What Is Goldenseal?
Goldenseal (Gelsemium) is a plant native to South America. It grows naturally in moist areas such as savannas, but it is not known to grow anywhere else. It was first discovered when a miner found some leaves while working near Bolivia’s Lake Poso in 1875. Since then, it has been used medicinally and recreationally throughout history due to its hallucinogenic properties. Today, it is one of the most popular psychoactive drugs in the world.
How To Grow Goldenseal For Profit?
Growing goldenseal for profit is a very profitable business. You can sell your plants at a local market or even online. There are many ways to grow goldenseal successfully, so read on to learn more!
1. Growing Goldenseal From Seed
If you want to start with goldenseal seeds, you need to buy them from a reputable source. If you don’t have any money, there are other options. You could try buying them from a garden center or nursery. They usually sell seeds for $10-$20 each. However, they may not always be fresh and sometimes they aren’t good quality either!
If you want the best seeds, find a reputable online dealer. It will cost more (usually $20-$200 per pack), but they are fresh and of the highest quality. You can also get free Goldenseal seeds online, but they may be old or of poor quality.
You will need to prepare your growing medium before planting your seeds. A good seed starting mix is all you need. Fill up your pots with it and make sure they are firmly in place. Now make small holes in the soil with a pencil or anything similar. Drop your seeds in the holes and cover them up.
Try to keep the soil lightly pressed down.
Place the pots in a sunny spot, but out of direct sunlight. The seeds need warmth to sprout, but they also can’t get too hot or they will die. Wait a few days (maybe 3-4) and your seeds should start sprouting. Now you can take your pots to a sunny spot.
Spraying the soil with water every day will help keep it from drying out and will provide nutrients your plants can feed on. Take care not to get water on the seed as this could cause it to rot. You also should prevent other plants from growing close by, as they may compete for nutrients and sunlight.
2. Growing Goldenseal From Root Cuttings
This is a good way to quickly grow goldenseal plants, but you need to take some precautions. First of all, you should buy healthy plants or take cuttings from healthy plants. You will need to prepare your growing medium like before and place the pots in a sunny spot. Now comes the fun part! Wait until you see roots growing out of the stems of your new plants.
They may be a different color than the stems. Now you need to take each cutting and plant it in the growing medium (just like with seeds).
Once all of your plants are potted up, place them in a sunny spot. Water them every day and keep the soil sprayed down. You can start harvesting the roots in about 6-8 weeks.
3. Growing Goldenseal From Division
One of the easiest ways to grow goldenseal plants is by dividing your established plants (or purchasing already established ones). Start by digging up the plant and choosing a healthy division. If it has several stems, you can separate them and pot them up individually. Otherwise, you can replant the entire thing. Follow the steps from the root cutting method to grow these new plants.
You can also divide your plants in early spring. Wait until new growth begins and the ground isn’t frozen anymore. Using a garden fork, gently loosen the soil around the plant you want to divide. Spread the roots out and continue digging around it. You can separate the root ball into sections with several stems or keep them together.
Place the divisions in a sunny spot and water them in well.
Harvesting Goldenseal Roots
Your goldenseal plants will be ready to harvest about 6-8 weeks after growing them. You can start harvesting the roots in any way you see fit. The easiest way is to just pull them out of the ground—be careful not to damage the stems or leaves.
You can also cut the roots off with a knife or garden shears when they reach the desired size. Try to keep as much of the root system intact as you can. It is very important to keep your goldenseal plants healthy so they can grow more roots and, ultimately, produce more medicine.
After you harvest your roots, gently brush off the soil and then leave them out in the sun to dry for a few days. It is best to use drying rings or a dehydrator because the sun can discolor the roots. Drying them properly will ensure they keep their color, which makes them more marketable. They should be dry enough to store after a week or so.
Storing Your Goldenseal Roots
It is always a good idea to have some extra goldenseal roots stored away for the future. You can store them the way you did when you dried them or you can do what is known as “conditioning” them. This will allow you to store them for much longer periods of time.
To condition your goldenseal, dig a hole in the ground. Place your roots in the hole and cover it with dirt. Now take some plastic and cover the roots. Repeat this process until you have several holes and layers of plastic.
The roots will keep for up to five years this way! You can dig them up when you need them and replant them right away. You will need to water them in well and keep them in a sunny spot for a few days before you harvest them.
4. Growing Goldenseal From Seed
It is possible to grow goldenseal from seed, but it is much more difficult than growing it from root division or root cutting because the seeds don’t sprout until their second year. Sow the seeds in late fall (October) or early spring (April). They need a lot of sun, so plant them in a sunny spot that has well-draining soil.
