What Are Benefits of Goldenseal Root for Digestive Health?

What Are Benefits of Goldenseal Root for Digestive Health?

Goldenseal root contains Berberine, used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to manage dysentery and infectious diarrhea. Goldenseal is often used as a tea or in capsule form to decrease respiratory and digestive problems. Let's find out the digestive benefits of Goldenseal that you must know.


How Might Goldenseal Support Digestive Health?

the mechanism of goldenseal for digestive health

Bitter Properties

Recognized for its bitter taste, Goldenseal aids digestion by stimulating saliva and other digestive juices in the mouth, facilitating the breakdown of food.

Goldenseal is highly valued for its alkaloid content, notably in dried roots and rhizomes, where a minimum of 2% hydrastine and 2.5% berberine is required. [1] These bitter alkaloids play a vital role in enhancing the secretion of digestive fluids like saliva, bile, and stomach acid. This enhancement supports the efficient breakdown and absorption of nutrients, enhancing digestion and overall well-being.

Berberine Content

berberine content in goldenseal root benefits for digestive health

Goldenseal and other herbs containing Berberine are emphasized for their ability to stimulate intestinal motility ("prokinetics") and antibacterial activity, especially in managing UDOF patients with slow bowel movements. This helps improve digestion and nutrient absorption. [2]

Berberine, a bioactive alkaloid found abundantly in Goldenseal, exhibits numerous therapeutic effects, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, neuroprotective (anti-Alzheimer's disease), cardioprotective, and gastrointestinal protective properties. [3]

What are the Benefits of Goldenseal for Digestive Health?

Benefits of Goldenseal for Digestive Health

Increasing the Amount of Saliva

Bitter herb is a plant known for its bitter taste, commonly used in traditional medicine systems for various health benefits, especially in improving digestive disorders. These herbs contain compounds that activate bitter taste receptors in the mouth and digestive tract, triggering physiological responses that support digestion and overall health. [4]

Goldenseal has a bitter taste, and it can improve digestion. [5] It increases the amount of saliva in the mouth and other digestive juices to help break down food.

Soothing Inflammation

Goldenseal's anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is utilized for its anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties. Its antibacterial activity in laboratory settings is believed to be attributed to its alkaloids, with Berberine being the most abundant. [6]

Goldenseal's anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing discomfort and promoting healing.

Reducing Irritation

Goldenseal may help reduce digestive tract irritation, easing symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, and stomach upset.

Historically, Goldenseal has been employed to calm irritated skin and mucous membranes, relieve dyspepsia, and address weakness. While clinical trials specifically on Goldenseal are scarce, research on Berberine indicates promising effects for conditions including cancer, heart diseases, gastrointestinal problems, and infections. [7]

Lowering The Levels of Acid

Goldenseal may potentially lower LDL

Research conducted on mice and hamsters has provided evidence suggesting that the presence of Berberine in Goldenseal may potentially lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. [8], [9]

Research by Dr. Gail B. Mahady and Dr. Lucas R. Chadwick delved into the potential of Berberine found in Goldenseal to lower acid levels in the digestive system by leveraging its anti-diarrheal attributes. [10] Here are the key findings:

  1. Berberine for Diarrhea: Berberine in goldenseal root may improve diarrhea by blocking intestinal secretions, reducing cholera toxin-triggered secretions, and may prevent diarrhea-causing toxins from bacteria like Vibrio cholerae.
  2. How Berberine Works: Berberine activates adrenoceptors, lowers cAMP production to reduce intestinal movement, and blocks mucosal chloride secretion to combat diarrhea.
  3. Cytochrome P450 (CYP3A4) Inhibition: Goldenseal extracts inhibit cytochrome P450 (CYP3A4) activity, potentially impacting drug metabolism and increasing toxicity when used with Goldenseal.

In summary, Goldenseal, especially Berberine, may help lower stomach acid levels through its antidiarrheal effects and control of intestinal secretions.

In addition, Goldenseal root also offers many other benefits that may surprise you, let's explore in this video:

How Much Goldenseal Root Should You Consume for Digestive Health?

Dosages differ: dried root supplements typically range from 0.5–10 grams three times daily, while liquid extracts range from 0.3–10 mL three times a day. [11]

To make tea, steep 2 teaspoons of dried herb in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes.


Is Goldenseal a Laxative?

