Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), closely related to the buttercup and similar in appearance, has long been a favorite herbal remedy in Native American communities. Goldenseal is prescribed for digestive issues, bad breath, oral health, against candida, and as an anti-fungal.
Ringworm seems to be another condition against which goldenseal can be effective. Combined with echinacea, it is often taken to prevent or ameliorate cold and flu symptoms.
While goldenseal seems quite safe in general, it does contain alkaloids and for that reason its use with pregnant women and children should be limited or avoided in most cases.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Add Echinacea for Bad Breath
[YEA] 05/06/2007: Sandra from Near Atlanta, Georgia: "Thank you for this site. It is so informative and helpful! I discovered it a few months ago after I did a search for more information on oil pulling after hearing about it on a radio show. Since then I occassionally browse your site. I have yet to try the oil pulling, but I have started using Apple Cider Vinegar and the Blackstrap Molasses. I have not been consistent with the Blackstrap Molasses, but it has helped me. I am anemic with a fibroid & feel the difference in my energy & appearence. I have been using the ACV every day. I drink it in the mornings and I also put it in bottled water & take it with me to work to sip on all day. This has helped me with bad breath and is strengthening my gums and teeth.
I also want to share something that will stop bad breath that I have not seen discussed anywhere. I know from personal experience how big this problem can be. Perhaps my experience will help someone who is hurting and needing help as I was. I quit a very good job because of my problem. I suffered a lot of hurt and embarrassment not to mention the financial stress of being unemployed. At the time I could not see another solution to my problem. My job required talking on the telephone with customers all day long and being in close quarters with many co-workers. I could not afford to go to the dentist. Even though I had that job I was not yet eligible for dental insurance. I wish I'd found the solution before I quit. I had very bad breath from infected gums and an infected tooth with a hole in it. I tried all kinds of things, but nothing would stop the smell. I tried several things and added more things as I discovered them. (Peroxide, baking soda, lots of vitamin C, etc.) Then I decided that I could temporarily plug up the hole with cotton soaked with Tea Tree Oil. Then I started using some dental wax to cover the cotton. That helped a lot, but the smell & taste from the infected tooth came back after a very short period of time. Then one day I decided to see what herbs the herbalist Dr. John Christopher recommended for my problem. In that search I found information on Echinacea. He said this herb actually eliminates foul odors and fetid discharges. It's anti-putrefactive, and arrests pus formation. Also it is an excellent healing agent wherever tissue decay is taking place and it is a blood purifier. I immediately found some Echinacea and Goldenseal capsules that I had sitting around and took some. Then I opened one of the capsules and poured some of the powder in the hole in my tooth and packed it with the Tea Tree Oil soaked cotton. This WORKED! The Echinacea & Goldenseal powder got rid of the odor! It's getting rid of the infection. It turns out that Goldenseal is also good for periodontal disease. It also helps with digestive disorders that might cause bad breath. I'm thrilled! I now have another good job that is in some ways better than the other one. It also requires that I talk to customers on the telephone all day and be in close quarters with co-workers. Everything is fine there. I have not been to a dentist yet, but my bad breath and gum infection is under control. I will eventually have to go to the dentist to have the hole filled, but I am so happy that this problem is solved. No more embarrassment from having bad breath and I don't have to make an expensive trip to the dentist without insurance. Again, THANK YOU for this site. You don't know how much you're helping by the information you provide."Replies
03/10/2013: Randall from Melrose Park, Illinois replies: "How long did it take for it to work?"
Allergies and Sinus Infections
[YEA] 08/26/2006: Beth from Roseville, MN: "For sinus problems use goldenseal power mixed with water to make a paste. Put it up your nose with Q-tip. Repeat until symptoms disappear. I have tried EVERYTHING else and THIS WORKS!"
[YEA] Kim from Milwaukee: "When I feel an attack coming on (due to allergies or weather change) I start taking Goldenseal tablets. If you catch the attack in the early stages, the goldenseal will stop an infection and clear up congestion. The mix of Echinacea and goldenseal didn't work for me. Once the infection has a foothold however, the goldenseal didn't help much."
