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Hydrastis canadensisHydrastis 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 mouthwash.

 

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.

 

PARTS USED

Rhizome and root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Alkaloids including hydrastine, berberine, and canadine; volatile oil; resin.

 

ACTIONS

Astringent to and promotes healing of the gut wall and mucous membranes; digestive stimulant; increases the flow of bile.

 

MEDICINAL USE

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.

 

PREPARATIONS

Decoction, tablets, tincture.

 

CAUTION

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.

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