Cover the seeds with about ¼ inch of soil and then keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. It’s best to water the seeds in using a watering can or hose with a narrow enough nozzle so you don’t wash the seeds away (or bury them).
Come back in the spring and check on them. You should see some seeds starting to sprout. Be patient, though. It can take up to 2 years for the seeds to sprout!
After the plants reach about 6-8 inches tall, you can transplant them into their permanent locations like you would with the other goldenseal varieties.
Harvesting and Using Your Goldenseal
Harvesting the roots is really quite easy. You can do it by hand or with a trowel. You will need to dig down until you can expose the entire root—this may involve digging up part of the plant so be careful not to damage it. It is best to harvest your roots in the fall, though you can harvest some in the spring if you need to.
After you harvest the roots, you can dry them out in the sun for a few days or even in a dehydrator. Once they are dry, clean off the soil and you are ready to slice and package them up for your customers.
Using your goldenseal is also quite easy. Just slice off the amount you need and steep it in hot water (or infuse it in alcohol) for about 15 minutes. Strain out the root and use as needed.
Goldenseal can be ingested or used topically, though you want to make sure you don’t use it in excess. Some people may experience allergic reactions or other side effects when using this herb so you should alwaystest the goldenseal on a small area of skin first before using it.
The best way to package goldenseal is to slice it into thin pieces and then dry it out. This will ensure that you have less mold and it is easier to store.
You can package the roots up in several ways. One way is to slice the roots and then place them in bottles of apple cider vinegar (with or without other herbs). People will use this as a digestive aid. Be sure to warn people not to drink the liquid straight! It needs to be taken with food.
You can also dry the root and powder it. People will use this in cooking or as a tea. It will have a very mild flavor.
You can even create a salve or ointment to use topically.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to make money with this root! All you need to do now is get those roots growing!
If you don’t want to grow your own goldenseal, you can always buy it from Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell organic and non-organic goldenseal root.
Be sure to read the shipping information located on their website. They only ship to US addresses and some of their products cannot be shipped to certain states.
You can also buy goldenseal root at most herbal stores and sometimes even local grocery stores in the herb section (though it might be in smaller quantities and more expensive than online). Be sure to read the label to see where it’s from.
Pricing can vary depending on where you buy it and in what form. You can get a 4 oz. bag of organic goldenseal root for about $9 online. That same amount would cost you about $15 if you bought it at a local herbal store. You can also find it at some natural food stores, but it will be more expensive.
Since goldenseal is not used as commonly in this day and age, it might be easier to buy it online.
How Much Goldenseal Should You Buy?
Are you ready to start selling your products?
The first thing you need to do is figure out how much goldenseal root to buy. This can depend on a lot of factors such as:
How much money do you have available to spend on the herbs?
How much room do you have to store the herbs?
How many customers do you think will be interested in buying your products?
Answering these questions will help you determine how much goldenseal to buy. If you get too little, you won’t be able to make as much money. If you get too much, you’ll just end up wasting your money.
A good starting point is around 10 ounces of goldenseal root. This will give you a decent amount to work with and you can always order more if needed.
GMO vs. Organic
In this guide, we’re going to go through how to grow and use organic goldenseal root. If you want to buy GMO (genetically modified organism) goldenseal, that’s your choice. But keep in mind that not everyone wants to use GMO products. It really just depends on what you think you’ll be able to sell better.
GMO products are also sometimes (though not always) cheaper than organic products. If you think you can save money by using GMO or don’t care either way, then go ahead and get the GMO.
You can find non-GMO, organic goldenseal at Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell it in quantities from one ounce all the way up to two and a half pounds. An ounce will probably cost you around $9.
Harvesting Your Goldenseal
The next step is to actually harvest your goldenseal. You will need:
A shovel (metal, not plastic)
A roll of paper towels or several regular towels
Containers to put your fresh roots in (buckets, bowls, etc.)
Labels (optional but helpful)
You should only harvest goldenseal in the spring. Once you think the ground has thawed enough, it’s time to get started.
Dig up your goldenseal plants (and only the ones you intend to harvest). You can tell which ones are ready to be harvested by their size and appearance. Larger plants usually have bigger and thicker roots. The older the plant, the larger the root. Harvesting one year old plants will result in very small roots while harvesting six year old plants will result in very large roots.
After you’ve dug up all the plants you want to harvest, gently scrub off the dirt and look for any discoloration on the root. Throw away roots that have dark spots, holes, or discoloration in general. It’s ok if there is a little bit of light discoloration as long as the root itself isn’t damaged. You should also remove any roots that are smaller than your little fingernail. These are typically very young roots and won’t have much of the healing compound in them.
