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Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also called orangeroot or yellow puccoon, and also as yellow root or Indian turmeric, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to south-eastern 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. Goldenseal mostly reproduces clonally through the 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. In summer, it bears a single berry the size of a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds.
Goldenseal is mostly known due to its use in traditional medicine. However, there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if goldenseal has a justifiably good therapeutic index for any conditions. Research into the efficacy of goldenseal for a variety of uses is ongoing. In herbalism, goldenseal’s roots and rhizomes have been historically harvested and claimed to be a safe and effective multi-purpose remedy. Currently, some herbalists who support the use of goldenseal claim the herb’s efficacy is due to high concentrations of berberine and hydrastine. The herb is believed to possess some measure of anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, antibacterial, and immune system-enhancing properties.
Goldenseal extract contains berberine that has been found to have cleansing properties and be useful in products for blemished and irritated skin and can be useful for skin irritations making it a good ingredient for face cleansers, products for the sensitive skin, after-sun and bath products, and soothing lotions.
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