Goldenseal Root versus MRSA and Other Infections

Goldenseal Root ( HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS ) Goldenseal is one of the most anti-bacterial potent herbs in my herbal medicine bag for my family and pets. I consider Goldenseal Root one of my personal 10 herbs that are most important for health and healing.

Goldenseal Root History:
 Goldenseal is a perennial plant that naturally grows in deeply wooded areas in the states of Vermont, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio, Main, and that general area. The yellow root which will stain your hands and clothes contains the most medicinal properties and is prized. It has become so popular, that the native Goldenseal plants have been stripped from many areas. It has been harvested almost out of its natural existence. It takes 4-6 years to reach maturity. It is now being grown commercially since there is little natural Goldenseal left. It was first discovered by the North American Indians who used it for healing.

Traditional Native Usage:

Several North American Indian tribes including the Cherokees, Catawba, and Kickapoo used Goldenseal Root by either boiling the root, chewing the root or infusing the herb with water. This Goldenseal Root mix was used for a variety of ailments including skin diseases, sore eyes, colds, mouth sores, stomach ailments, urinary tract problems, and jaundice. The root was also used to make a dye to color their face, feathers, and clothes.

It seems to me that logically if using Goldenseal Root had not worked for the Indians, they would have discontinued using it. Long before the creation of antibiotics, people used herbs for illness and disease. The herbs did work most of the time, or there would be no one alive to be writing this article..Herbs are the main medicine in many countries today in 2018.

Modern drugs do not always solve the problem and neither do herbs. The medicinal properties of herbs are the basis for many modern medicines. Lab researchers extract the main effective element from the herb, then artificially reproduce it. This leads to a whole page of side effects that are created from isolating one or two medicinal elements from the herb, potentiating the dose, and making it artificially.

Established Goldenseal Root Medicinal Properties: via test tube

Berberine, an alkaloid, is the most important medicinal property of goldenseal root. The percentage of berberine is dependent on its maturity, where it is grown, and how it is dried and processed.

Berberine has been shown in research to lower blood pressure and improve irregular heartbeats.

Berberine can also lower blood sugar and LDL cholesterol in some individuals. That is why it is important to have your doctor’s supervision when using Goldenseal or when already taking prescription drugs.

Hydrastine is the second alkaloid that is considered medicinal in the root

Goldenseal has astringent properties as well which may be why the Indians used it for urinary infections.

In test tube studies, it shows antibiotic properties against Chlamydia, Salmonella typhi, E. Coli, Entamoeba histolytica.

Little US research is being funded on Goldenseal because drug companies cannot make enough profit to consider it worthwhile since you can purchase Goldenseal over the counter. In Germany, herbs are controlled by drug companies that profit from their sale. Research is funded by companies who want to make money selling the end result if it is effective.


How I use Goldenseal Root:

I have been using Goldenseal for 30-plus years and in my experience, it does work when used properly. There is a real problem with junk Goldenseal that is poor quality. I buy Goldenseal root from only two sources and it rarely disappoints me with its effectiveness. As far as I am concerned the proof is in the results used on real cuts and infected wounds. If the infection is stopped by the Goldenseal dressing then that proves to me it does work. In our family, I use powdered Goldenseal root on cuts and wounds when working on our farm. I make a paste with tea tree oil and Goldenseal powder and bandage it up. My husband who is an MRSA carrier and breaks out with an infection on his arm with the smallest cut uses it as a dressing. We personally have found it works better than the ointment the skin doctor gave him. I will say that for the MRSA infections on his arm, it is the combination of Goldenseal and Tea Tree Oil that is effective. Using Goldenseal or Tea Tree Oil by themselves knocks the infection almost out but not completely. Once we apply the combination of tea tree oil and the Goldenseal Root paste over a week, it wipes it out completely 80% of the time. The prescription the doctor gave him did not do the job either. So MRSA infections are tough. If what you are using is not working, and is not slowing down the infection, fight your doctor for better treatment. At times, the only thing that works on MRSA is IV antibiotics.MRSA can take over the system so rapidly that oral herbs simply can’t stop it such as in a dog bite or cat scratch. Nasty, dirty wire cuts are another one that can get infected rapidly. It is typical that one of the causes of death in the elderly is a deep bed sore that has an MRSA infection. That infection will take over the body shutting down organs, and overwhelming the system, resulting in death.

When we feel we are coming down with the flu or cold bug, I use Goldenseal / Echinacea extract shooters in grape juice with a few dashes of Kyolic garlic. It usually stops the infection from setting in. This is our regimen during the cold season.

MRSA infections can be deadly so please consult your holistic doctor if you have an MRSA infection.

After using herbs for 30-plus years, I know when an infection needs an emergency visit. Dealing with infections using herbs needs expertise and experience. Twice we have had odd bacterial skin infections that spread so rapidly it was scary and did not respond to the normal treatment we use. An emergency trip and antibiotic shots were needed. I learned the hard way the importance of gloves when doing yard work or gardening. I also immediately wash my hands first with lava soap, then tea tree washes, scrubbing the skin on my arms up to the elbows. I now wear gloves that protect my arm and forearm.

