Hydrastis canadenisis is the Latin name for goldenseal, a plant found in North America. The most common goldenseal benefits include its antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. Before Europeans arrived in the Americas, Native Americans were enjoying goldenseal benefits both externally and internally. Some tribes might have considered the powdered goldenseal root sacred and painted themselves and their horses with a bright yellow goldenseal paste before battle.
The root of the goldenseal plant must be dried and ground into a powder. It is then made into a paste or a wash for external use, or it can be used to make tea for drinking. In modern times, goldenseal capsules are taken as nutritional supplements. Goldenseal extract is available in liquid form.
Externally, goldenseal is useful for cleansing wounds. Washing an open cut or wound with water and goldenseal extract or powder cleans the area, prevents infection from setting in and helps the wound to heal faster. Native Americans made an eyewash with goldenseal to treat eye irritations. It still is used to treat sties, eye infections and eye irritations caused by allergies.
The external use of goldenseal benefits numerous skin problems, including excema, dry skin and rashes. Shortly after the Civil War in the United States, goldenseal become a popular folk remedy to treat various skin conditions, including chapped lips. It also has been used to treat boils and acne.
Goldenseal mixed with warm water and gargled will soothe a sore throat. It also will help a sore throat faster. Gargling this mixture also will soothe and heal painful canker sores.
As a general tonic taken internally, goldenseal benefits all of the body's systems. A weak goldenseal tea can be taken for up to three months to detoxify the body. Goldenseal works by flushing toxins and disease out of the body. This benefits the lymphatic system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system and even the respiratory system. Goldenseal also is believed to boost the immune system, providing benefits to the entire body.
A weak tea made with goldenseal will calm an upset stomach and aid digestion. As a digestive aid, goldenseal sometimes is used for its laxative properties. Goldenseal might help with the types of heartburn caused by stress-induced indigestion. Goldenseal has a calming and sedative effect when taken internally. It is good for relaxation and can be used now and then to help a person go to sleep.
The most common goldenseal side effect is that is stimulates the uterus. Therefore, it must not be used by pregnant women. Goldenseal must be used in small doses and should not be taken on a regular, basis because too much goldenseal is poisonous.