Side Effects of Goldenseal

Nausea and vomiting are some of the bothersome but usually not serious side effects of goldenseal. Potentially serious side effects that should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately include hives or a rash (signs of an allergic reaction) and fever or yellow skin (signs of kernicterus). Serious side effects are not likely to occur with short-term use of the supplement.

Does Goldenseal Cause Side Effects?

Even though it is a natural product, goldenseal may cause side effects, although short-term use of the herb appears to be unlikely to cause serious side effects in most healthy adults. At this time, the side effects of long-term use (or high doses of the herb) are currently unknown.
People often assume that natural products are always safe and free of side effects. However, this is simply not the case. It is reasonable to assume that any natural product with the capability to have medicinal properties may also have side effects.

Possible Side Effects of Goldenseal

Possible bothersome (although usually not serious) goldenseal side effects that have been reported include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.

Serious Side Effects

Possible serious goldenseal side effects (which should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately) include:
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:


    • A rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
    • Wheezing or other difficulty breathing.


  • Signs of kernicterus (brain damage due to severe jaundice) in a newborn, including:


    • Yellow skin
    • Increased or decreased muscle tone
    • Severe drowsiness and lethargy (much more than normal newborn sleepiness)
    • A high pitched cry
    • Fever
    • Arched back.


Because of the risk of kernicterus, goldenseal should never be given to a newborn. Kernicterus is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
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