Why Goldenseal is a Key Ingredient in Botnia Skincare

There are so many botanicals at Botnia that we can’t get enough of, but one in particular stands out as perhaps Justine’s ultimate favorite for healing skin in the treatment room. 

Goldenseal. How we love you. 

What makes this plant different from the others we use in our products is that it’s an endangered species. At Botnia, we only use goldenseal that’s grown specifically for use in skincare; we never use wild-harvested goldenseal, meaning none of our goldenseal was found in the wild where it’s endangered from over-harvesting. We’re also happy to share that we now use both goldenseal leaf and root in our products to treat a wide range of disease and disorder in the skin. While the root is more frequently used in herbalism, we’ve discovered through research and testing that goldenseal leaf treats the skin in similar ways, and is a more sustainable way to work with this plant. If you’re experiencing chronic skin conditions like eczema or acne, goldenseal just might be what you need in your skincare routine. 

Its many uses//

Also known for its common name yellow root by native North American Indians, goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been used medicinally as a potent plant antibiotic and is a popular remedy for both internal and external uses. Used for soothing the skin and treating wounds, goldenseal’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and astringent actions are beneficial in healing skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne. It has been applied topically in herbal solutions to alleviate itchy rashes, fungal conditions, cold sores, herpes blisters, ulcers, infections from wounds to the skin, dandruff, cradle cap, and ringworm. Taken internally, it’s used as a remedy for colds, fever, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and sore throats.

You’ll find goldenseal in these Botnia products:
Gentle Cleanser (Leaf extract)
Daily Face Wash (Leaf extract)
Toner (Leaf extract)
Clarity Oil (Leaf)
– Goldenseal Cure (Root extract, professional back bar only, can be added to the Daily Face Cream by a Botnia esthetician)

Its powerful chemical constituents// 

Goldenseal’s antimicrobial properties are attributed to the isoquinoline alkaloid constituents found primarily in berberine and hydrastine. Berberine has demonstrated amoebicidal, antibacterial, antifungal, cytotoxic, and hepatoprotective (prevents damage to the liver) actions. It’s a bitter-tasting and yellow in color plant that’s most commonly used to treat diabetes to reduce blood sugar levels, take down high levels of cholesterol, and lower high blood pressure. Berberine can also be found in other plants like Oregon grape root, phellodendron, goldthread, and tree turmeric.

Berberine Molecule

Hydrastine is a chief alkaloid of goldenseal, demonstrating expectorant, emetic, and antiamoebic activities. These alkaloids’ skin-healing properties create a potent astringent effect on mucous membranes. This effect calms and heals the skin and can be beneficial to irritated and inflamed skin. The alkaloids also destroy many types of bacteria and relieve congestion.

Hydrastine molecule

Growing goldenseal at the micro-farm//

We’re also tending to our very own goldenseal plants at the Botnia micro-farm! It’s a little experiment because this plant doesn’t readily grow in California, but if we can make it work, we’ll have a more sustainable supply of our own goldenseal. Our aim is to source Botnia’s botanicals as close to home as possible, and straight from our own micro-farm is the ideal. Right now, the goldenseal plants are in nursery pots and we’re looking to see where we’ll plant them on the farm long term. So far, they look like they’re happy and thriving!

Goldenseal is typically found in eastern North America from Vermont down to Georgia and west towards Alabama, Arkansas, and Minnesota. It prefers rich, moist loamy soil and about 75% shade (though it doesn’t like having wet feet). If you’re in an area where you can grow goldenseal, United Plant Savers has a thorough cultivation and growing guide you should definitely check out! Goldenseal is precious and potent, and we definitely want to see it thriving in the wild once again. 


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