Herb: Golden Groundsel

Latin name: Packera aurea

Synonyms: Senecio aureus

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Golden Groundsel:

Golden groundsel is a medicinal plant that is deserving of greater attention. This species was widely used by N. American Indians to treat various complaints of the female reproductive system, and also to ease childbirth. Whilst often stated to be completely safe to use, recent research has found that the plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that, in isolation, can cause liver damage and so this remedy can no longer be recommended for internal use. The roots and leaves are abortifacient, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, pectoral, stimulant and uterine tonic. It is used externally in the treatment of vaginal discharge. A tea made from the plant was frequently used by the N. American Indians as a remedy for various female troubles, including the pain of childbirth. Pharmacologists have not reported any uterine effects, but the plant does contain an essential oil (inuline) plus the alkaloids senecine and senecionine (which are poisonous to grazing animals). The plant is harvested before flowering and the roots are harvested in the autumn, both are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


80 cm
(2 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Rich calcareous woods and bottoms and upland swamps. Damp thickets and prairies.

Propagation of Golden Groundsel:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Root cuttings in early spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich calcareous woods and bottoms and upland swamps. Damp thickets and prairies.

Known hazards of Packera aurea:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.