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Goldenseal Tea

Goldenseal tea, commonly known as yellow root tea, is an herbal infusion made from the dried roots of goldenseal plant (Hydrastis canadensis) found in the eastern US and southeastern Canada. Its active constituents including a broad range of alkaloids are responsible for its brownish-yellow color and a slightly bitter taste.

Goldenseal Tea

History and origin

During the conquest and colonization of Americas by Europeans, the extensive use of goldenseal herb was noted among some of the local tribes of North America. The Cherokee and Iroquois were the first natives that used its roots and rhizomes to improve a variety of health conditions. Benjamin Smith Barton, in his 18th-century book, had referred to its use as an aid for cancer treatment. Goldenseal’s popularity grew over the years, and it has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Goldenseal Tea

Goldenseal Tea

Drug tests

Interestingly, the intake of goldenseal has been commonly associated with the altering of drug test results, as it is claimed to mask the illicit drugs passing through urine. However, no scientific studies have backed this popular belief, and its use will not produce false results for amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, barbiturates, THC, or other illicit drugs.

Goldenseal tea benefits

Detoxifying properties

Its rich alkaloid content assists in boosting liver functions, regulating the production of bilirubin in the liver, and getting rid of toxic substances from the body. As a result, its use minimizes the risks of developing hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other liver conditions that lead to jaundice. The cleansing action also helps to improve metabolism, thereby enhance burning of calories and facilitate in weight loss.

Antimicrobial properties

Owing to the presence of berberine and hydrastine, goldenseal tea acts as a natural antibiotic that helps in fighting against infection-causing bacteria. Its consumption fortifies the immune system and reduces symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, nasal congestion, sneezing, and hay fever that are associated with upper respiratory tract infections including common cold, influenza, laryngitis, pharyngitis, and tonsillitis.

Because of its antibacterial effects, regular consumption of a cup of goldenseal tea helps in alleviating the symptoms of urinary tract infections or cystitis caused by Escherichia coli as well as gonorrhea caused by gonococci bacteria.

Good for gastrointestinal disorders

This herbal beverage acts as a digestive aid by stimulating the production of enzymes such as bile and saliva, helping in treating a number of digestive problems such as intestinal gas, constipation, diarrhea, and peptic ulcers.

Goldenseal Tea Images

Goldenseal Tea Images

Alleviates pain and swelling

Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic property not just contributes to the improvement of hemorrhoids, colitis, gastritis, and stomach pain but also provides relief from vaginal swelling and pain associated with menstrual problems.


Recent animal studies have shown that the berberine content in goldenseal is beneficial in suppressing the growth of tumor cells, which aids in lessening the risks of melanoma, leukemia, as well as pancreatic, prostate, gastric, and pancreatic cancers.

Cardiovascular health

Its ability to improve irregular heartbeats as well as maintain a steady blood pressure comes from its active components. Preliminary results of research studies suggest that drinking goldenseal tea lowers elevated levels of triglycerides and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is beneficial for heart health.

Hemostatic effects

Its astringent property facilitates in contracting blood vessels and tissues, helping in stopping internal bleeding as well as prolonged postpartum bleeding.


Research has indicated that the chemical compound berberine found in goldenseal is a hypoglycemic agent that helps in bringing down high levels of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Goldenseal Root

Goldenseal Root

Other uses

  • When used as a mouth rinse, it relieves painful canker sores, swollen gums, and other periodontal problems.
  • Goldenseal can be applied topically, helping in the treatment of a variety of skin conditions such as cold sores, blisters, rashes, acne, and eczema. It is also effective against fungal skin infections like ringworm.
  • A weak goldenseal tea, applied as eye wash, provides relief from pink eye caused by allergies.

How to make goldenseal tea

  • Take 2 teaspoons of dried roots of goldenseal in a vessel
  • Pour 1-2 cups of hot water over the ingredient
  • Cover the container and steep the mixture for 15 minutes
  • Strain into teacups
  • Improve its taste by adding sugar or honey
Goldenseal Plant

Goldenseal Plant

Safety and precaution

Side effects

Drinking of goldenseal tea is safe if taken in moderate amounts on a short-term basis. Long-term consumption should be avoided, though, as there is no conclusive evidence about the safety of its prolonged use.

During pregnancy

Women who are expecting or breastfeeding should avoid its intake since the chemical components of goldenseal may result in a type of brain dysfunction, called kernicterus, in fetuses and newborn infants.

Goldenseal Tea Pictures

Goldenseal Tea Pictures

Where to buy

Goldenseal tea bags and dried root powder are sold online as well as in local herbal tea stores. You can also order online a tea blend consisting of Echinacea herb and goldenseal root.

Article was last reviewed on 6th December 2022

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