Family: Compositae, Asteraceae, or Daisy
Synonyms and Common names: Goldenrod, Woundwort, Aaron's Rod, Solidago.
Description and Habitat:
Golden Rod is a perennial, growing from woody caudices or rhizomes. Their stems range from decumbent or crawling, to ascending or erect, with a range of heights going from 2 inches to over 60 inches high. Most species of Solidago are unbranched, but some do display branching in the upper part of the plant.
Both leaves and stems vary from hairless to hairy depending upon species. The leaves are veined, and mid-green and they are long, and broad in the middle, shaped like a lance with the point at the top.
The flower heads are typical daisy flower heads with distinct ray and disc florets, and it reproduces through its roots, bulbs, and stems and by its seed. The flowers sit at the top of each stem in thick clusters, forming what appears to be a yellow point to the rod or spear point of the stem.
Goldenrod is a native of the USA, but is very at home here in Britain, but is usually found cultivated at the bottom of the garden. Like most herbs from the Daisy Family, it is best at home in the sun, although it will tolerate a little shade. Growing in average soil, it is very easy to grow garden shrub which rewards well with its beautiful yellow late summer flowers.
Gather aerial parts of the plant while it is flowering, and dry in an airy but dark place.
Parts used: Dried aerial parts, including flowers.
Constituents: Saponins, essential oil, bitter principle, tannins, and flavonoids.
Actions: Anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diaphoretic, carminative, and diuretic.
Indications and Therapeutics:
Golden Rod is perhaps the first plant to think of for upper respiratory catarrh, whether acute or chronic.
It may be used in combination with other herbs in the treatment of influenza.
Its carminative properties reveal a role in the treatment of flatulent dyspepsia.
As an anti-inflammatory urinary antiseptic, Golden Rod may be used in cystitis, urethritis, and similar problems.
It can be used to promote the healing of wounds.
As a gargle, it can be used in laryngitis and pharyngitis.
There are no known risks in using goldenrod but you should avoid it if you are pregnant, or have serious heart or kidney problems.
Preparation and dosage:
Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water over 2-3 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.
Tincture: Take 2-4ml of the tincture 3 times daily.
Additional comments and Folklore:
The Latin name for Golden Rod is Solidago, which means, ‘whole’ and is thought to be a reference to its reputed healing powers. It is also known as woundwort for this reason.
Abundant goldenrod is thought to indicate the source of a hidden spring or hidden treasure. It’s also considered to be a sign of prosperity.
Goldenrod is a versatile plant. Folklore tells us it was used to make tea, dye, and lucky charms. It was even used in the earliest car tires. Apparently, Golden Rod contains around 7% of natural rubber, and through experimentation with fertilizer and cultivation, Edison produced a six-foot-tall Golden Rod that contained 12% rubber, or so it is claimed!
Goldenrod was known throughout history to have healing properties. It was used to treat inflammation, eczema, arthritis, bee stings, ulcers, and to staunch blood flow from wounds, and has always considered being very effective.
Goldenrod is great for pollinators too. It’s a source of nectar for Monarch butterflies, and butterflies in general, along with bees, beetles, moths, wasps, and flies.
The whole goldenrod plant is edible. It has a mild aniseed flavour. It is possible to make goldenrod oil and tincture with the flowers and use it for aches, inflammation, and congestion.
Goldenrod has some lovely associated stories. One says it came about after a scared old woman in the woods asked the trees for a walking stick but they refused.
The woman found a stick and asked it for help. The stick agreed to be her staff and she leaned on it to get through the forest.
When the old lady reached the edge of the forest, she turned into a fairy, and sprinkled gold on the stick in gratitude for its support, turning it into goldenrod.