Boils, Cysts, Athlete's Foot, Rashes
[YEA] 09/29/2009: Twila from Alexandria, Virginia Usa: "My father had boils, i.e., cysts, appear on his arms for years. I found that Goldenseal Root is a GREAT herb with 'drawing' powers. I convinced him to try my paste, let it dry, then wash it off. Not only did the cyst go away fast, but has not returned! I have used Goldenseal Root to 'draw' infection out of cuts, sores, etc., and even cure athletes foot. You only need a small amount of the powder and a tiny amount of water. Stir into a paste quickly and spread it on the affected area. Let it dry. Rinse off. You have to be quick as it begins to work as soon as water hits it. Be careful, a tiny amount of water goes a long way! My mom had a rash on the back of her hand - all the prescription creams made it go away but as soon as she stopped using, the rash would reappear. Used the Goldenseal Root past method on the rash. It went away in 2 days and never returned."
[YEA] 05/09/2009: Alakhi from Bozeman, MT: "I took 2 capsules of goldenseal and echinacea 2x day and my boils changed from the size of a golf ball to a pea in 3 days. My acne also cleared up during that period of time, although i still have it now that i am not taking it.( not safe to take for an extended amount of time) I also had a bad bug with the runs and my runs went away in 1 day. my friend who had the same bug who did not take goldenseal had the runs for a week."
[YEA] 01/02/2008: Sommer from Irmo, SC: "I know Goldenseal is commonly thought of to aid in passing a drug test and unfortunatly people over look it because of that. My mother has been using it for years and gave it to us. You can take it when you start to feel a cold or flu comming on and it will bump it right off- plus it dries up congestion. If you get the powder or capsules that can be opened to release the powder you fill an average coffee mug 3/4 with water add a good tsp of Goldenseal powder and make it like tea in the microwave. If you have a sore throat (even strep) you gargle with it every couple of hours and your throat will start feeling better the first time- it tastes awful but works better than anything I have ever tried. It will cure strep in a day or two. Also, after you have made the tea you can filter it thru a paper towel to remove the grit and it can be used in your eyes or ears for pink eye or ear infections. It can be used painlessly on cuts or anywhere infection could be a problem. It is like a safe antibiotic that won't kill the good guys(bacteria) but is devastating to the bad guys. Great for use on pets too! When used in the eye it will not burn a bit. I have had more discomfort from actual eye drops than from goldenseal. I think everyone should keep it in the medicine cabinet because it is cheap, natural and oh so effective for many different cases."Replies
09/22/2010: Brittani91 from Oak Grove, Ky replies: "Can you find goldenseal root powder in stores like walmart or walgreens?"
Gas and Bloating
[YEA] 11/16/2008: Mark from Portland, Oregon: "Hi, I have found a great gas/bloating remedy. If you put a capsule of golden seal in an enema bag with warm (purified) water, it makes the best enema. At least for me, it makes me go and go until I am completely clean and fresh. I like it much better than coffee, and it really clears my head. I feel like it gives the digestive tract a fresh start and cleanses my blood. This is also a great way to move out hardened waste and therefore lose some excess weight. It also seems to cure constipation which I used to get, but now is very rare, which usually comes on from eating something bad. I just do another enema! Also I do one whenever I feel like I am starting to get sick and if I do it early enough it just goes away. In fact I haven't taken a sick day in over 4 years! It only takes a few minutes to do and then I just jump in the shower. All the benefits of golden seal in a powerful and quicker way."
04/29/2011: Otnot from Anaheim, Ca: "Just wanted to let everyone know, with all of this talk about Goldenseal... It is an endangered herb due to overharvesting so please make sure your source is sustainable. If it is such a great cure, we need to take our part in protecting it, right? Cheers!"
[YEA] 08/04/2006: Kathy from Carrollton, TX: "I had toe nail fungus on one corner of one big toe for a few years. Over-the-counter products didn't work. I read that GOLDENSEAL EXTRACT worked, so I tried that. Used an eye dropper and also gently worked some under the nail with a metal nail file. It tended to stain the nail yellow, but it worked. I sometimes used tea tree oil too. And I'm thinking I may have tried hydrogen peroxide or vicks - can't remember right now. I think trying various of these home remedies helps. I also read that PAU D'ARC extract worked too, but I never bought it, since I got rid of the fungus without needing to try something else. Also, made sure the nail was dry before putting on socks and shoes."
[YEA] 07/05/2007: Bayliss from Roselle, NJ: "I got ringworm a few times as a child, and my mother put bleach on a cloth and put it on the affected area for about 5 minutes, and then she would boil a tea bag of Goldenseal Tea, and place that on the area as well. It definitely kills the ringworm. I definitely recommend this remedy."