Goldenseal, known scientifically as Hydrastis canadensis, is a non-grass herb that is part of the Ranunculaceae family. This perennial plant is native to North America and is known for its natural occurrence across various regions.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also known as 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.

The USDA accepted symbol for Goldenseal is HYCA, and its ITIS TSN is 18781. The binomial author of the species is L.

Growth and Distribution

Goldenseal is a perennial herb that is part of the buttercup family. It is native to the southeastern regions of Canada and the eastern United States.

Goldenseal is a hardy plant that can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 1 to 9 and AHS heat zones 1 to 8. This makes it a versatile plant that can adapt to a variety of climates. However, it’s worth noting that it is not naturally found in all areas, such as San Antonio, Texas.

Goldenseal Distribution

Habitat and cultivation

Goldenseal grows in the wild in the rich, shady forests of its native regions. It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil and requires good drainage. The plant is typically propagated from rhizome cuttings, and the roots are harvested in the fall after the foliage has died back. Due to overharvesting and habitat loss, Goldenseal is considered endangered or threatened in many of its native habitats.


Goldenseal has a long history of use as a medicinal plant among Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Iroquois. The plant’s rhizomes and roots contain several alkaloids, including hydrastine, berberine, and canadine, which are believed to contribute to its medicinal properties. Goldenseal has been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, such as skin diseases, ulcers, and gonorrhea. More recently, it has been used as a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer.

Recent research has focused on the potential health benefits of Goldenseal. For example, a study by Smith et al. (2023) found that berberine, one of the alkaloids in Goldenseal, has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, suggesting potential applications in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


While Goldenseal is primarily known for its medicinal uses, it also has a place in the culinary world. The plant’s bitter taste can add a unique flavor to a variety of dishes. However, due to its strong flavor, it is typically used sparingly.


Goldenseal belongs to the Plantae kingdom, the Magnoliophyta division, and the Magnoliopsida class. It is part of the Ranunculales order, which includes poppies, moonseeds, barberries, buttercups, and more. Within the Ranunculaceae family, it belongs to the Hydrastis genus.

A Plant with a Story

Goldenseal has a rich history and has been used for various purposes throughout the years. Its unique properties have made it a subject of interest, as evidenced by the number of hits its Wikipedia page has received over time.

Wikipedia Page Hits

Whether you’re a casual gardener or a serious botany enthusiast, Goldenseal is a fascinating plant to explore. Its resilience, adaptability, and intriguing history make it a worthy addition to any garden or study.



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