Organic Goldenseal Leaves, Loose Leaf Herbal Tea - Sold Out
Item# OrganicGoldensealLeavesLooseLeafHerbalTea
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Organic Goldenseal Leaves Loose Herbal Tea

Goldenseal is a perennial North American native plant known for its ability to "enhance seasonal resistance."* Due to its popularity and the loss of habitat, goldenseal is listed in various states as threatened or endangered. We sell only certified organically cultivated goldenseal.

* Disclaimer: This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Botanical name: Hydrastis canadensis L.

Botanical Family: Ranunculaceae

Synonyms: orange root, yellow root, yellow puccoon, Indian turmeric, yellow paint



The Plant: Goldenseal is a North American perennial plant that grows in rich, open shady woods where it is often found in patches on hillsides. The stems of goldenseal bear only one large, lobed leaf, growing up to a foot high. Those stems that are fertile produce a single, white flower above the leaf in the spring that ripens in the late summer into a bright red raspberry-like fruit. Goldenseal root was used extensively by Native Americans who lived in the areas where goldenseal grew prolifically, such as the Cherokee, both as a dye plant for clothing and skin and as a traditional remedy. Its uses were adopted by early pioneers, and in 1760 it was introduced to England. It made its way into the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1860. Demand for the yellow-colored roots was fueled by the enthusiastic acclaim given it by the Eclectics.

The roots and rhizomes are the parts of the goldenseal plant most often used, although the leaves are occasionally used. The rhizomes are horizontal and knotted with rootlets coming off from the sides and underneath of the root. The plant spreads slowly by means of these underground stems. The name goldenseal comes from the seal-like stem scars on the top of the goldenseal rhizome and the yellow color of the roots and rhizomes.

Constituents of Note: Hydrazine (1.5 to 4%) and berberine (1 to 6%), are the most significant alkaloids present in the root with lesser amounts of canadine, berberastine, standalone and hydrastinine present.

Quality: Due to its high cost, goldenseal's most serious quality problem is adulteration, especially of the root powder. Adulterants include turmeric root, goldenseal leaf, yellow root, and dirt. Goldenseal leaf gives the powder a greenish cast that can be seen with the naked eye, but turmeric and yellow root adulteration are often not visually perceptible except under microscopic examination. Excess dirt can give a gritty taste to goldenseal root powder, but the best way to ensure purity is through an AIA (acid insoluble ash) test.

Goldenseal root has an earthy, bitter flavor and a bright yellow color.

Regulatory Status: Dietary Supplement

Did you know? A novel, Stringtown on the Pike, written in 1890 by famous Eclectic pharmacist, John Uri Lloyd included in the plot a conviction of one of the characters for murder based on finding strychnine in the victim's stomach. However, it was later uncovered in the novel, that berberine, an important constituent of goldenseal, produced the same test results, therefore convicting an innocent man. The murder victim's morning habit of taking bitters (an ingredient of which was goldenseal), was the cause of the false positive for the deadly poison. While the novel is not factual, it is believed this story is the basis for the erroneous belief that goldenseal can be taken to mask drug test results. Besides the use of goldenseal for this purpose by people, it was also used in racehorses where it was believed it would mask the use of morphine. Large amounts of goldenseal have, sadly, been used ineffectively in this manner, thus contributing to the decline of goldenseal populations in the wild.

Directions: To make a goldenseal root infusion, pour one cup boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon powdered goldenseal, stir well and let stand for 10 minutes.

Suggested Uses: Goldenseal is historically most associated with the mucous membranes with which it has an affinity. It was valued as a cooling, bitter tonic and used in small amounts to promote the overall strengthening of tissues. It was also combined with other herbs in various bitters recipes.

Today, goldenseal is best known for its ability to enhance seasonal resistance.* It can be used as an infusion (not very tasty), tincture or encapsulated.

Goldenseal leaf is less often used than root and is most often used in tea form, making a less bitter tea than the root. Its actions are similar but it is a milder, less powerful herb than the root, having much lower levels of the important constituents.

* Disclaimer: This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Caution/Safety: The Botanical Safety Handbook* classifies goldenseal as:

Class:2b Herbs not to be used during pregnancy.

*Michael McGuffin, ed., American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook, (New York: CRC Press, 1997)

Origins: Most of the goldenseal produced comes from North American and is either cultivated or harvested from the wild. Goldenseal plants in the wild are diminishing due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction. In some states, it is listed as endangered or threatened. Goldenseal was listed as Appendix II of CITES (International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1997. This listing requires that international trade of goldenseal root be regulated so as not to be detrimental to its survival in the wild, but it does not affect domestic trade.

We believe than only ethically wild-crafted or cultivated goldenseal should be used. All of our goldenseal root and leaf is certified organic and is cultivated in the state of Oregon.