Important Note: Please Read

Many doctors will misdiagnose your skin infection as allergic dermatitis. We each were misdiagnosed by three different doctors including the emergency room and his regular doctor. Even the dermatologist insisted it was not staph. They were all proven wrong by the lab scrapings. They would not scrape the area for a lab test until we really got nasty. When they did each time it was either a bacterial infection or staph. My husband almost ended up in the hospital with his first staph infection because they refused to test the area. He ended up having to get antibiotic IVs to stop it. Any time he gets a tear in his arm, we immediately dress it with tea tree oil and Goldenseal.

A small staph wound can spread very quickly when ignored. If our dressing does not stem the infected wound rapidly, he goes to the doctor. That doesn’t happen often. The earlier you treat it, the better.

Skin infections can be stubborn and dangerous. There are so many infections that look similar but are not. Emergency rooms tend to ignore you when presented with a skin infection. There are heart attack patients and other serious problems and your skin infection does not seem to matter much to them. We have been really discussing the misdiagnosis of our skin infections that were NOT allergic dermatitis.


Safety Considerations: Goldenseal Root should not be taken when pregnant or given to babies. Goldenseal can lower blood sugar levels so if you have blood sugar issues whether high or low, be aware of this effect.


Adulteration and Quality Issues: Goldenseal Root

Goldenseal because it is expensive to grow, with almost 6 years to maturity, there is much room for companies to cheat on the quality of the actual herb. If it is picked too young, its healing properties will be significantly reduced. The ground powder can be cut with less expensive herbs that are yellow as well. If you find Goldenseal root that is really cheap, I would bet the quality is bad or that it is adulterated.

Drug Interactions:

Goldenseal root interacts with many prescription medicines by either lessening the effect of the medicine or making it more potent. That means that the medicine may stay in your system longer than normal, so when you take the next dose, it could lead to an overdose in your system.

If you have low blood sugar problems, taking Goldenseal could make you worse. I have low blood sugar but it does not seem to affect me. Every person and their reaction to an herb is individual. Your dose is individual as well. Start with the suggested dosage on the Goldenseal bottle label and see how you respond. The suggested dosage often is not enough to stem a real serious infection. Consult with your holistic doctor for the dose when sick.


Drugs that interact with Goldenseal root include Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), Digoxin (Lanoxin), Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.


User Input Comments:

Web MD has user input after their page addresses Goldenseal. It is worth your effort to visit this page and read what others have to say about Goldenseal’s effectiveness… Visit Web MD User comments



Protective effects of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) on acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity through inhibition of CYP2E1 in rats


Different concentrations of berberine result in distinct cellular localization patterns and cell cycle effects in a melanoma cell line.


Pub Med Published research studies on Goldenseal root’s main alkaloids here(over 40 published research studies)

The whole Goldenseal root has not had extensive double-blind research done on it. They isolated the two main alkaloids berberine and hydrastine and performed some test tube studies on only those two alkaloids. How can you adequately test the effectiveness of an herb without taking into account all its properties? All the properties contribute to its effects and effectiveness on illness. That is the problem with most research regarding herbs. Along with medicinal properties, there is a nutritional aspect such as garlic that influence its effectiveness on health.


Berberine isolated from Goldenseal has shown itself to be effective in the treatment of diarrhea and gastric inflammation.


The research results below are quoted from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center from their research on berberine and hydrastine in Goldenseal root. The whole root again was not researched, just the two main alkaloids. Please go to their site and read the whole area on Goldenseal. The studies were not on humans but via test tube research.


“The pharmacological action of goldenseal is attributed to the compounds hydrastine and berberine. The majority of clinical studies were not performed with goldenseal, but rather on berberine and hydrastine. Berberine has anti-microbial activity against certain pathogens such enterotoxigenic E. coli and V. cholera.


It also induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell lines (2) (15) (16) . One in vitro study found that berberine inhibited the growth of adherent and anoikis-resistant MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells to a greater extent than doxorubicin (4) . In one study, berberine alkaloids produced an average of 91% tumor inhibition against 6 malignant brain tumor cell lines both in vivo in mice and in vitro against human brain tumors (5) . Berberine alkaloids were also shown to have potent macrophage-activating and cytostatic activity against tumor cells. Another study performed in vitro tests on a series of human malignant brain tumor cells and rat brain tumor cells (6) . Berberine used alone at a dose of 150 mcg/ml had an average cancer cell kill rate of 91%. BCNU (carmustine) had a cell kill rate of 43%. Rats treated with berberine at 10 mg/kg had an 81% kill rate. The combination of both berberine and BCNU had additive effects in killing cancer cells.


In an animal study, berberine has been shown to prolong QTc interval and to help prevent ventricular fibrillation after myocardial infarction (17) . The hydrastine component induces constriction of peripheral blood vessels (13) . While two small clinical trials reported that goldenseal affects CYP2D6 (18) and CYP3A (10) , another could not confirm such effects (19) .”

Links for Futher Research:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *