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Thanks to high levels of hydrastine and berberine, goldenseal offers antiviral and antibacterial benefits. A useful herb to keep on hand for general use, goldenseal finds its way into remedies for cuts and wounds, sinus infections, respiratory congestion, sore throats, and more.
Parts Used: Roots, primarily; leaves offer milder benefits
Precautions: Do not use goldenseal if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have high blood pressure. Goldenseal tincture contains concentrated tannins that can cause stomach irritation; stop internal use if this occurs.
Identifying/ Growing: Wild goldenseal once thrived in shady forests from Minnesota to Georgia, but habitat loss and overharvesting have led to its decline. With leaves and berries resembling those of the raspberry, these perennial shrubs grow to a maximum height of just 10 inches. Roots are thick and knotted, with bright yellow interiors. You can easily grow goldenseal in a protected area with deep, loamy soil and dappled shade. The rootstock should be divided into sections 1⁄2 inch or larger, and should then be placed approximately 8 inches apart at a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Plant the rhizomes in autumn, and keep the area mulched and weeded. Goldenseal has a very slow growth rate and takes up to 2 years to bloom. Your roots should be ready to harvest in 3 to 4 years.