The scientific evidence does not support the use of goldenseal for any health-related purpose.

Berberine, a substance found in goldenseal, has been studied for heart failure, diarrhea, infections, and other health conditions. However, when people take it orally (by mouth), very little berberine may be absorbed by the body or enter the bloodstream, so study results on berberine may not apply.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is funding research to study interactions with medications in people.

Side Effects Of Goldenseal

Little information is available on the safety of goldenseal taken alone. It might be safe for most adults when taken by mouth in the short term. There is not enough reliable information to know if it is safe for long-term use.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use goldenseal, and it should not be given to infants. Berberine can cause or worsen jaundice in newborn infants and could lead to a life-threatening problem called kernicterus.

An NCCIH-funded study found that some commercial goldenseal dietary supplements didn’t contain much goldenseal and instead included ingredients not listed on their labels.

It may change the way your body processes many medications. If you’re taking medication, consult your health care provider before using.


Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.