A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Solidago virgaurea or Solidago canadensis
The famous herbal plant, the goldenrod is an attractive medicinal plant. Its name is a testament not only to its great medicinal powers but also to its beautiful physical structure. The Latin name of the goldenrod plant, “Solidago” - solido, which means to make whole - is an allusion to the employment of the herb as a wound healing remedy in the ancient world. The botanical Latinized name of the goldenrod is - Virga aurea - derived from the golden yellow colored flowers on the stem of the plant. Goldenrod is a hardy tenacious plant with cylindrical roots. This root structure allows the plant to bury deep into all kinds of soils. Thus the plant grows successfully in the dry earth found in woodlands, it can grow well among bushes in waste areas, and it grows successfully on dunes and among rocks. The hardy roots of the plant allow the plant to extend its range right up to the mountainous regions in many temperate countries. The goldenrod possesses rounded stems that only branch at the top of the plant. When fully grown, the plant can reach twenty to fifty cm in height, however, goldenrod plants that are one hundred cm tall can sometimes be found in certain areas. The golden rod bears alternate leaves on large, pointed, and elliptical shaped leaves on the lower part of the stem, these have serrated edges. The leaves on the upper stem are narrow and lance-shaped, with entire margins - the flowers are borne among these leaves. At the very tip of the stem are seen the branched spikes filled with numerous stalked golden-yellow flower heads. Flowers that grow lower on these floral spikes tend to be the first ones to open during a floral bloom, which the reason that the plant bears flowers continuously from July in the summer well into the fall. The goldenrod is frequented by many types of crawling insects and butterfly species. The goldenrod depends on wind to disperse its seeds. The calyx of each flower bears a crown of hairs called “pappus”; these hairs enable the small fruits to be buoyant in the wind, dispersing the seeds following the waning of the floral bloom. Different pharmaceutical preparations and herbal teas are made from the flowering tips on the branches of the goldenrod. The beneficial effects of the goldenrod herb are due to the presence of primary active principles including compounds such as the saponins, and all kinds of floral pigments. Herbal remedies made from the plant are employed in the treatment of all kinds of inflammation problems affecting the kidneys and the intestines. The Canadian goldenrod, a related species is taller than the common goldenrod, growing to sixty or even two hundred cm tall, this species bears one sided spikes that occur in a branched cluster, consisting of numerous yellow flower heads. Each floral head is three to five mm long. The goldenrod is found all over the European continent.
The goldenrod possesses diuretic, anti-oxidant, and astringent properties. The goldenrod is considered to be the most effective herbal treatment for urinary tract disorders of all kinds. Goldenrod is employed to treat or alleviate severe ailments like nephritis as well as more common disorders such as cystitis - it is used as an herbal remedy in most urinary tract problems. Goldenrod remedies are also reputed to aid the body in eliminating kidney and bladder stones. The compound called saponins found in the goldenrod herb are specifically effective against infection from the Candida fungus, which induces all kinds of yeast infections and oral thrush in the human body. Remedies made from the goldenrod herb are also effective in the treatment of chronic sore throats, in alleviating chronic congestion in the nasal passages as well as in treating problems such as diarrhea and other digestive disorders. The goldenrod has a mild and soothing action in the body, which is the reason that it is considered to be appropriate for the treatment of gastroenteritis affecting young children and infants. The remedy made from the goldenrod can also be used as a mouthwash or as a douche for the treatment of yeast infections in the vaginal cavity.
