Solidago spp., including S. odora, S. caesia, S. altissima, S. gigantea, S. canadensis, S. flexicaulis, S. californica, S. rugosa, S. speciosa, S. ohioensis, and S. virgaurea
Goldenrod; (S. odora): sweet goldenrod, sweet-scented goldenrod, blue mountain tea; (S. caesia): bluestem goldenrod, wreath goldenrod; (S. altissima): tall goldenrod; (S. gigantea): giant goldenrod, late goldenrod, smooth goldenrod; (S. canadensis): Canada goldenrod, common goldenrod; (S. virgaurea): European goldenrod, woundwort
Roots, leaves, flowering tops, whole plant
There are over 100 species of Solidago worldwide, the majority of which are native to North America. Solidago virgaurea, or European goldenrod, is native to Europe and the British Isles. There are between 6-10 other species of goldenrod native to Europe and Asia, and 11 separate species identified throughout Central and South America.
Goldenrod is a plant that can be harvested for its leaves and flowering tops. For the best results, leaves should be harvested before the plant starts to flower, while the flowering tops should be harvested when the plant is in full bloom. It's important to choose a sunny day to harvest and to avoid any dew or rainwater. Once harvested, the flowering stalks can be dried in bundles or on drying racks in a cool, shady location with plenty of airflow. The material is ready when the stalks become crispy and the flowering heads appear fluffy. To store the dried leaves and flowers, use paper bags and keep them in a cool, dark place. Goldenrod plants can withstand vigorous cutting and will regrow if cut during the growing season.
Goldenrod has a long history of use as a natural remedy for wounds, with traditions stemming from various cultures around the world. Native American tribes have used both the flowers and roots of different goldenrod species to create poultices for burns, wounds, and boils. The Cherokee have also utilized goldenrod's anti-inflammatory and astringent properties to treat insect stings, swelling, and wounds, often combining it with plantain. Today, modern research is exploring the potential medicinal benefits of goldenrod, with studies showing that extracts from the Solidago genus have significant antimicrobial activity against various bacteria.(1)
Goldenrod has been used for centuries for its toning, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic effects on the urinary system. Native American traditions have long used various species of goldenrod for urinary tract support, such as S. odora for kidney stones and edema, and S. canadensis for bladder and kidney issues. In Europe and the United Kingdom, S. virgaurea is the most commonly recommended species for its diuretic effects. Culpeper, a historical herbalist, classified this species as under the governance of Venus, which relates to its significant influence over the kidneys and bladder. He noted its ability to provoke urine in abundance, making it useful for easing the passing of urinary calculi in the bladder and kidneys.(2)
Goldenrod, a herb commonly used in both American and European herbal traditions, has been found to support the upper respiratory system. It has toning, mildly stimulating, and antimicrobial properties that help to soothe mucous membranes. The Cherokee used goldenrod in formulas for sore throats and severe colds, while the Lumbee used it for cases of diphtheria. Goldenrod is particularly helpful during allergy season, as it has drying properties that can alleviate symptoms such as red conjunctiva, glazed eyes, watering eyes, and itchy nose. It is also known to be effective for cat allergies.(3)
Goldenrod, a species of Solidago, has been used in various cultures around the world to support digestive health. This is due to its astringent and toning properties, as well as the presence of volatile oil which has antimicrobial and carminative effects. The Iroquois use both the roots and flowers of S. canadensis for digestive support, while a decoction of S. juncea flowers is used as an emetic and the leaves of the same species are used for nausea. Lumbee herbalists specifically recommend a combination of S. canadensis leaves and flowering tops for colic, while the Delaware use S. juncea leaf as a tea or chewed to address diarrhea.(4)
Goldenrod, a type of plant found in Central and South America, has been traditionally used to support the gastrointestinal system. In particular, Solidago chilensis has been used to treat stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders. Recent research on rats with ethanol-induced gastric ulcers has shown that orally administered aqueous extracts of this species have a gastroprotective effect. Additionally, S. microglossa, a species found in Brazil, has been found to have hepatoprotective and antioxidant properties.(5)
Adult Dose (6)
Suggested dosage varies by author, indication, and age of individual. Diuretic and urinary tonic effects are enhanced by adding parsley water. Leaves are preferred as a stomach tonic. The flowers should be extracted fresh in alcohol for use in respiratory and renal conditions
Goldenrod has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly for infants, children, and the elderly. Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod is not a major cause of seasonal allergies, which are more commonly triggered by ragweed. However, there have been rare cases of allergic contact dermatitis associated with handling or ingesting goldenrod, so caution should be exercised by those with known Asteraceae allergies. Overall, goldenrod remains a valuable medicinal plant with a low risk of adverse effects.(7)
(1)Garrett, J.T. (2003). The Cherokee herbal: Native plant medicine from the four directions. Bear & Company.
(2)Culpeper, N. (1995). Culpeper’s complete herbal and English physician enlarged. Wordsworth Editions.
(3)Garrett, J.T. (2003). The Cherokee herbal: Native plant medicine from the four directions. Bear & Company.
(4)Tantaquidgeon, G. (2001). Folk medicine of the Delaware and related Algonkian Indians. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(5)Sabir, S.M., Ahmad, S.D., Hamid, A., Khan, M.Q., Athayde, M.L., Santos, D.B., Boligon, A.A., & Rocha, J.B.T. (2012). Antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity of ethanolic extract of leaves of Solidago microglossa containing polyphenolic compounds. Food Chemistry, 131(3), 741-747.
(6)Weiss, R.F., & Fintelmann, V. (2000). Herbal medicine (2nd ed.). Thieme.
(7)Barker, J. (2001). The medicinal flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe. Winter Press.
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