Goldenseal root is my very favorite herb to use with wounds or topical infections in birds. It turns skin and feathers yellow, but it is worth it. I  have often tamed raging infections spewing with pus by using warm goldenseal root tea compresses. Goldenseal root tea can safely be used anywhere on a bird’s body, including the eyes. 

To make goldenseal root tea, I pour 8 ounces boiling water (just off the boil) over one teaspoon of dried goldenseal root in a glass jar, seal the jar, steep for at least one hour, and discard after twelve hours. I use this tea re-warmed for washing wounds or as a warm compress for eyes or for spraying onto skin problems.


I also use powdered goldenseal root  for internal bacterial or fungal infections in birds. Birds will not willingly consume goldenseal, so the powder must be mixed into formula either for hand-fed babies or for adults who will be tube fed. I use a pinch, just enough to turn the formula deep yellow.

I purchase organic goldenseal root and organic goldenseal root powder from As goldenseal is endangered in the wild, please make sure to buy the cultivated, organic form of both root and powder. Store in sealed glass containers in the dark and label with a one year expiration.


When I have breeding birds with chicks in the nest,  I use a mixture  of Gaia goldenseal liquid extract in glycerin and Gaia echinacea liquid extract in glycerin in the drinking water for the parents. I use this for the first three weeks of the babies’ lives to ward off infection. I also use the above mixture in water, for a week to ten days, whenever my adult birds have been exposed to pathogens (like a dirty food or water bowl) and I want to prevent infection. To prepare the glycerin two-herb blend, I mix one part goldenseal to four parts echinacea and pour this into a new bottle with a dropper top to use for the drinking water mixture. I then label the storage bottle with a one year expiration date.

Note that the goldenseal and echinacea must both be plain goldenseal and echinacea – Gaia has various blends with a variety of herbs so it can be hard to figure out but you only want the plain ones, not the blends, so make sure to read the ingredients.

Lainey Alexander

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease