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Goldenseal For Pets: Herb Facts, Use, and Safety

Herbs For Pets 4 min read
Goldenseal for pets herb facts

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a herb that has been traditionally used by the indigenous people of North America and gained popularity during the 19th century as a “cure-all” herb. Today, Goldenseal is still a popular herb for medicinal use and can be helpful in supporting the health of pets.

It is a perennial herb from the buttercup or Ranunculaceae family. It received its common name from the golden-yellow scars that appear along its stem and its thick yellow roots. It grows as a short shrub with large leaves and a singular flower that produces an inedible fruit. The herb grows wild in moist, mountainous areas but is now considered to be a vulnerable species. Goldenseal is often cultivated rather than wild-harvested in order to protect the species. At NHV, we pride ourselves on ensuring that all of our herbs are organically grown or ethically wildcrafted.

Patch of wild goldnseal (Hydrastis canadensis) plants in a woodland

Traditional Benefits and Use of Goldenseal

Goldenseal has the strongest affinities on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, lower urinary tract, eyes, and mouth

Goldenseal has the strongest affinities on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, lower urinary tract, eyes, and mouth. The indigenous peoples of North America have traditionally used it as an insect deterrent and ointment for wounds, ulcers, and inflamed eyes. The herb was used internally to treat liver and stomach issues. In the 19th century, the herb became commonly used for a number of infections including Tuberculosis, Staph, gastroenteritis, sinusitis, and colitis. Berberine and hydrastine are two alkaloids found in the plant that have properties that inhibit contact bacteria, fungi, parasites. The anti-inflammatory properties of Goldenseal help with supporting the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts as well as irritations of the mouth and eyes.

In the 20th century, Goldenseal became popular for very different use. Many people began using Goldenseal in the belief that it would hide illegal drugs from urine tests. While Goldenseal has many useful properties, providing a false-negative on drug tests is not one of them.

Photograph. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Reference to 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments. 2nd ed. New York, NY: DK Publishing Inc., 2000. Yellowish brown cluster of roots laying on a beige background

These are some of the properties that Goldenseal root has; antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, disinfectant, anti-catarrhal, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and immuno-stimulating. The herb continues to be used today, mainly for its astringent, antibacterial, and anti-catarrhal properties. Goldenseal contains alkaloids (hydrastine, berberine, berberastine), that exhibit a broad spectrum of antibiotic activity and act as contact disinfectants. When applied topically to inflamed skin or sores, the alkaloids act as an astringent and contact disinfectant to soothe inflamed mucous membranes. Goldenseal helps fight pathogens and fungal infections of the skin and increases the body’s immune response by activating macrophages.

NHV has 4 products containing Goldenseal root extract that have been formulated by a holistic veterinarian and a master herbalist to help transfer the many benefits of this excellent herb to pets, safely. These formulations can be beneficial for various health issues:

All Clear Ointment: A herbal ointment for skin issues such as dermatitis, bacterial or fungal infections, and skin irritations. It helps to speed healing, soothe inflamed skin, and reduce itching while eliminating bacterial and fungal infections.

Echo Gold: An all-natural ear drops formula with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic activity for topical use. Ear infections are a common condition caused by allergies, wax buildup, water, or small bodies (such as ear mites) in the ear. Echo Gold may help pets recover from ear infections and the irritating symptoms that result.

Ey-Eas: An herbal formulation with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory activities for conjunctivitis (pink eye) and watery eyes. These eye drops support the management of uncomfortable swelling, soothe uncomfortable itching, and help control increased discharge to restore eyes back to a healthy state. It also helps prevent the spreading of eye infections to other pets.

Felimm: A herbal supplement blend formulated to support pets with viral infections such as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Canine Herpesvirus. This formula supports a healthy immune system and helps fight against viruses. In addition, it helps fight infections, encourages detoxification of the lymphatic system, improves energy levels, and encourages appetite.

Goldenseal has many properties and medicinal effects that can be beneficial not only for humans but also for our pets. There are many products and recipes available with Goldenseal for pets, however, Goldenseal can be dangerous in excess. It is important to make sure that, if you are giving Goldenseal to your pet, you have the correct dosage for them. All of NHV’s products are formulated specifically to be safe for pets based on their weight. This herb is not safe for pregnant and lactating pets as it can stimulate uterine contractions and can be transmitted to breast milk. If you or your vet have any questions about Goldenseal and if it is right for your pet, feel free to contact us.

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: May 12, 2020

4 replies

  1. Cassandra says:

    We have 12 weeks old bunnies. One of them got into my cats water last night. I am worried she will get sick. My cat has always had watery eyes and sneezing. The vets just give her a cortisol shot every year and sometimes eye cream. I was looking up natural ways to protect my bunny. I am so afraid it will get sick because of drinking the cats water. Can I give some of this goldenseal as a preventative? Or should I get it to have on hand to be ready if anything were to happen to my bunnies. Also, hoping to use it on my cat. What dosage would I use for my bunny?

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Cassandra,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to us.

      We’re sorry to hear that your little one accidentally gave you a scare like this! As pet parents as ourselves, we know how terrifying these moments can be. Please know that our whole team is right here with you and you can feel free to reach out to us any time.

      We spoke to our in-house veterinarian, Dr. Amanda for you and she says that your little one won’t get sick just because she has drank your kitty’s water, however, if your kitty has some type of infection that can be transmitted through water, that may be a risk.

      Goldenseal, when used in pet-formulated dosages, could be helpful for your bunny. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help to inhibit infections.

      You can definitely use Goldenseal for both your kitty and your bunny, however, the dosages will be different. The dosage for a rabbit is 0.5ml, twice a day and the dosage for your kitty will be determined by your cat’s weight.

      Here is a link to our product page for our Felimm blend, which can help to support the immune system and encourages detoxification of the lymphatic system. Both your sweethearts can use this and we suggest using the “dosage” tab to determine what your kitty’s dosage would be.

      We hope this information helps! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions whatsoever!

      Sending lots of love and light to you and your furmily.

      Yours in wellness,
      Team NHV

  2. Donna Gionet says:

    I have heard that Goldenseal can be given to a diabetic cat in lieu of insulin to keep the blood sugar down. Is this possible? If so, what product and dosage is appropriate for my 18 lb, 14 year old diabetic cat?

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Donna!
      Thank you for your wonderful question!

      Goldenseal is a herb known for its various medicinal properties, including antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. While some people believe that goldenseal may help regulate blood glucose levels, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support its effectiveness for this purpose, especially in cats.
      NHV Mellit, Pet Omega 3, and Turmeric are examples of supplements that are designed to support diabetic pets by addressing factors such as blood sugar regulation, inflammation, and overall health. However we have to note that none of them can substitute insulin. They can help decrease the side effects and potentially reduce the required insulin dosage, but not eliminate the need to take the medication completely.

      We hope this information helps, please let us know if you need any further guidance! We’re always here to help!

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