Last update: May 21, 2021

Wild Curcuma

Increased level of risk

New scientific evidences have driven the Apilam staff to update the level of risk associated to this product.
Former level of risk, which was Low Risk, is now set to High Risk.

Level of risk reviewed on Dec. 21, 2020

High Risk for breastfeeding

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully.
Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives).
Read the Comment.

The root of this plant contains benzylisoquinoline alkaloids: hydrastine, berberine and canadine (ESCOP 2013) in concentrations that can be extremely variable (Edwards 2003).
In traditional medicine it is used for its healing, vasoprotective, digestive and antiseptic effects.
Can be administered orally or topically on the skin, buccal mucosa and eyes.
Note: this plant has no relation to turmeric (Curcuma longa, Indian turmeric).

At the date of the last update, the authors did not find any published data on its excretion in breast milk.

The association of its use with side effects such as hypertension (McCarty 2013) and phototoxicity (Chignell 2007, Palanisamy 2003, Inbaraj 2001) and hypernatremic intoxication in an 11-year-old girl (Bhowmick 2007) has been proven.
Chronic use has carcinogenic effects in animals (Chen 2013, Dunnick 2013, NTP 2010).

Berberine can cause gastritis, nephritis, phototoxicity and severe jaundice due to displacement of bilirubin bound to albumin, increasing risk of kernicterus in newborns, greater in the case of Glucose-6PD deficiency (Rad 2017, Chan 1993).

Given the scarce bibliographic references of this plant, its lack of proven indications and its possible toxicity, its habitual consumption is dispensable and more so during lactation (ESCOP 2013, Amir 2011, WHO 2007).

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999):
1. Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties, poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi.
2. Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of professional experts in herbal medicine. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which a large part of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors because they contain phytoestrogens if they are consumed in an exaggerated quantity or time.

See below the information of these related products:

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Wild Curcuma is also known as Hydrastis. Here it is a list of alternative known names::

Wild Curcuma in other languages or writings:


Wild Curcuma belongs to these groups or families:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Wild Curcuma in its composition:

  • Digestive™. Contains other elements than Wild Curcuma in its composition


Variable Value Unit
Tmax Hidrastine: 1.5 ± 0.3 hours
T1/2 Hidrastine: 4.8 ± 1.4 hours


  1. Mandal SK, Maji AK, Mishra SK, Ishfaq PM, Devkota HP, Silva AS, Das N. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and its active constituents: A critical review of their efficacy and toxicological issues. Pharmacol Res. 2020 Oct;160:105085. Abstract
  2. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  3. Rad SZK, Rameshrad M, Hosseinzadeh H. Toxicology effects of Berberis vulgaris (barberry) and its active constituent, berberine: a review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2017 May;20(5):516-529. Abstract
  4. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Gupta PK, Barone G, Gurley BJ, Fifer EK, Hendrickson HP. Hydrastine pharmacokinetics and metabolism after a single oral dose of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) to humans. Drug Metab Dispos. 2015 Apr;43(4):534-52. Abstract
  6. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  7. Dunnick JK, Nyska A. The toxicity and pathology of selected dietary herbal medicines. Toxicol Pathol. 2013 Feb;41(2):374-86. Abstract
  8. Chen S, Wan L, Couch L, Lin H, Li Y, Dobrovolsky VN, Mei N, Guo L. Mechanism study of goldenseal-associated DNA damage. Toxicol Lett. 2013 Jul 31;221(1):64-72. Abstract
  9. McCarty CA, Berg RL, Rottscheit CM, Dart RA. The use of dietary supplements and their association with blood pressure in a large Midwestern cohort. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Nov 28;13:339. Abstract
  10. ESCOP - European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Hydrastis rhizoma - Goldenseal rhizome. ESCOP Monographs. 2013 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  13. Amir LH, Pirotta MV, Raval M. Breastfeeding--evidence based guidelines for the use of medicines. Aust Fam Physician. 2011 Sep;40(9):684-90. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. NTP - National Toxicology Program.. Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of goldenseal root powder (Hydrastis Canadensis) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (feed studies). Natl Toxicol Program Tech Rep Ser. 2010 Aug;(562):1-188. Abstract
  15. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 3. WHO monographs. 2007 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. Bhowmick SK, Hundley OT, Rettig KR. Severe hypernatremia and hyperosmolality exacerbated by an herbal preparation in a patient with diabetic ketoacidosis. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2007 Nov;46(9):831-4. Epub 2007 Jun 21. Abstract
  17. Chignell CF, Sik RH, Watson MA, Wielgus AR. Photochemistry and photocytotoxicity of alkaloids from Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) 3: effect on human lens and retinal pigment epithelial cells. Photochem Photobiol. 2007 Jul-Aug;83(4):938-43. Abstract
  18. Edwards DJ, Draper EJ. Variations in alkaloid content of herbal products containing goldenseal. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2003 May-Jun;43(3):419-23. Abstract
  19. Palanisamy A, Haller C, Olson KR. Photosensitivity reaction in a woman using an herbal supplement containing ginseng, goldenseal, and bee pollen. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(6):865-7. Abstract
  20. Inbaraj JJ, Kukielczak BM, Bilski P, Sandvik SL, Chignell CF. Photochemistry and photocytotoxicity of alkaloids from Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) 1. Berberine. Chem Res Toxicol. 2001 Nov;14(11):1529-34. Abstract
  21. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  22. Chan E. Displacement of bilirubin from albumin by berberine. Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):201-8. Abstract

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