Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is native to North America. Goldenseal is a perennial with a thick yellow root. The plant is small and only grows to about a foot in height. The plant produces small tri-petaled greenish-white flowers as well as a single, bright red, fruit that grows at the base. This raspberry look alike is not edible.
Goldenseal tends to grow in moist mountainous woodland areas. It prefers soil that is well covered in decaying leaves. Roots are harvested in the fall, but only from plants that have matured to three years old or older. The above ground plant can be harvested annually.
Native Americans, including the Cherokee, were known to mix goldenseal with bear fat and used it as an insect repellent. They also used goldenseal to treat wounds, ulcers, ear aches, and inflamed eyes.