Goldenrod is an edible and medicinal plant with many benefits! Learn how to turn it into salve, tincture, tea, and more!
It blooms right around the time ragweed pollen starts causing trouble, so is often unjustly blamed for causing allergies.
The fact though is that goldenrod pollen is heavy and spread by insects, instead of the wind like ragweed is, making it pretty difficult to trigger symptoms of hay fever. You would have to deeply sniff the flower to get the pollen in your nose.
Characteristics of Goldenrod
- height varies from 2 to 6 feet tall
- lanced leaves
- bright yellow flowers that bloom in late summer & early fall
- often grow in fields, open areas, roadsides or near the edges of woods
There are a LOT of species, with a few differences in appearance, but they all have similar medicinal properties.
For more information about foraging for goldenrod, please see the article at our family site:
Benefits of Goldenrod
Goldenrod is “recommended for treatment of infections and inflammations, to prevent formation of kidney stones and to help remove urinary gravel“.
It may lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis, and is an effective remedy for upper respiratory inflammation and congestion, rhinitis, seasonal allergy, sinus infection, colds and influenza (Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians, page 92).
The infused oil and salve is a traditional remedy for aches and pains and makes a great addition to any arthritis or pain-relieving salves you create.
Tip: Goldenrod infused oil can also be used to make your own lotion! Here’s a video of me making a simple herbal lotion recipe from my Handmade Lotions & Creams eBook Collection, to show it’s easier than most people think. (Sometimes an ad plays first, but the video will play right after! If you have an adblocker you won’t see the video player.)
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Uses for Goldenrod
These are several ways that you can use goldenrod:
- Goldenrod Tea
- Infused Oil
- Lotion Bars
I also love how Plain & Joyful Living used goldenrod to dye yarn!
For some of these recipes or remedies, you’ll need to use dried goldenrod flowers or flowering tops. Here’s how you do that!
How to Dry Goldenrod Flowers
Spread the flower heads out on a drying screen, clean dish cloth, or paper towels. Use your fingers or scissors to break up any large sections so that they can air dry in a single layer. You can also hang the goldenrod clusters to dry. Depending on the humidity in your area, this may take a few days or a week or more.
Once fully dried, store in a labeled mason jar. Dried herbs generally stay fresh 9 months to a year, but if the color fades considerably, then it’s probably past its prime.
1. Goldenrod Tincture
A tincture is a great way to take many herbs – goldenrod included – because it’s concentrated and easy to take. A little bit goes a long way! I generally give my family small doses of 3 to 5 drops tincture mixed with a spoonful of honey for taste, however we have thin frames and high metabolisms, so dosage for others may need to be experimented with.
According to Richo Cech in Making Plant Medicine, an typical adult dose can be as high as 30 to 60 drops of tincture diluted in a little water and taken 3 to 5 times a day.
If you’re on a diuretic, blood pressure medicine, or have any health questions or concerns, check with your healthcare professional for their advice before using goldenrod internally.
Goldenrod Tincture Recipe
- Fill a small jar around 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with chopped, fresh goldenrod flowers. If using dried, fill the jar about 1/4 to 1/2 way. (A few leaves are okay too include too.)
- Pour a high-proof alcohol such as vodka or brandy until the jar is filled.
- Cap, label and store our of direct sunlight for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
Tinctures are usually good for at least 1 year. (I have some that are 3 years old that are still going strong.)
2. Goldenrod Tea
The tea is often used to flush out kidney stones or for mild bladder infections. It’s a diuretic (makes you pee a lot), so take care not to take it too close to bedtime. If you’re on a diuretic already, have kidney problems, are on blood pressure medicine, or have any health concerns or questions, check with a doctor before using goldenrod internally.
Goldenrod Tea Recipe
- Use around 2 tablespoons of fresh flowers per 1 cup of water.
- If using dried flowers, use half as much (1 tablespoon per 1 cup of water).
- Cover and steep for 15 to 20 minutes before straining.
- Sweeten with honey, if desired.
3. Goldenrod-Infused Oil
Fill a jar 1/4 to 1/2 of the way with dried goldenrod flowers. Pour an oil (such as sunflower, sweet almond, or olive) over the flowers until the jar is full. You can infuse the oil the slow way, the solar way, or the speedy way.
- Slow way – Cap the jar and tuck it into a dark cabinet for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain.
- Solar way – Don’t cap the jar, but cover it with a piece of cheesecloth or scrap of old t-shirt instead. Set the jar in a sunny window for several days (or a few weeks). The heat from the sun will help the oil infuse faster. (This is my favorite method to use for goldenrod.)
- Speedy way – Don’t cover the jar, but instead set it down into a small saucepan containing a few inches of water. Set the pan over a low burner and heat for around 2 to 3 hours, watching the oil carefully. You can then strain the oil and use right away, or let the oil continue infusing for another few days before straining.
4. Goldenrod Salve
Goldenrod oil and salve are used to rub over muscle aches and pains, and can also be used as an all purpose healing salve for things like scraped elbows, chapped lips, or minor scratches.
- 3.5 oz (100 g) goldenrod-infused oil
- 0.5 oz (14 g) beeswax
- Place the oil and beeswax in a canning jar or heat-proof container.
- Set the jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler.
- Place the pan over medium-low heat until the beeswax is melted.
- If you used a small canning jar for melting, you can use it for storing the salve as well.
- This recipe will fill three 2 fl oz tins.
If you’d like to make this by volume, the beeswax converts to roughly 1.5 tablespoons (grated or pastilles, packed very tightly in the spoon) and the oil measures out to be approximately 1/2 cup.
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5. Goldenrod Soap
I love turning the plants that grow around me into creative and pretty soaps! For this goldenrod soap, I used both a tea infusion and an oil infusion.
You can find the full recipe here on my site:
6. Goldenrod in Lotion Bars
Solidago (goldenrod) is an excellent addition to lotion bars, since it helps heal and repair skin AND is useful for aches and pains.
In this recipe, I combined goldenrod along with arnica, comfrey, and dandelion to make:
which are useful for hands that are sore, aching, chapped, and/or calloused.
Sources for This Article:
Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. Williams, OR: Horizon Herbs, 2000. Print.
European Medicines Agency. Assessment report on Solidago Virgaurea L. London. Sept 4, 2008. Accessed online September, 2022.
Howell, Patricia Kyritsi. Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. Mountain City, GA: BotanoLogos Books, 2006. Print.
Native American Ethnobotany Database. Goldenrod. Accessed online September, 2022.
Tilford, Gregory L. and Mary L. Wulff. Herbs for Pets. Mount Joy, PA: Fox Chapel Publishing, 2009. Print.
Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal, Volume I. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2008. Print.
Important Note: Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have chronic health conditions, or have any questions or concerns about this or any herbal home remedy.