Hydrastis canadensis (Ranunculaceae)
GOLDEN SEAL, HYDRASTIS, ORANGE ROOT
Originally used by North American
Indians, the roots and rhizome are now given by herbalists for vaginal
infections, intestinal inflammation, wounds, boils and carbuncles, and as a
Used by the North American Indians as a
dye for cloth and facial paint as well as for medicine, golden seal became so popular with
European settlers that it was soon overpicked and now has to be specially cultivated. A native of North America, where it once flourished
in cool shady woods, it is a small perennial with a large rhizome and a flowering stem
with two, five-lobed, serrated leaves. Insignificant flowers appear in spring and
develop into raspberry-like fruit.
Rhizome and root.
Alkaloids including hydrastine, berberine, and canadine; volatile oil; resin.
Astringent to and promotes healing of the gut wall and mucous membranes;
digestive stimulant; increases the flow of bile.
Used as a douche for vaginal infections like thrush and trichomonas.
Also given internally for stomach inflammation, including gastritis and peptic ulcers,
as a mouthwash for ulcers and inflamed gums, and externally for wounds and eruptions.
Decoction, tablets, tincture.
Should be avoided in pregnancy and by people
with high blood pressure because it can cause the muscles of the womb and the blood vessels to contract.