solidago canadensis (1 of 5 in the Solidago genus)
Goldenrod is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae (sunflower) family. It is native to North America, often grown as a wildflower and found in most parts of the United States, even in the middle of the Nevada desert. The plant is erect, often forming colonies, especially where there is a water source nearby. It grows short to tall, it's hearty, and chances are you've seen it before. Actually, chances are you've blamed it for your seasonal allergies but I will gladly break the news to you that goldenrod is innocent, as it contains a very small amount of pollen that is sticky, so it sticks to the plant rather than blowing in the wind (mmhmm...ragweed...rabbit brush....)
I met goldenrod this summer, in the heights of the Sierra Nevadas. It has become a familiar and friendly plant as its yellow bushy flowers are hard to miss. I tend to find goldenrod...everywhere: roadsides, meadows, riverbanks, and even in the middle of a dry NV landscape (even if it only makes it to about 5 inches tall). So with its common appearance I decided what better to do than make a tincture and utilize it's medicinal properties. I love using plants that grow local and in abundance, and I actually have a very hard time making medicine from dried, imported herbs.
Goldenrod is most known for its diuretic properties, in England it is sold in a formula known as "waterfall drops" which promotes a healthy urinary tract. Great! I really value goldenrod's ability to expel excess fluids from the body in general and I use it specifically for sinuses. It is a slightly warming and drying herb, warming up the area to allow the body to carry it away and drying to prevent more bacteria from forming and re-muckifying the area. It is an astringent and antibacterial powerhouse that really does the trick for slimy colds and influenza, especially those reoccurring cases that reside in your sinuses aka hay fever, allergies! Just a day or two of tincture doses and the symptoms usually subside. I recently used it on my trip to the UK, where my temperamental sinuses went haywire in the luscious damp magic land that is Scotland (see Where the Wild Things Go Part I).
As with most magical herbs there are many other great uses for goldenrod, as Sharol Tilgner explains in her materiamedica: Goldenrod is indicated for mental weakness, physical exhaustion, chilliness alternating with heat, sub-acute nasopharyngeal catarrh and acute or subacute kidney infections or debilitated, chronically inflamed kidneys.
So go pay a visit to some goldenrod near you, because chances are it’s there. It makes a beautiful dried plant for decoration and an even more spectacular addition to your herbal medicine cabinet!
Also, if I had to give my favorite color a name it would be goldenrod.
Autumn is upon us, almost, apparently, because when I got up and went outside this morning it was brisk. Where have I been? Not blogging I can tell you that much, the etsy shop is full and all I do is obsess over herbs and vintage dresses. Also, getting ready for some big trips including a family affair to the United Kingdom...and by family affair I mean mom, ancestor's graveyards and Above & Beyond adventures of course!
Here's some music I've been listening to for most of the Summer...