Hydrastis canadensis, Linne'. The dried rhizome and roots with not more than 2 p.c. stems and leaves, nor 2 p.c. other foreign organic matter, yielding not less than 2.5 p.c. ether-soluble alkaloids, or more than 3 p.c. of acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. N. America, Canada, east of the Mississippi; rich woodlands, mountains.

Syn. Golden Seal, Yellow (Orange) Root, Yellow Puccoon (Indian Paint), Turmeric (Jaundice) Root, Ohio Curcuma, Indian Turmeric (Dye), Ground Raspberry, Eye Balm (Root), Yellow Eye; Br. Hydrastis Rhizoma; Fr. Racine Orange, Sceau d'Or; Ger. Hydrastiarhizom, Canadische Gellbwursel.

Hy-dras'tis. L. fr. Gr...., water, + ... to act -- i.e., alluding to the active properties of the juice, or to the plants growing in marshy places.

Can-a-den'sis. L. of Canada -- i.e., its northern habitat limit.

Golden Seal -- i.e., its yellow scarred rhizome, once used as a paint and dye.


Perennial herb 15-30 Cm. (6-12') high, simple, hairy, 2-leaved near apex, one sessile at top, the other an inch or so below with thick petiole; leaves pubescent, round, cordate, palmately 5-7-lobed, pointed, serrate, 10-22.5 Cm. (4-9') wide; flowers May-June, only one, greenish-yellow, arising from upper leaf on a peduncle; fruit compound red berry, 12 Mm. (1/2') thick, composed of 12 or more 1-2-seeded berries like raspberry.


horizontal or oblique growth, subcylindrical, flexuous, 1-5 Cm. (2/5-2') long, 2-10 Mm. (1/12-2/5') thick, grayish-brown, longitudinally wrinkled, annulate from scars of bud-scales; upper surface occasionally with stem-or leaf-bases, many stem-scars; under and lateral surfaces with easily detached filiform roots, up to 35 Cm. (14') long, and 1 Mm. (1/25') thick; yellowish; brittle; curved, twisted, matted, or broken; fracture short, waxy; internally deep yellow, or greenish-yellow, enclosing an interrupted circle of small fibro-vascular bundles; odor distinctive; taste bitter.


brownish-yellow -- numerous starch grains, .002-.015 Mm. (1/12500-1/1650') broad, parenchyma and fragments of tissues with fibro-vascular bundles, tracheae, tabular cork cells, no calcium oxalate crystals. Test: 1. Moistened with water, mounted directly in sulphuric acid shows numerous acicular, or rod-shaped crystals. Solvents: alcohol; diluted alcohol; boiling water. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).


RHIZOMES of Aristolochia Serpentaria, Aristolochia reticulata, Cypripedium hirsutum, Cypripedium parviflorum, Asarum canadense, Xanthorrhiza apiifolia, and roots of Styloph'orum diphyl'lum.


The Cherokee Indians used hydrastis very early as a domestic remedy and dye, and although they disclosed its value to the American settlers, it did not attract medical attention until 1798, but soon thereafter became popular with the "Eclectics" and later one of our important drugs.


Hydrastine 1.5-3.14 p.c., Berberine 3-4 p.c., Canadine (resin, fluorescent compound, starch, sugar, gum, fat, coloring matter), ash 5 p.c.

Hydrastina, Hydrastine, CHON. -- This characteristic colorless alkaloid is obtained by adding hydrochloric or sulphuric acid in excess to an alcoholic tincture of hydrastis, whereby the corresponding berberine salt deposits in crystals; to the filtered mother-liquor add ammonia water until acidity is nearly neutralized, strain to remove ammonium salt, concentrate to a syrupy consistence and pour this into 10 volumes of cold water, to remove fat and resin; to the filtrate, containing crude hydrastine salt, add ammonia water in excess to precipitate impure alkaloid, which may be purified by dissolving in diluted sulphuric acid, again precipitating with ammonia water and repeated crystallization from hot alcohol; also prepared synthetically; occurs in white, creamy white, glistening prisms, white microcrystalline powder, , permanent soluble in benzene, alcohol (170), hot alcohol (22), chloroform (1.4), ether (175); insoluble in water; saturated alcoholic solution alkaline, melts at 131 degrees C. (268 degrees F.). Dose, gr 1/4-1/2 (.016-.03 Gm.).

Hydrastinae Hydrochloridum, Hydrastine Hydrochloride, CHON.HCl, N.F. -- The hydrochloride of the alkaloid hydrastine obtained by dissolving the pure alkaloid in alcoholic solution of hydrochloric acid, concentrating until crystals appear; occurs as a white, creamy-white powder, odorless, hygroscopic; soluble in water, alcohol, slightly in chloroform, ether; aqueous solution (1 in 10) neutral, slightly acid. Tests: 1. With silver nitrate T.S. -- white precipitate, insoluble in nitric acid; with sulphuric acid - yellow color, changing to purple on heating. 2. With sulphuric acid containing .005 Gm. molybdic acid in each cc -- greem, olive-green, brown; substitute selenous acid for molybdic acid -- light green color, changing to brown; with nitric acid -- reddish-yellow color; incinerate .1 Gm. -- ash non-weighable. 3. Solu-tion of .1 Gm. in diluted sulphuric acid 10 cc. -- no blue fluorescence (abs. of hydrastinine), but gradually adding potassium permanganate T. S., avoiding excess -- blue fluorescence develops. 4. Aqueous solution (1 in 20) -- not reddened by chlorine water (abs. of berberine). Should be kept dark, in well-closed containers. Dose, gr. - (.016-.03 Gm.).