You should have somewhere between one and six roots (though you can get more if you want). Let the soil dry off completely (it’s ok if your roots get a little bit dry as well) and then you can begin the next part: cleaning and drying your roots so they’re ready to be turned into goldenseal powder.
Cleaning Your Roots
The first step in cleaning your roots is to gently scrub off as much of the dirt as you can without damaging the root itself. Just use plain old water. You don’t need to use anything else (but you can if you want to).
After the roots are scrubbed, you then need to cut them into small slices about one quarter of an inch thick. Smaller slices will dry out quicker while larger slices will take longer. It’s up to you how large or small you cut them, but one quarter of an inch seems to work pretty well.
Arrange your slices out in a single layer on paper towels or regular towels and put something heavy on top (like a book) to press them down. Place the towels in a dark, dry place (like a cupboard) and check on them in 24 hours.
If the paper towel or towel is dry, remove the weight and replace the paper towel or towel with a new, dry one. If it’s still wet, you need to leave the weight on for another 12 to 24 hours and then replace the paper towel or towel again with a dry one.
Keep repeating this process until the paper towel or towel is dry. It should only take a week or so. Remember to turn your slices over halfway through the drying process so they dry out evenly.
Once your slices are dry, you can crush them into a fine powder using a rolling pin or something similar.
You can find goldenseal powder at Mountain Rose Herbs. A one ounce package will cost you about $5.
You can find goldenseal tincture at Mountain Rose Herbs as well. A one ounce bottle will cost you about $10.
You can also find liquid goldenseal extract at Mountain Rose Herbs. One ounce costs about $12.50.
You can turn your goldenseal powder into a salve, which is easier to use on your skin. To make the salve, just mix equal parts of goldenseal powder and coconut oil (or olive oil, or any other kind of oil). Spread it on your face at night before you go to bed.
It’ll take your skin about a week to get used to the salve. If your skin feels dry or itchy, decrease the amount of salve you use. If your skin feels greasy or oily, increase the amount of salve you use.
When I made my salve, I mixed one part goldenseal powder to one part coconut oil. You can change the amounts of course to fit your needs. Just make sure you mix equal parts of both.
You can also make a liquid tincture by mixing one part goldenseal powder with three parts vegetable glycerine (which you can purchase online or at a health food store). Put the powder and glycerine in a jar and shake it vigorously for a minute or two. Then let it sit for about a week (you can speed up the process by heating it gently over a bowl of hot water). Strain out the solid matter and you will have your liquid tincture. Put 10 drops in a glass of water, juice or tea once or twice daily for best results.
Goldenseal is great for treating acne. It will help clear your skin and keep it looking great. It can also be used to treat cold sores and other skin conditions.
It can be taken orally to treat sore throats, strep throat and tonsillitis. It can also be used to help fight off a cold or flu if taken at the very start of the infection.
It’s also been shown to be effective against bacterial infections in the lungs.
Goldenseal is not only great for treating acne, it’s also good for preventing it.
And it’s safe to use while you’re pregnant.
It’s a fantastic herb with many healing benefits. And, unlike Accutane, it’s not going to dry up your skin or cause birth defects. It’s the perfect acne treatment.
You can also buy goldenseal salve online. Mountain Rose Herbs sells a tube of it for $9.
Or, you can buy a bottle of liquid tincture online for about $12.
Either way, it’s a fantastic investment.
Make sure to buy goldenseal though. It may look like it, but wild ginger will not do the same thing.
Sources & references used in this article:
Comparative analysis of management regimes and medicinal plant trade monitoring mechanisms for American ginseng and goldenseal by CS Robbins – Conservation Biology, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Cultivating the increasingly popular medicinal plant, goldenseal: review and update by A Sinclair, PM Catling – American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, 2001 – JSTOR
Comparative analysis of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) population re-growth following human harvest: implications for conservation by MA Albrecht, BC McCarthy – The American Midland Naturalist, 2006 – BioOne
Ontario goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, populations in relation to habitat size, paths, and woodland edges. by A Sinclair, PM Catling – Canadian Field-Naturalist, 2000 – cabdirect.org
Synergy-Directed Fractionation of Botanical Medicines: A Case Study with Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) by HA Junio, AA Sy-Cordero, KA Ettefagh… – Journal of natural …, 2011 – ACS Publications
A New Glucosyl Feruloyl Quinic Acid as a Potential Marker for Roots and Rhizomes of Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis by CE McNamara, NB Perry, JM Follett… – Journal of natural …, 2004 – ACS Publications
Recovery of populations of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) following harvest by ME Van der Voort, B Bailey, DE Samuel… – The American Midland …, 2003 – BioOne