Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): an annotated bibliography
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), a member of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), is an herbaceous perennial found in rich hardwood forests throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada. Originally used by Native Americans as both a medicine and a dye, the herb was eventually adopted by the settlers and eclectic physicians in the 19th century. The alkaloids in goldenseal have been found to have antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and tonic effects. Scientists and physicians continue to expand on the knowledge of the clinical applications and disease-fighting potential of the plant. Growing awareness of possible medicinal benefits has increased worldwide consumption, which, combined with a continual loss of habitat, has greatly reduced wild populations. Goldenseal has been listed under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II protection since 1997. Demand for cultivated roots has increased as wild populations become scarce, motivating research into propagation and cultivation techniques. More attention should be focused on: educating consumers about the appropriate uses of the herb in order to reduce overconsumption; working with growers to increase the profitability of cultivation and reduce pressures on wild plants; and identifying and tracking wild populations to determine the most effective management and conservation practices.