Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also called orangeroot or yellow puccoon, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. It may be distinguished by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock. The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring. It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds in the summer. Its rhizome is the part used for medicinal purposes. Goldenseal has deep origins as a traditional remedy among Native Americans. Later, pioneers adopted goldenseal and it became a mainstay of American folk medicine.

Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Uses

Goldenseal has been a very popular remedy both internally and externally. The root is an ingredient of many herbal remedies because in addition to possessing medicinal virtues of its own, it is said to enhance the potency of other herbs. Internally, the rhizome of this plant has been used for the treatment of a variety of diseases including, gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, muscular debility, nervous prostration, constipation, cancer and as a bitter tonic and to improve digestive function. Goldenseal is also marketed as an antioxidant and is often combined with echinacea in supplements to support immune function.
Goldenseal has found its way into modern medicine as a treatment for inflamed eyes. Many drug manufacturers include an alkaloid extracted from the root in some eyedrops. Externally, it has also been used successfully for open sores, inflammation, eczema, vaginal infection, ringworm, and itchy skin afflictions (erysipelas). Used with myrrh, Goldenseal has worked wonders for tonsillitis (gargling), mouth sores and bleeding gums.

Chemistry/Pharmacology

The root of Hydrastis canadensis contains alkaloids, including hydrastine (1.5%–4%), berberine (0.5%–6%), berberastine (2%–3%), canadine, candaline hydrastinine and other related alkaloids. Other constituents include meconin, chlorogenic acid, phytosterins, and resins. The primary active constituents are hydrastine and berberine. Berberine is primarily responsible for its antimicrobial activity.

Clinical Studies

Among several herbs tested in vitro, goldenseal extract was the most active growth inhibitor of H. pylori. Studies of berberine suggest that it has antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and apoptotic effects. Other animal studies have suggested potential liver toxicity with goldenseal root, but this occurred at very high doses over long-term ingestion. Laboratory studies demonstrating phototoxicity suggest this would be more likely from topical use rather than supplement use.

Biomechanical Mechanism

The active characteristics of goldenseal are attributed to the compound’s hydrastine and berberine, in which most laboratory studies have been conducted. In human prostate and breast cancer cells, berberine induced cell cycle arrest.

Sources/Articles

Cech, Nadja B., Hiyas A. Junio, Laynez W. Ackermann, Jeffrey S. Kavanaugh, and Alexander R. Horswill. "Quorum quenching and antimicrobial activity of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)." Planta medica 78, no. 14 (2012): 1556-1561. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4527992/
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Egan, Joseph M., Amninder Kaur, Huzefa A. Raja, Joshua J. Kellogg, Nicholas H. Oberlies, and Nadja B. Cech. "Antimicrobial fungal endophytes from the botanical medicine goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)." Phytochemistry letters 17 (2016): 219-225.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461979/
Hwang, Bang Yeon, Sara K. Roberts, Lucas R. Chadwick, Christine D. Wu, and A. Douglas Kinghorn. "Antimicrobial constituents from goldenseal (the Rhizomes of Hydrastis canadensis) against selected oral pathogens." Planta medica 69, no. 07 (2003): 623-627. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2003-41115
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Karmakar, Susanta Roy, Surjyo Jyoti Biswas, and Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh. "Anti-carcinogenic potentials of a plant extract (Hydrastis canadensis): I. Evidence from in vivo studies in mice (Mus musculus)." Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 11, no. 2 (2010): 545-51. http://journal.waocp.org/article_25237_ae8fc6d9c7e297618c3a69e390c3eb21.pdf
Kim JB, Yu JH, Ko E, et al. The alkaloid berberine inhibits the growth of Anoikis-resistant MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines by inducing cell cycle arrest. Phytomedicine. 2010 May;17(6):436-40.
Knight, Sherilynn Eddy. "Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) versus penicillin: a comparison of effects on Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa." Bios (1999): 3-10. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4608492
Leyte-Lugo, Martha, Emily R. Britton, Daniel H. Foil, Adam R. Brown, Daniel A. Todd, José Rivera-Chávez, Nicholas H. Oberlies, and Nadja B. Cech. "Secondary metabolites from the leaves of the medicinal plant goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)." Phytochemistry letters 20 (2017): 54-60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5516942/
Li, Zheng, Ya-Na Geng, Jian-Dong Jiang, and Wei-Jia Kong. "Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of berberine in the treatment of diabetes mellitus." Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine 2014 (2014). https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/289264/
Mahady, Gail B., Susan L. Pendland, Adenia Stoia, and Lucas R. Chadwick. "In vitro susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to isoquinoline alkaloids from Sanguinaria canadensis and Hydrastis canadensis." Phytotherapy Research 17, no. 3 (2003): 217-221. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820313931
Mantena SK, Sharma SD, Katiyar SK. Berberine, a natural product, induces G1-phase cell cycle arrest and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human prostate carcinoma cells. Mol Cancer Ther. Feb 2006;5(2):296-308.
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Scazzocchio, F., M. F. Cometa, L. Tomassini, and M. Palmery. "Antibacterial activity of Hydrastis canadensis extract and its major isolated alkaloids." Planta medica 67, no. 06 (2001): 561-564. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Francesca-Scazzocchio/publication/11835373_Antibacterial_Activity_of_Hydrastis_canadensis_Extract_and_its_Major_Isolated_Alkaloids/links/5566da3f08aec22682ff265f/Antibacterial-Activity-of-Hydrastis-canadensis-Extract-and-its-Major-Isolated-Alkaloids.pdf
Serafim TL, Oliveira PJ, Sardao VA, Perkins E, Parke D, Holy J. Different concentrations of berberine result in distinct cellular localization patterns and cell cycle effects in a melanoma cell line. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. May 2008;61(6):1007-1018.
Udvardy, A. N. T. A. L., A. D. R. I. E. N. N. Miskovics, and A. T. T. I. L. A. Sipos. "A perspective on the anti-infective activity of Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) and its contribution to the development of multidrug pump inhibitors." International Bulletin of Drug Research 5, no. 8 (2015): 1-11. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/38938932/IBDR_Goldenseal_15-libre.pdf?1443597576=&response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DA_PERSPECTIVE_ON_THE_ANTI_INFECTIVE_ACTI.pdf&Expires=1646057863&Signature=bvzyPEjvFUYdqKR5viQSgPCrHYtbZco00Maj7N0eAX9ORcIWD7PNa7AkZR3s49ayyfyf0a9R1lA3VmZyfWgVs--2fD6EVCWv1fKtYQ2Hc6hUX9fDtmANZJxnWsUkYViTcWE3UhspZMqOC14uRsZ8EeL9jTc7kwGHM5xb6WjRGwpbUgrThII3hYSURLIy2NWGMBVdVhC7Iz~~JFUBxrl4V9vpJzH0EEfnIS3Ll6PPIqHycQylipyd-H~LIN9kyCle42cBsXvCz2hIKOhDcsP~WozPyTFvaowN4zw18gvK3bLkn1cf28IFow6W01sAOhFl3aai1cgv18jZlJAIZISRpA__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA
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Yamaura, Katsunori, Maki Shimada, Noriyuki Nakayama, and Koichi Ueno. "Protective effects of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) on acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity through inhibition of CYP2E1 in rats." Pharmacognosy Research 3, no. 4 (2011): 250. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249784/
Zhang RX, et al. Laboratory studies of berberine use alone and in combination with 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea to treat malignant brain tumors. Chin Med J 1990;103:658-65 PMID: 2122945