U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version

July 1999


Published by National Agroforestry Center, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Station, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, East Campus – UNL, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0822.


Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a valued medicinal herb which has been collected from hardwood forests in eastern North America for hundreds of years. The historical range for goldenseal is north into Canada, south to Alabama, and west to Kansas. Overharvesting of goldenseal has caused serious reductions in populations reported in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and eastern Kentucky. In 1997, goldenseal was listed on Appendix II of the Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty monitoring trade in threatened and endangered species. Designed to protect the species, this listing imposed controls on goldenseal trade. This has not stopped people from collecting it, however, and populations continue to decrease. Due to this, the cultivation of Goldenseal has proven to be profitable.