Health Guide


What is it?

Goldenseal is an herbal medicine used to help the body fight disease (stimulate immune system), manage cancer, and treat diarrhea. It is also used to help with digesting (breaking down) food and liver functions.

Other names for Goldenseal include: Yellow Root, Eye Root, Indian Turmeric, and Hydrastis.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Goldenseal you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Goldenseal. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions: Do not take goldenseal without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Amiodarone (Nexterone(R)) (13)
  • Blood thinning medicine (example: warfarin (Coumadin(R)) (11)
  • Medicine given before surgery or medical procedures to help you become relaxed or sleepy (example: midazolam) (12)


  • Before taking Goldenseal, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not use if you have high blood pressure (hypertension) (2)
  • Do not use if you have a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (6)
  • Do not use too much or too often (2)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Goldenseal can be poisonous if used too much and can cause death (2,7)
  • Vomiting (throwing up), nausea (upset stomach), or diarrhea (loose stools) can happen if too much Goldenseal is taken at one time (7)
  • Feel nervous or depressed (2)


1. Bradley PR (ed): British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth, UK; 1992.

2. Newall C, Anderson L, Phillipson J: Goldenseal. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Phamaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

3. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook: guidelines for the safe use and labeling for herbs in commerce. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

4. Preininger V: The pharmacology and toxicology of the papaveraceae alkaloids. Alkaloids 1975; 15:207-51.

5. Tierra M: The Way of Herbs. Unity Press, Santa Cruz, CA; 1980.

6. Chan E: Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate 63:201-8, 1993.

7. Hardin JW & Arena JM: Human Poisoning from Native and Cultivated Plants, 2nd ed. Duke University Press, Durham, NC; 1974: 57.

8. Tyler VE: Goldenseal: can this herb boost immunity? Prevention 1997; July: 68-70.

9. Werbach M & Murray M: Botanical influences on illness: a sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, Tarzana, CA; 1994: 24.

10. Grieve M: A modern herbal. Dover Publications, Inc, New York, NY; 1971: 362-364.

11. Product Information: Coumadin(R) oral tablets, IV injection, warfarin sodium oral tablets, IV injection. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ, 2007.

12. Gurley BJ, Swain A, Hubbard MA, et al: Supplementation with goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), but not kava kava (Piper methysticum), inhibits human CYP3A activity in vivo. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2008; 83(1):61-69.

13. Product Information: NEXTERONE(R) IV injection, amiodarone hydrochloride IV injection. Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Deerfield, IL, 2011.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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