Updated: Oct 7, 2022
This yellow sea of tall flowering aster is a blessing we call Goldenrod. Many people believe that this plant is the cause of fall allergies when it is actually ragweed that produces the pollen people are allergic to. Goldenrod is a remedy that soothes allergy symptoms caused by ragweed! It is wild to discover that as goldenrod and ragweed often grow in close proximity to one another.
We are approaching the autumnal equinox in just a few days and I want to share this blog post before it gets too late. If you look in the right places you can find blooming goldenrod to forage and utilize at home. You’ll find oceans of goldenrod growing in country fields, hedge grows and even your own backyard. Goldenrod loves sunny and disturbed spaces and is quite attractive to pollinators!
There are many species of goldenrod. The species that is widely foraged or grown by herbalists is Solidago Canadensis. It is native to most of North America ranging throughout Canada to the Northeast and across the plains toward the west.
Goldenrod begins to flower in mid to late summer and into early fall here in New England. It's a wonderful plant to work with and provides a literal "sea" of yellow and green to admire.
When foraging goldenrod, make sure to prioritize the plants that have the most young, bright and fresh looking flowers. These flowers hold the most potent plant constituents. The flowers and leaves are the parts used. When I harvest the plant I clip down the stem about a foot and half. I make sure to leave at least 1/3 of the plant left for regeneration. For drying and storing goldenrod, make sure to find a cool, dry, and well ventilated place. If you'd like to use the goldenrod fresh, you can make a tea blend from the leaves and flowers or tincture them. You can also tincture with grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or make an oxymel. You can also use the dried flowers in an oil infusion or for later use in tea.
I am mostly here to mention the medicinal benefits of goldenrod and how you can use this plant, foraged fresh, from your own local landscape.
Goldenrod holds warm and dry energetics, meaning that when by itself or in combination with other drying herbs will balance cold and wet conditions in the body. Specifically, it helps cold and wet upper respiratory conditions. I find fresh or dried goldenrod tea to be the best for relieving those symptoms. Goldenrod is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, circulatory, diaphoretic and astringent. It is bitter and carminative making it helpful for dispersing gas and air throughout the body.
Creating a goldenrod tincture infusion with grain alcohol is another great way to benefit from its anti-viral properties. It supports the immune system by fighting off cold and flu viruses when taken daily during the onset of sickness. Starting with a few drops twice a day and working your way up to a whole dropper full if the body allows. Goldenrod tincture is a helpful remedy for supporting the health of the bladder and kidneys. Goldenrod stimulates the movement of waste and bacteria out of the kidneys through the bladder. It's anti-inflammatory nature also works here by soothing the tissues of the bladder. It's circulatory actions support the joint meridians by moving stagnations and calming inflammation.
This plant has held a special place in my heart for many years and I'll continue gracing myself with it's presence each and every season it appears. The next time you notice goldenrod growing on the side of the road give it a quick hello, use the senses to introduce yourself to it, even if only for a minute or two. Maybe write about your experience with the plant, take a cutting or two for your own small batch tea making at home, or harvest a whole bunch for the apothecary. This fascinating herb is one to not look past and is so important for the health and wealth of our bodies and local ecosystems in North America.