•   Very little research has been done on the   health effects of goldenseal.
  • Goldenseal is a plant native to North America. Overharvesting and loss of habitat have decreased the availability of wild goldenseal, but the plant is now grown commercially in the United States, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Historically, Native Americans used goldenseal for skin disorders, ulcers, fevers, and other conditions. European settlers adopted it as a medicinal plant, using it for a variety of conditions.
  • Currently, goldenseal is promoted as a dietary supplement for colds and other respiratory tract infections, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), ulcers, and digestive upsets such as diarrhea and constipation. It is also used as a mouthwash for sore gums and as an eyewash for eye inflammation, and it is applied to the skin for rashes and other skin problems.
  • Very little research has been done on the health effects of goldenseal.








Health Benefits


  • The scientific evidence does not support the use of goldenseal for any health-related purpose.
  • Berberine, a substance found in goldenseal, has been studied for heart failure, diarrhea, infections, and other health conditions. However, when people take goldenseal orally (by mouth), very little berberine may be absorbed by the body or enter the bloodstream, so study results on berberine may not apply to goldenseal.


Safety information


  • Little information is available on the safety of goldenseal taken alone. Goldenseal might be safe for most adults when taken by mouth in the short term. There is not enough reliable information to know if goldenseal is safe for long-term use.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use goldenseal, and it should not be given to infants. Berberine can cause or worsen jaundice in newborn infants and could lead to a life-threatening problem called kernicterus.
  • A study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) found that some commercial goldenseal dietary supplements didn’t contain much goldenseal and instead included ingredients not listed on their labels.
  • Goldenseal may change the way your body processes many medications. An NCCIH-funded study found that levels of metformin—the most commonly prescribed diabetes medicine—decreased about 25 percent in healthy adults who were given goldenseal extract plus metformin. This drop was enough to potentially hinder glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes taking metformin. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes who are taking metformin should consult their health care provider before using goldenseal.















  • Talk to your health care providers about any complementary health approaches before you use. It may be contraindicated with any medications you are currently taking.