There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing blankets of waving goldenrod in an open field. And if you didn’t know, the medicinal uses of goldenrod are just as far and wide and beautiful. This herb is one of nature’s greatest herbs that grow freely. A wonderful respiratory herb, UTI herb (urinary tract infection), anti-inflammatory herb, wound healer, and more. Goldenrod tincture is one of the easiest ways to preserve this herb, and I’ll give you a recipe for it further down. I can’t wait to share more about goldenrod with you in this article.
Just a quick note: people often think that goldenrod and ragweed are the same thing. They absolutely aren’t. In fact, most people aren’t allergic to goldenrod, period. While almost everyone is allergic to ragweed!
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Goldenrod: Medicinal Uses and Information
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) comes in a few different kinds. They are commonly known as European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea L.), Early goldenrod (S. gigantea Aiton), and Canadian goldenrod (S. canadensis L.). Early goldenrod and Canadian goldenrod are native to North America. Where I am, I can frequently harvest Canadian goldenrod. They all, generally, have the same health benefits.
Parts Used: Leaves and Flowers
The genus name of goldenrod, Solidago, is derived from soldare, meaning ‘to make whole,’ because it was used as an herb that treated wounds (Grieve, 1979).
Goldenrod is well known for its ability to treat urinary tract disorders, and its efficacy as a UTI herb. It’s also used in Germany as an agent to increase urine as a treatment for kidney and bladder inflammation (Wichtl and Bisset, 1994).
Unbelievably, yet not surprising, goldenrod isn’t used much by medical professionals in North America. It is, however, widely used by herbalists and aboriginal peoples. As an example, Iroquois people prepare an infusion of goldenrod flowers (specifically Canadian goldenrod) as a gastrointestinal and liver aid (Moerman, 1998). And it works as a powerful respiratory herb among many cultures.
Some of the medicinal uses of goldenrod are a anticatarrhal (removes excess mucus from the respiratory tract), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, carminative (relieves flatulence), diaphoretic (causes prespiration), diuretic, and vulnerary (heals wounds).
Goldenrod is exceptional at alleviating upper respiratory congestion stemming from allergies, sinusitis, flu, or the common cold. What a lovely thing that a respiratory herb can be so readily available to forage!
For an exceptional throat gargle, you can combine goldenrod with sage (Salvia officinalis) in an infusion to soothe sore throats, thrush, and laryngitis.
Some cultures use goldenrod as a digestive herb to help heal the digestive tract from diarrhea and inflammation.
Create a poultice with goldenrod—or simply use the crushed herb—as a wound treatment for sores, burns, skin irritation, and even open wounds. It helps induce healing, and since it is a natural antimicrobial, it may inhibit the growth of bacteria.
I enjoy making a goldenrod tincture since this herb has so many different properties. Having extra goldenrod tincture on hand is great too, because tinctures last practically a lifetime!
How to Harvest Goldenrod
Goldenrod is one of the easiest plants to spot from the road, but it’s best to not harvest from areas that could have road run off. Try to go further into fields, or further off the road, in order to harvest the best wild foraged herbs. If you can go into a field, it’s even better than just the roadside.
You will also find goldenrod growing along trails and hollows that have some sunlight reaching onto them.
The only parts of the plant that are frequently used are the flowering heads and the leaves. The stems don’t have much medicinal value. Though the root may have medicinal value, and is used frequently by Native Americans, it is not frequently used in western herbalism.
Harvest the flower heads and leaves at the same time—when the flowers have opened and are bright yellow. Try to avoid any leaves and flower heads that may have powdery mildew or browning. When harvesting, make sure to leave behind some flowering stems so that the plant will continue to grow for years to come.
You can typically find goldenrod starting in late summer through early fall.
Ways to Make Herbal Preparations with Goldenrod
As with any herb, you can make many different preparations with goldrenrod. Teas work well for any UTI herb, and the same goes for goldenrod. A goldenrod tincture works wonders for all the other ailments. And a poultice is necessary for external use with wounds, burns, and skin irritation.
You can create salves and ointments with goldenrod as well, though it has its highest efficacy when used as a whole herb.
SAFETY & DOSAGE:
INFUSION (TEA): Steep 3 g in 150 ml boiled water for 10 to 15 minutes, two to four times daily between meals. Or, add 1/2 tbsp to a cup of water.
TINCTURE: In a 1:5 ratio (dried herb) or 1:2 ratio (fresh herb)—take 3 ml, two to four times daily between meals.
You should not do irrigation therapy while taking goldenrod in case of edema due to impaired heart and kidney function.
Though rare, goldenrod has caused allergic contact dermatitis after both handling and oral administration.Those with Asteraceae allergies should exercise caution with goldenrod as they could be reactive.
- 1 oz goldenrod (dried)
- 5 fl oz vodka (80 proof or higher)
- 1 glass jar (like a mason jar) with lid
- Weigh out 1 ounce of dried goldenrod and 5 fl oz vodka.
- In a clean glass mason jar, add measured dried herb. Pour over the vodka, being sure that all of the dried herb is covered with vodka. If you need to, you can crush the herb up to make it fit under the liquid.
- Cap the jar tightly, label, and place in a dark cabinet or pantry for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Once the tincture is ready, pour out the vodka through a muslin cloth and strainer. Pour the tincture into an amber or dark glass bottle with an eye dropper top. Cap tightly, label, and store in a pantry or cabinet away from direct sunlight. Use as needed.
See dosage and precautions in the corresponding blog post.
Amy K. Fewell is an author, family herbalist, entrepreneur, homesteader, and homemaker. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her and her family live a natural homesteading lifestyle where they promote self-sufficiency and liberty. Amy is the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. You can discover more on this website and at homesteadersofamerica.com