Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goldenseal , Nice Herbs

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis, Yellow Root, Ground Raspberry, Wild Tumeric.) This lovely woodland plant native to the hardwood forests of the US was found originally as far North as Wisconsin and Vermont and as far south as Georgia and Alabama. Some wild stands of Goldenseal still exist in these areas, but due to increased popularity in the herb trade, plants in the wild are now endangered due to over-harvesting and urban sprawl, overtaking habitat.

There are numerous growers around the country who are now cultivating Goldenseal both in woodland settings or in large field production under shade cloth. It is considered essential to the preservation of this plant to use only Goldenseal root that has been cultivated rather than wild Harvested.

As backyard herb growers, Goldenseal is one of the easiest of the woodland herbs to cultivate in a shade garden setting. The lovely green palmate leaves unfurl in early spring and soon the small white flowers appear.

Eventually, each plant produces its red raspberry-like seed which is very striking as the foliage yellows the seed ripens. The plants will spread by their roots and eventually form a crowded mat. The distinctive yellow root is harvested in late Fall after the foliage dies back. Usually plants reach a harvestable size by 4 to 6 years old.

Although Goldenseal is quite drought tolerant once established some watering the first few years especially in dry Summer climates helps the process along. A deep mulch of hardwood leaves or chips is ideal. The plants must be protected from slugs and snails when they first emerge in the spring.

Several Native American tribes used Goldenseal root as an important medicinal. The Iroquois used it for coughs, digestive upset and pneumonia. The Cherokee used Goldenseal for snake bites, as a tonic herb and as a anti-microbial wash for wounds. The early American Pioneers also used Goldenseal as an antiseptic, a digestive and a respiratory herb and by the 1860's, the wild harvested root was in high demand.

Goldenseal has continued to be one of the most popular western herbs for many years and is an integral ingredient in many of the herbal formulas of the 19th and 20th century. The Yellow root is rich in berberine and hydrastine and is one of the best herbal remedies for all issues involving mucous membranes from sinus infections to ear Infections to pink-eye.

Goldenseal is also an excellent digestive bitter stimulating bile production and helping stomach upset. Used topically it is an excellent antiseptic for wounds and skin infections of all kinds.

An essential for the herbalists medicine chest, Goldenseal is an officially endangered plant in the wild and is in need of preservation. There are other analog herbs which are similar to Goldenseal medicinally, but Goldenseal is a unique and powerful medicine and your homegrown fresh Goldenseal roots will be a medicinal treasure to work with. Herbaceous Perennial.

Thank natural to make herbals for good life!

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