Goldenseal is not typically recognized for its laxative properties. However, owing to its bitter attributes and capacity to enhance digestive secretions, it may exert mild laxative effects on specific individuals. Extracts from the Hydrastis plant, known for their use in cold remedies, are also found in allergy treatments, digestive aids, feminine cleansing products, mouthwashes, shampoos, skin lotions, and even laxatives. [12]

Is Goldenseal Good for Gastritis?

Goldenseal's anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate gastritis symptoms, such as stomach pain and inflammation. However, consulting with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Does Goldenseal Help With Bloating?

Goldenseal can ease inflammation and aid digestion to reduce bloating. It has cleansing and antibiotic properties that lessen gut inflammation, ease irritation, and enhance nutrient absorption. Harmful gut bacteria can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. [13]


In summary, the article has mentioned the benefits of Goldenseal for digestion. Goldenseal has many potential benefits for digestion. Its bitter taste and anti-inflammatory properties can aid digestion and soothe inflammation in the digestive tract. It can also help reduce irritation and reduce acidity in the digestive system.


[1] Pengelly, A., Bennett, K., Spelman, K., & Bhodi Michael Tims. (2012). An Appalachian Plant Monograph. Goldenseal. Hydrastis canadensis L. ResearchGate; Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236659731_An_Appalachian_Plant_Monograph_Goldenseal_Hydrastis_canadensis_L
[2] Herbs for Upper Digestive Overgrowth of Flora | Alternative and Complementary Therapies. (2021). Alternative and Complementary Therapies. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/act.2018.29176.eya
[3] Sudip Kumar Mandal, Amal Kumar Maji, Siddhartha Kumar Mishra, Pir Mohammad Ishfaq, Hari Prasad Devkota, Ana Sanches Silva, & Das, N. (2020). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and its active constituents: A critical review of their efficacy and toxicological issues. Pharmacological Research, 160, 105085–105085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105085
[4] Mcmullen, M. (2017, April 25). The Use of Bitter Herbs in Practice. ResearchGate; unknown. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319467084_The_Use_of_Bitter_Herbs_in_Practice
[5] Common Name: Goldenseal | Scientific Name: Hydrastis Canadensis - DoctorSchar.com. (2024). Doctorschar.com. https://doctorschar.com/goldenseal-hydrastis-canadensis/
[6] Ettefagh, K. A., Burns, J. T., Junio, H. A., Kaatz, G. W., & Cech, N. B. (2010). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensisL.) Extracts Synergistically Enhance the Antibacterial Activity of Berberine via Efflux Pump Inhibition. Planta Medica, 77(08), 835–840. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1250606
[7] Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) = Dennis J. McKenna and Gregory A. Plotnikoff. (2004, December 29). Taylor & Francis; Taylor & Francis. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/mono/10.1201/b13959-36/goldenseal-hydrastis-canadensis-dennis-mckenna-gregory-plotnikoff-paul-coates-coates-paul-marc-blackman-marc-blackman?context=ubx&refId=18c51731-eaae-47b6-abe0-1e75c96e8d5a
[8] Abidi, P., Chen, W., Kraemer, F. B., Li, H., & Liu, J. (2006). The medicinal plant goldenseal is a natural LDL-lowering agent with multiple bioactive components and new action mechanisms. Journal of Lipid Research, 47(10), 2134–2147. https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.m600195-jlr200
[9] Wang, Y., & Zidichouski, J. A. (2018). Update on the Benefits and Mechanisms of Action of the Bioactive Vegetal Alkaloid Berberine on Lipid Metabolism and Homeostasis. Cholesterol, 2018, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7173920
[10] Mahady, G. B., & Chadwick, L. R. (2001). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): Is There Enough Scientific Evidence to Support Safety and Efficacy?. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 4(5), 243–249. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-5408.2001.00004.x
[11] Working, I. (2016). Exposure Data. Nih.gov; International Agency for Research on Cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK350390/
[12] Barrett, B. (2018). Viral Upper Respiratory Infection. Elsevier EBooks, 170-179.e7. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-323-35868-2.00018-9
[13] Zeiger, E., & Tice, R. (1997). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and Two of Its Constituent Alkaloids Berberine [2086-83-1] and Hydrastine [118-08-1] Review of Toxicological Literature Prepared for Submitted by. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/sites/default/files/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/goldenseal_508.pdf
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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