Goldenseal, eyebalm, eyebright, eyeroot, goldenroot, ground raspberry, hydrastis, Indiana dye, Indian paint, Indian plant, Indian turmeric, jaundice root, Ohio curcuma, orange root, turmeric, wild turmeric, yellow eyewright, yellow paintroot, yellow puccoon, yellowroot, yellowwort.
Goldenseal is a North American woodland herb with a yellow perennial rhizome. A new stem grows each year about 30 cm high. The leaves are large (up to 30 cm wide), usually with five lobes but can have up to 7. A single white flower, a mass of stamens with no petals, is produced from late April to May, depending on latitude and altitude, followed in July by a bright red berry with 10 to 30 black seeds. The fruit looks like a raspberry but is inedible. The natural range of the plant extends from southern New England west through the extreme southwestern portion of southern Ontario, to southern Wisconsin, and south to Arkansas and northern Georgia.
Goldenseal is highly valued for its rhizome and roots that contain medicinal alkaloids. The roots have antibiotic properties, suppressing certain bacteria, protozoans, and fungi, and are used to treat AIDS and other severe chronic diseases, and digestive disorders, and to enhance the immune system. Commercial formulations prepared from the plant are widely used to treat colds and nasal congestion, as well as certain infections and parasites.
April to May
Vermont to Georgia, west to Minnesota and Arkansas
Rootstock in fall; leaves or tops in late summer or fall, after seeds ripen.
The pulverized rhizomes and roots have been used a long time to treat mouth ulcers, and as a hemostatic. This preparation has also been used as a diuretic in catarrhal conditions, and as an astringent for treating certain eye conditions. In Appalachia, a root tea is used as a tonic.
Native American medicinal uses of the root included treatment of the eyes and skin and for cancers and venereal diseases. The yellow root provided dye. This plant should be avoided during pregnancy.