Goldenrod~ Solidago spp. Plant Monograph
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Welcome to Fall! While you're out and about you'll notice this lovely yellow plant which blooms late July to September. Take a closer look and see all the buzzing pollinators drinking it's nectar in preparation for a cold winter ahead. Learn more about the benefits of Goldenrod bellow!
Botanical ID: Solidago represents around 100-200 different species. It likes to grow in open parries, savannas and roadsides, you’ll likely find it on every continent as a common weed. There are about 45 species in North America, although this number is argued about by botanists. Goldenrod species are notoriously difficult to classify and tend to blend into one another, but an eye for detail and a trusty loupe can help with this. Solidago canadensis is the more common variety and is more or less the "official" Godenrod used in North American Herbalism. The name Solidago comes from the Latin solidus + agere, meaning that it "causes to solidify, or bring together" the lips of a wound. In the middle ages, Solidago was one of the main wound-remedies but has since been largely forgotten like many other herbs used in that period.
Leaves are generally lance shaped and alternating, it reaches anywhere from 1-5 feet in height. The flowers occur in panicles at the end of the stem and erupt in bright yellow flowers- a pollinators dream. It blooms in late summer, July-September. Because it’s a late bloomer Goldenrod is an essential food source for pollinators; the protein in the pollen is essential to help honeybees get through the winter. It's said that a bountiful amount of Goldenrod growing is an indicator of a more severe winter ahead, I've noticed it's been more plentiful this year so prepare yourselves for a cold winter! If you get the chance, please go out and smell your local Goldenrod. You won’t regret it, just watch out for all the hungry bees and wasps.
Energetics: Slightly warming and drying. Aromatic, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Actions: Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative, diuretic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, vulnerary.
Harvest: Late summer/Fall. Aerial parts; flower and leaf
Use: Solidago commonly gets a bad wrap as being the one to blame for seasonal allergies, when the real culprit is a fellow Aster family member called Ragweed (Ambrosia spp). Goldenrod is a much more showy bloomer, where as Ragweed’s flowers are green so tend to blend in with surrounding foliage.
Interestingly enough, both Goldenrod and Ragweed have been used together as allies to battle seasonal allergies. These two pair together perfectly to ease itchy, watery burning eyes with an itchy drippy nose- Solidago has your back! Err…nose. Goldenrod is also used to help relieve allergies from cat dander.
Being astringent in it’s action, Goldenrod helps to tighten and tone tissues of the mucous membranes like the respiratory tract, specifically the upper respiratory tract. The astringent, anticatarrhal, vulnerary and antiseptic actions help to alleviate infections and inflammation that contribute to drippy mucous membranes. For this reason you can find Goldenrod in my Allergy Elixir formula!
Solidago also has an affinity for the Urinary tract and Kidneys. As a diuretic, it can help in the early stages of bladder and urinary tract infections by keeping the kidneys stay flushed of bacteria (diuretic) and tone the mucous membranes (astringent) to prevent infection (antiseptic) from getting deeper in the tissue. Goldenrod helps the kidneys from getting bogged down with bacterial and immune by-products that build up after an infection (think of it as the snot of the urinary system). Thank you Solidago for thinning the mucus and fluids for easier passage while astringing the tissues to allay further pathogenic invasion! You the best.
In addition to Allergies and Urinary tract issues, I use Solidago topically as an anti-inflammatory for sore muscles, sprains and strains. It's especially helpful for pain due to traumatic injury with redness, swelling and edema, after a bruise has developed and to hasten the healing time. You can find Goldenrod in my Pain Ease CBD+Herbs Salve.
Each species of Solidago has similar actions but their own particular niche. For example, the European variety S. vigaurea was used topically as an astringent for wounds to help “close the lips” of the wound and prevent infection. The Europeans took advantage of its astringent action and employed Goldenrod in cases of diarrhea, cough, chronic catarrh of the lungs, spitting up blood from the lungs (ew) and gum ulcerations (mouth rinse anyone?).
The North American versions, S. canadensis and S. odora, had similar uses and used it for cases of flu, cough, respiratory problems such a asthma, or poor urine production leading to “dark and turbid” urine.
S. odora is the sweeter smelling version of Goldenrod (hence the latin, odora meaning odor or scent). The Cherokee used this version as a digestive aid for flatulence, colic, fevers, flu, tuberculosis, amenorrhea and neuralgia. Externally Native Americans also used it for open wounds, rheumatism, headaches and neuralgia. The root was also used topically for burns and is a much more powerful diuretic than the upper part of the plant.
Dosage and Preparation:
Tea: Standard infusion of dried flowers; 1-3 oz up to four times per day
Tincture: 2-4ml, 3x daily (1:5)
Safety in pregnancy is unknown. Because high water intake is recommended with goldenrod and diuretic effect, patients with impaired kidney or liver should be carefully monitored. Caution in people with allergies to Asteraceae family.