Goldenseal extinction.

Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 21:28:47 MST
From: Michael Moore <hrbmoore.RT66.COM>
Subject: Re: Echinacea and Astragulus

>While on the subject of goldenseal, does anyone know of a source for the plant. I have been looking for it for some time.

Good idea...the condition of Golden Seal is DISASTROUS these days. Most of what is on the market is being illegally poached from the grimly diminished wild populations, since the floods and heavy precipitation of the last couple of years has ruined a large part of the Golden Seal that was in cultivation.

Golden Seal and Echinacea preparations are the BEST selling herb formulas over the last several years, with every product line brainlessly adding to the problem by HAVING to include another one in THEIR product line...meanwhile the plants are disappearing from the wild at an ever-quickening pace to feed our nitwit lemming marketing fads.

Sorry...I am NOT down on wildcrafting...I have done it for almost 30 years, and taught it for over 20 years...but EVERY GODDAMN STAND of Golden Seal that I coppiced for years in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks (I use primarily the secondary leaf for fresh plant tincturing, and rarely gather roots unless to transplant) has been wiped out in the last four years...three years ago I found perhaps a dozen plants that still survived in SEVEN localities in SIX counties in TWO states...there had been thousands the year before.

Michael Moore (

From: Vicki Latta <luna.BBS.TSF.COM>

Like Michael, I found not a single plant of wild goldenseal last summer, despite rambling and foraging at least 400 miles last summer on foot through some of the most remote mountainous areas of the Northeastern US. I found a few ginseng plants, quite a few wild orchids, but not ONE specimen of goldenseal. They MAY still be out there..... we can only hope......

Like another herb list member... I have been using gold thread (Coptis trifolia) the past two years in place of goldenseal.

Gathering goldthread is a labor of love; carefully following those tiny threads through the rotting leaf mold on the forest floor takes time, if one is not to disturb the surrounding plants. But what a way to spend a fall day... out of the wind, sitting on the forest floor cushioned by newly fallen leaves, soaking up the fading sun's warmth, and gathering medicine for the coming winter. It's not a "grab it and dash off" kind of plant. Maybe that "difficulty" in gathering gold thread will save it from the destructive over- harvesting that has decimated the goldenseal population?

BTW, does anyone know if the leaves (of the gold thread) contain sufficient amounts of the active ingredients to be useful?

Praying for spring and the return of things green, here in the frozen north....


From: Colette Gardiner <coletteg.EFN.ORG>

Re the person who was asking about Goldenseal lowering blood sugar. Well it's a common enough occurance that I've seen it happen several times over the years and generally advise my students that it is one of the many side effects of Goldenseal. There is an abundance of anti-infective herbs out there, probably another would do better in your case.

Colette Gardiner