Is Goldenseal Antifungal? How to Use It for Candida Treatment?

Is Goldenseal Antifungal? How to Use It for Candida Treatment?

Fungal infections are common and can affect various parts of the body, such as the skin, nails, mouth, and genitals. One of the most prevalent fungal infections is candidiasis, caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast.

While there are many conventional treatments for fungal infections, some people may prefer natural alternatives that have fewer side effects and are more affordable.

One of these alternatives is goldenseal, a herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. But is goldenseal antifungal? And how can you use it for candida treatment? In this article, we will explore the answers to these questions and more.


What Is An Antifungal?

An antifungal is a substance that can prevent fungal infections

An antifungal is a substance that can prevent or treat fungal infections by killing or inhibiting the growth of fungi. Antifungals can be synthetic or natural, and they can act in different ways depending on their mechanism of action.

Some antifungals interfere with the cell membrane of fungi, making it more permeable and causing the contents to leak out.

Others inhibit the synthesis of essential components of the fungal cell, such as ergosterol or nucleic acids. Some natural herbs that have antifungal properties include garlic, oregano, tea tree oil, and thyme [1].

Before exploring the answer to "Is Goldenseal Antifungal?", you can discover the potential benefits of Goldenseal root for human heath in this video:

Is Goldenseal Antifungal?

Goldenseal root contains several alkaloids, such as berberine, hydrastine, and canadine.

These alkaloids are responsible for the antifungal activity of goldenseal, as they can damage the cell membrane and the DNA of fungi, as well as inhibit their enzymes and metabolism.

Goldenseal is effective against various strains of Candida albicans, as well as other fungi that cause infections such as Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, and Trichophyton [2].

Goldenseal root contains several alkaloids

Research and Studies on Goldenseal's Antifungal Activity

There have been several studies that have investigated the antifungal activity of goldenseal and its alkaloids. Here is a table that summarizes some of the main findings:



Research Subjects


Antifungal activity of berberine and its derivatives against Candida species

Liu et al. (2019)

30 clinical isolates of Candida species and 5 reference strains 

Berberine and its derivatives exhibited potent antifungal activity against Candida species, especially C. albicans. They also induced oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cell cycle arrest in the fungal cells. 

Antifungal activity of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) against oral pathogens

Al-Rawi et al. (2017) 

6 oral pathogens: C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, C. krusei, and C. dubliniensis

Goldenseal extract and its alkaloids showed significant antifungal activity against all the tested oral pathogens, with berberine being the most effective. Goldenseal extract was more effective than fluconazole and comparable to nystatin. 

Antifungal activity of Hydrastis canadensis extract and its major isolated alkaloids against human pathogenic fungi

Mahmoudi et al. (2011)

8 human pathogenic fungi: C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, and C. neoformans

Goldenseal extract and its alkaloids exhibited antifungal activity against all the tested fungi, with berberine being the most active. 

These studies suggest that goldenseal has a strong antifungal activity against various fungi that cause infections in humans, and that berberine is the main active component.

How to Use Goldenseal for Candida Treatment?

Goldenseal can be used for candida treatment

Goldenseal can be used for candida treatment in different ways, depending on the location and severity of the infection. Some of the common methods are:

Oral supplementation: Goldenseal powder or capsules can be taken orally to treat systemic or intestinal candidiasis. The recommended dosage is as follows [4]:

  • Decoction of dried root: 0.5 - 1.0 g, three times daily.
  • Tincture (1:10, 60% ethanol): 2-4 ml, three times a day.
  • Fluid extract (1:1, 60% ethanol): 0.3 - 1.0 ml, three times daily.

It is not recommended to take Goldenseal for more than two weeks consecutively due to potential side effects.

Topical application: Goldenseal cream, ointment, or powder can be applied topically to treat skin or nail fungal infections. The affected area should be cleaned and dried before applying a thin layer of the product. This can be repeated two to three times a day until the infection clears.

