America. Although its supposed benefits are largely unproven, goldenseal has become a popular supplement in some parts of the world.

Herbal remedies sold in the UK have to be registered with the medicines regulator MHRA. The traditional herbal registration (THR) scheme does not mean the products have been found to work, but it does mean herbal remedies have been assessed for quality, safety and manufacturing standards. There is currently no THR registration for goldenseal.

Goldenseal uses

On the whole, goldenseal has not been well researched. Some laboratory studies have found that a chemical in goldenseal - berberine - may have some effect on bacteria, inflammation and even cancer cells. However, it’s not clear whether berberine would have any benefit in people. Goldenseal also contains only a very small amount of berberine.

Goldenseal is often taken with Echinacea. Many believe that it boosts Echinacea’s effects, but studies have not found that goldenseal is helpful in treating the common cold or respiratory infections.

Goldenseal and berberine have been studied for heart failure, high cholesterol and other conditions, but the results have been inconclusive.

Goldenseal dose and instructions for use

There is no standard dose of goldenseal, although 125mg extract, two to four times daily is common. Some people use 0.5 to 1 gram of dried root three times a day. Ask your pharmacist or herbal practitioner for advice.

Goldenseal food sources

There are no food sources of goldenseal.

Goldenseal supplement information

Goldenseal may come in tablets, capsules, liquid extracts and teas. It’s also used as a topical treatment and mouthwash. Goldenseal is often an ingredient in remedies for cold and flu, allergies and good digestion. Like any supplement, keep goldenseal in a cool, dry place, away from humidity and direct sunlight.

Goldenseal warnings

Given the lack of evidence about its safety, goldenseal is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 11, 2015

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

mature woman
Go for the glow!
avacado on whole wheat crackers
Plenty of healthy options
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
baby eating from spoon
What to feed your baby in the first year
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
womans eye
See what eye conditions look like
toddler doodling
What to expect in your child's second year
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy