Historically, goldenrod (Solidago canadensis or Solidago virgaurea) has been used topically for wound healing. It has also been used as a diuretic (helps rid the body of excess fluid). The name solidago means "to make whole."
Traditionally, goldenrod has also been used to treat tuberculosis, diabetes, enlargement of the liver, gout, hemorrhoids, internal bleeding, asthma, and arthritis. Topically, goldenrod is used in folk medicine to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat as well as slow-healing wounds.
No high-quality studies have examined goldenrod's effect in humans. A few animal and test tube studies suggest it may help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, fight infections, and lower blood pressure. It does seem to have diuretic properties, and is used in Europe to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent or treat kidney stones. In fact, goldenrod is commonly found in teas to help "flush out" kidney stones and stop inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.
Goldenrod is often blamed for seasonal allergies, but it is another plant -- ragweed, which blooms at the same time -- that is usually responsible for allergic reactions.
Because goldenrod has an unusual ability to crossbreed with other plants, there are at least 130 species of goldenrod in the United States alone. This herb is native to Europe and has spread to Asia, the Azores, and both North and South America.
European goldenrod is a perennial often found along roadsides and in open fields with single woody stems that grow to heights of 3 - 7 feet. Its yellow flowers, which generally appear in August and September, are only about ¼-inch wide but come in large clusters. Leaves alternate between toothed and smooth edges.
Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever. However, some people may have a skin reaction (allergic contact dermatitis) when they come in contact with goldenrod.
The above ground parts of the goldenrod plant are dried and used for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Goldenrod may act as a diuretic (flushing water from the body by increasing urine output). It may also have anti-inflammatory properties. However, it has not really been studied in humans.
Goldenrod is sometimes suggested for the following conditions:
- Arthritis and gout
- Colds and flu
- Inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract
- Kidney stones
- Eczema (topically)
- Minor wounds (topically)
Never use herbal products on open wounds.
Goldenrod may be taken in a variety of forms, including the dried herb (for teas, capsules), tincture, or fluid extract.
How to Take It
Do not give goldenrod to a child without talking to your doctor first. To determine the right dose for a child, adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. If the child weighs 50 lb (20 - 25 kg), for example, the dose of goldenrod would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.
Recommended adult doses are as follows:
- Tea: Place 2 - 3 tsp of dried herb in one cup of hot water and let stand for 10 -15 minutes. Strain and drink 3 times daily.
- Gargle: Make the tea described above, and gargle 3 times daily.
- Fluid extract (1:1) in 25 % ethanol: Take 0.5 - 2 mL, 2 - 3 times daily.
- Tincture (1:5) in 45 % ethanol: Take 2 - 4 mL, 2 - 3 times daily.
Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day when taking this herb.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a qualified health care provider trained in the field of botanical medicine.
Goldenrod is generally considered safe. Some people may develop a mild allergic reaction to the herb. Do not use if you have a known allergy to goldenrod.
Side effects can include heartburn.
People with the following conditions should ask their doctor before taking goldenrod:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Do not take goldenrod if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have heart or kidney disease.
There are no known scientific reports of interactions between goldenrod and conventional medications. However, interactions between the following drugs and goldenrod are possible:
Diuretics (water pills) -- Goldenrod may increase the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of dehydration.
Lithium -- Because goldenrod may have diuretic effects, it could cause levels of lithium to build up in the blood.
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Apati P, Houghton PJ, Kite G, Steventon GB, Kery A. In-vitro effect of flavonoids from Solidago canadensis extract on glutathione S-transferase. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006;58(2):251-6.
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Alternative NamesAaron's rod; European goldenrod; Solidago canadensis; Solidago virgaurea
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