Hydrastininae Hydrochloridum, Hydrastinine Hydrochloride, CHON.HCL -- This hydrochloride of the artificial alkaloid is obtained by the oxidation of hydrastine with an oxidizing agent (nitric add, potassium dichromate or permanganate, etc.) in acid solution; dissolve hydrastine 10 Gm. in nitric acid 75 cc., heat to 600 C. (1400 F.), upon cooling opianic acid crystallizes out, add to filtrate potassium hydroxide solution to precipitate hydrastinine, purify by recrystallizing from benzene or acetic ether, dissolve crystals in hydrochloric acid, crystallize from alcohol; occurs in light yellowish needles, yellowish-white, crystalline powder, odorless; soluble in water, alcohol, chloroform (195), ether (1820); aqueous solution (1 in 20) neutral, with blue fluores-cence, especially when highly diluted, melts at 2100 C. (4100 F.) with partial decomposition. Used chiefly for uterine hemorrhage (hypo-dermically), also as oxytocic; slows heart, but increases force of con-traction, motor-depressant, paralyzant. Dose, 1/3-1/2 Gm. (.02-.03 Gm.), in 10 P. C. solution.

Berberine, CHON. -- This colored alkaloid is obtained by the preceding process for separating hydrastine; occurs in bitter yellow needles, crystalline powder, soluble in hot water or alcohol; the hot alcoholic solution with iodine gives dark green lustrous scales; forms several yellow salts, carbonate, hydrochloride, phosphate, sulphate, etc., which dissolve in water with difficulty; found also in berberis, calumbe, coptis, menispermum, xanthorrhisa, etc. Dose, gr. J-1 (.03-.06 Gm.).

Canadine, CHON. -- This forms white needles; in alcohol solution, with iodine get yellow crystals; it is called sometimes tetrahydro-berberine, and differs from hydrastine in being more soluble in acetic ether and alcohol; only the hydrochloride and sulphate are easily soluble in alcohol or hot water; the name xanthopuccine once assigned to it, but as such it was very likely impure berberine.




1. Fluidextractum Hydradia. Fluid-extract of Hydrastis. (Syn., Fldext. Hydrast., Fluid Extract of Hydrastis, Fluidextract of Golden Seal; Br. Extracturn Hydrastis Uquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide d'Hydrestis; Ger. Hydrastisfluidextrakt.)


Similar to Fluidextracturn Ergotme, pap 63; lst menstruum: alcohol 60 cc., water 20, glycerin 10; 2d: 67 p. c. alcohol; reserve first 75 cc., in which dissolve soft extract, &my and add 2d q. s. for 100 cc. to contain 1.8-2.2 Gm. of ether-soluble alkaloids. Dose, Mv-W (.3-2 cc.): Preps.: 1. Mistura Rhei Aadina, N.F., 4/5 p.c.

2. Elixir Hydrastis Compositun, Alkaline Elixir, N. F., fldext. 1.75 p. c. + fldexts. oat, xanthox. u 1.75, fldexts. gentian, ginger U .875, sodium bicarb. .875, efix. arom. q. s. 100.

2. Extractum Hydrastis, N.F.; yields 9-11 p. c. of ether-soluble alkaloids, and 1 Gm. represents 4 Gm. of hydrastis. Dose, gr. 1-10 (.06-.6 Gm.). 3. Tinctura Hydrastis N. F., 20 p. c. (67 p. c. alcohol) -- Dose, 3 ss-1 (2-4 cc.). II. Hydrastine: 1. Liquor Hydrastinae Compostus, Colorless Hydrastine Solution, N. F., 3/10 p. c. Dose 3 ss-1 (2-4 cc.).

Unoff. Prep.: Decoction, 5 p. c., Sj-2 (30-60 cc.). Hydrastin of "Eclectics" is a resinoid, prepared by exhausting the drug with alcohol, evaporating, and precipitating with acidulated HCL water; it is chiefly berberine chloride, which often occasions for it the substitution of the pure hydrochloride of that alkaloid, dose, gr. 2-6 (.13-.4 Gm.).


Upon digestion, circulation, respiration, and nervous system analogous to, but much milder than, strychnine. Bitter tonic, increases appetite, digestion, gastric secretions (berberine), and the flow of bile; antiperiodic, protolasmic poison, interfering with the white blood-corpuscle movement, alterative to the mucous membranes, deobstruent to the glandular system, antiseptic, cholagogue, diuretic. Hydrastine acts on the nervous system like quinine, but it is non-toxic, as large doom only produce warmth in the stomach and ringing in the ears.


Chronic dyspepsia and cystitis, catarrhs of the stomach, duodenum, gall-ducts, bladder, uterus and vagina, constipation, bronchitis, malaria, intermittent fever, jaundice. Locally in gonorrhea, leucorrhea, otorrhes, gleet, chronic nasal catarrh and pharyngitis, syphilitic sores in the mouth, nares, and throat, unhealthy intractable ulcers and sores, cancers, fistulas, hemorrhoids, fissured nipples, conjunctivitis, tonsillitis, hemorrhage. Hydrastine for chronic malaria is much weaker, but next in value to quinine; hydrastinine (hypodermic-ally) for menorrhagia and metrorrhagia. The yellowish liquids are objectionable owing to their staining qualities, for which, however, the Indians valued them in dyeing fabrics yellow; with indigo they impaft a fine green to wool, silk, and cotton.


Same as for nux vomica and strychnine.


Alkalies, mineral acids, tannic and other vegetable acids, chloral hydrate, potassium bromide, motor depressants.

Synergists. Quinine and the vegetable tonics upon the stomach, ergot upon the uterus, and strychnine upon the spinal cord.