Mouthwash: Goldenseal tea or tincture can also be used as a mouthwash to treat oral candidiasis. The same preparation method as the vaginal douche can be followed and the solution should be swished in the mouth for one minute and then spit out. This can be done three to four times a day until the infection subsides.

Alternatives for Fungal Infections

ways can be used to treat fungal infections

Goldenseal is not the only natural herb that has antifungal properties. Other alternatives can be used to treat fungal infections, such as:

Oregon Grape Root

Oregon grape root is a herb that contains berberine, the same alkaloid that is found in goldenseal. It has similar antifungal effects and can be used in the same ways as goldenseal [5].

However, it may be less potent and more bitter than goldenseal.

Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract is a supplement that is derived from the seeds of grapes. It contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Grape seed extract can be taken orally or applied topically to treat fungal infections [6]. Grape seed extract having benefits like low price, and fewer side effects can be a good candidate as an antifungal supplement against infections.


Cloves are a spice that has been used for centuries for their medicinal and culinary properties.

One of the benefits of cloves is their antifungal activity, which can help fight various types of fungal infections, such as candida, athlete's foot, and ringworm [7].

Cloves can be used as a natural antifungal treatment in different ways. They can be consumed as whole or ground cloves, added to food or drinks, or taken as supplements.

They can also be applied topically as clove oil, diluted with a carrier oil, to the affected area. Clove oil can also be used as a mouthwash or toothache remedy, as it has antibacterial and analgesic effects.


What Is Goldenseal Most Commonly Used for?

Goldenseal is most commonly used for managing infections, especially those caused by bacteria or fungi. It can also be used for digestive disorders, such as diarrhea, dyspepsia, and gastritis.

Is Goldenseal Antimicrobial?

Goldenseal is antimicrobial, it can kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites [3]. It contains alkaloids such as berberine and hydrastine, which are linked to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Is Goldenseal Good for Fungus?

Goldenseal has antifungal properties that can prevent or treat fungal infections, as it is considered to be beneficial for fungus. It is against various types of fungi, such as Candida, Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, and Trichophyton [2]. Goldenseal can be used orally or topically, depending on the location and severity of the fungal infection.


Goldenseal has emerged as a powerful natural remedy to fight fungal infections, including Candida.

Its active compounds, especially berberine, have a potent antifungal effect by damaging fungal cell membranes and inhibiting important metabolic processes.

Research also confirms Goldenseal's effectiveness against various fungi, supporting its role in the treatment of Candida.

Besides some alternatives like Oregon grape root, grape seed extract, and clove, Goldenseal offers a comprehensive approach to managing fungal infections.


[1] Gao, Y., Swiggart, E., Wolkiewicz, K., Prabha Liyanapathiranage, Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Avin, F. A., Eleanor, Jordan, R. T., Kellogg, J., & Burkhart, E. P. (2024). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) Extracts Inhibit the Growth of Fungal Isolates Associated with American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). Molecules, 29(3), 556–556.
[2] 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.
[3] Egan, J. M., Kaur, A., Raja, H. A., Kellogg, J. J., Oberlies, N. H., & Cech, N. B. (2016). Antimicrobial fungal endophytes from the botanical medicine goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis ). Phytochemistry Letters, 17, 219–225.
[4] Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements (Online). (2024). Google Books.
[5] Reuter, J., Merfort, I., & Schempp, C. M. (2010). Botanicals in Dermatology. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 1–1.
[6] Eslami, H., Hossein Babaei, Solmaz Pourzare Mehrbani, & Sahar Khadem Nezhad. (2017). Evaluation of antifungal effect of grape seed extract (Gse) on candida glabrata and candida krusei: In... ResearchGate; unknown.
[7] Pinto, E., Luís Vale-Silva, Cavaleiro, C., & Salgueiro, L. (2009). Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 58(11), 1454–1462.
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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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