Common Name: Goldenrod
Botanical Name: Solidago spp.
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy)
Energetics: Feminine, sunny, warm, cheerful, clearing, drying, air
Tropism: Kidneys. Also upper respiratory, skin, mucous membranes.
Primary Constituents: Flavonoids, phenolic glycosides, saponins, volatile oils, tannins
Diuretic, bitter, astringent, hemostatic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, hepatic, aromatic, styptic, vulnery, anticattarhal, anti-fungal, anthelmintic, analgesic, diaphoretic, antiseptic, antioxidant, hypotensive, mucolytic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, renal cleanser.
Field ID and growing habits:
There are well over 45 species of goldenrod in North America. Only one species is native to Europe, that being S. virga-aurea. As they all act in similar ways and are generally difficult to tell from one another, I have not separated them here. This perennial typically has long stalks reaching anywhere from one to seven feet high depending on the species, although a few have less of a stalking habit and more of a twining habit. They are found largely in sunny fields, and even in dappled shade, in poor soil conditions all across North America. They all have brilliant yellow flowers, with exception of S. bicolor, which has silvery-white flowers. Most have a resinous, piney flavor that has a hint of bitter, and similar mild scent. S. odora and its varieties in addition to the resinous flavor have a stronger anise-like taste, and is usually preferred for use in teas. In general, the Solidagos have thin, long green leaves coming off a solid stalk that may or may not heavily branch, and cluster(s) of small yellow flowers usually at the top. They bloom summer through fall, varying between species. Being highly resinous, and therefore too moist and heavy for the wind, they are solely insect pollinated and share their nectar with many pollinating insects. They are valuable to bugs in many ways, including housing spiders, praying mantis eggs, and lace bugs, feeding caterpillars, bees, wasps, and butterflies, and more. In turn they also provide food for animals that eat these bugs, and medicine for humans.
Goldenrod is indicated for all problems of the urinary system. As seen acting on the kidneys, it helps replenish chi, improve low renal function, clear infection, flush stones, cleanse, and acts as a general tonic. As a diuretic, and having a drying, thinning action on the mucous membranes, it helps clear the bladder of stones and infection, and assists in the flushing of the whole urinary system. Its mild antiseptic quality may be an aid in the clearing of these infections as well. Improving the elimination of toxins may help improve skin conditions, such as acne. Historically it has been used topically for wound repair for its antiseptic and styptic qualities, hence the name Solidago, to make solid. Also indicated in upper respiratory problems for wet coughs when there is too much mucus and not enough movement. It is used as a preventative measure in environmental allergies, and in acute situations in the case of cat allergies. Goldenrod is helpful in general exhaustion and improving cheerful vitality.
Contraindications, Interactions, and Warnings:
Because the diuretic effect causes water and not salt to be excreted from the body, avoid in cases of endema resulting in heart or kidney failure.
Plant Parts Used:
Whole above ground plant may be used. Flowers contain the most volatile oils and are used in tincturing. Leaves most commonly used in teas.
Medicinal Preparations and Dosage:
Fresh plant tincture: 2-4 mL, 1-3x daily, depending on condition and reason for taking it. Dried plant tea: 3 teaspoons dried leaves/flowers, steeped in a cup of boiled water 15 minutes, taken 1-4 times a day. Can also be eaten fresh, but has a strong pungent flavor.
My experiences with Goldenrod
The Book of Herbal Wisdom, Matthew Wood
Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars
Class with CoreyPine
…and many more…