The herbal remedy made from the goldenrod is considered to be a soothing, gentle and safe remedy which is appropriate for use in treating or alleviating a number of disorders affecting the body. The goldenrod is particularly considered to be a valuable and astringent herbal medication for the treatment of wounds and bleeding on the skin. The saponins found in the goldenrod plant have an anti-fungal property and are specifically effective against the Candida fungus - the pathogen responsible for thrush in the vaginal and oral cavities. The goldenrod herb contains the compound known as rutin that is effective in treating capillary fragility. The compounds called phenolic glycosides present in the herb are anti-inflammatory in nature and help deal with inflammation in various parts of the body. The anti-helmintic action of the compounds present in the leaves and flowering tops of the goldenrod also come in use in treating intestinal infestations. All in all, the goldenrod has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions. It also has aromatic, astringent, and carminative properties. It is diaphoretic and mildly diuretic, and is used as a febrifuge and stimulant in herbal medicine. The goldenrod is also considered to be a good vulnerary herb, being of proven value in treating urinary tract infections of all kinds. The herb is used in a chronic catarrh, as well as in the treatment of skin diseases. It is also used in treating influenza and whooping cough, as well as in eliminating kidney stones and many other disorders. An oral rinse made form the goldenrod is an excellent mouthwash that can be used to treat thrush in affected individuals. Harvest of cultivated plants is done in the summer and the harvested plants are dried for use as and when required. Goldenrod seeds have anti-coagulant, as well as astringent and carminative effects. The goldenrod is prepared into a homeopathic remedy used in treating many disorders. The remedy is mainly employed in the treatment of disease of the kidney and the urinary bladder, as well as in treating rheumatism and arthritis and other chronic illnesses.
Habitat and cultivation
The goldenrod is native to Europe and the Asia mainland. However, populations of naturalized goldenrod can be found on the North American continent. The goldenrod herb tends to grow on open areas and along hillsides and mountain ranges. The harvest is done when the plant is in flower during the summer months.
The goldenrod is a very easy plant to grow. This herb can easily grow with great success on any moderately fertile, moisture rich and retentive soils. The plant grows well in sites that have good exposure to sunlight as well as in semi-shaded sites. The optimal growth rate of goldenrod is observed in plants grown in heavy clay soils. The goldenrod is a hardy and persistent herb. It can be said to be a greedy plant and can quickly use up all the soil nutrients at the site it is growing on. The smell of wild carrots comes from the bruised parts of the plant. A sub-species of the goldenrod called S. virgaurea minuta grows to only ten cm tall and has a similar width. Goldenrod plants tend to attract a lot of beneficial insect species including beetles like ladybirds, lacewings as well as hoverflies when grown in the garden. Since these insects feed on other insects they help control insect pests inside the garden as a whole and benefit all plants in the area.
The goldenrod herb is propagated using the seeds stored from previous harvest. These seeds are sown during the spring on a cold frame. The compost inside the seedbed must not be allowed to become dry and the seeds must be lightly covered with soil in the seed bed. When the seedlings emerge and become large enough to handle by hand, each of them must be pricked out into individual pots and grown in the pots for the first winter. In the spring or early summer, these potted plants can then be transplanted out into their permanent positions. The goldenrod undergoes division during the spring or in the fall. The larger divisions may be transplanted direct into the permanent sites. The smaller divisions are best grown on pots for some more time in a lightly shaded site on a cold frame. Once they turn large and are well rooted, they can be transplanted in the summer to their permanent site.
Herbal infusion: the infusion made from the goldenrod can be prepared by steeping two to three teaspoonfuls of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. The herb can be left to infuse into the water for ten to fifteen minutes and then strained. A single dose of this herbal infusion can be drunk thrice daily as a treatment for a variety of disorders.
The goldenrod herb is also taken as a decoction or in an herbal tea. A remedy made from the flowery tops of the goldenrod is often suggested for treating many seasonal allergies affecting the pulmonary mucous membranes, as well as for the treatment of chronic intestinal problems. This remedy can be prepared by using one teaspoonful (3 g) of the dried herb and steeping it in cup - 250 ml - of boiling water. The remedy for the treatment of ulcerous colitis is prepared by steeping one whole average sized rootless plant in two cups - or 500 ml - of boiled water. The same remedy has also been discovered to be effective against pathogenic yeasts and is believed to be an herbal fungicide.
Boil the plants in the water for 3minutes. Infuse 10 minutes. Strain. Drink hot or cold during the day, between meals.