6 Things to Make with Goldenrod
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.
Another benefit of goldenrod is that it increases blood flow in all areas of the body. So lets just say that instead of putting only God knows what into our man’s body from a little “blue”pill, he can take a capsule of goldenrod essential oil mixed with a carrier oil. IT WORKS and it is natural. No need to spend $100 a pill that has harmful side effects.
Hi Shay, Thanks for sharing that tip with us!
It’s great to know that goldenrod has solid medical uses! It’s certainly common enough around here.
Hi Marie, I’m glad you found the information interesting! It’s always fun to learn how beneficial some “pesky weeds” can be! :)
The farm we just moved to has an entire field of goldenrod, so I am excited to learn all of this and will be definitely making some salve. Great post as always!
Thanks Lisa! How wonderful to have a whole field of goldenrod! I’ve been enjoying the beautiful photos of your new farm – looks like you found a slice of heaven on earth! :)
thank-you so much. i just picked some today.
Wonderful timing! :)
Awesome info, as usual. My favorite thing lately is finding all the benefits to the “weeds” that are everywhere around me. I’ve learned quite a bit from you, actually, & it’s inspired me to check out all the weeds & wildflowers I find near my house & in my garden. Even my husband checks with me now to make sure it’s not something usable! This stuff has always made sense to him, but he’s not had the time or patience to look it all up! (I don’t have a lot of time either, but I do have the motivation. ) Thanks for all your help with it!
Hi Kristen! Isn’t it fun to learn more about the plants growing right around us? I’m continually amazed as I discover something new each season. That’s wonderful that your husband is on the same page too. Mine is so sweet – his very first job was in lawncare, eradicating weeds, but now he scopes out and gets excited when he finds vacant houses with unsprayed yards filled with dandelions! :)
Loved your informative and interesting article on the uses of goldenrod! Thank you for teaching and sharing!!!
Hi Frani, I’m so happy that you liked the article! :)
Thank you! Today I was out on my run and I noticed TONS of Goldenrod, and I was wondering if I could use it in a salve. And wouldn’t you know I saw your post! Thanks so much. I’m thinking of making a ‘farmers + gardeners’ salve and I think this might work. :)
What perfect timing! :) I love your salve idea too!
I was wondering, I’ve read other places to use the leaves and I’ve read to use the flowers before they bloom, and here it says the flowers as it they are bloomed, so which is the best method? Does anyone know? I would like to make tea and potential herb infused oil. So for potency and for flavor what is the best to harvest? Thanks! This article is great
Man I really messed that up didn’t I? Lol as if they are bloomed not it and potentially not potential haha
Not a problem – I still understood exactly what you meant! :)
Hi Kiera! I’ve read it both ways too. I’ve read articles by respected herbalists that like to harvest the stalk, just before the plant blooms, while others (just as respected) use the flowering tops. I’m not sure of the best potency and suspect it may be one of those intuitive things where you go with what feels most right to you. Glad you liked the article!
HI thanks so much. Am wondering if it’s best to use only flowers and not any leaves or stems?
Hi Pamela! I use mostly flowers and a few leaves, but I know of others that use the whole flowering tops (stems and all). So, it’s okay if some stems and leaves get in there too.
Anyone have experience using the fresh flowers in the oil?
I have a special fondness for goldenrod– several years ago I was in the middle of nowhere in Canada and developed a UTI. I went out into the yard and there were a few goldenrod plants. an infusion saved my vacation!
Hi Louise, What wonderful timing to find goldenrod on your vacation! I do know several herbalists that prefer to use fresh plant matter, you just need to be a little more careful so the moisture doesn’t cause the oil to spoil. Letting your plants wilt overnight so they’re not so high in moisture helps. You can cover the top of the jar with a scrap of cloth or cheesecloth so that it can “breathe” while it’s infusing. Once done, strain your oil and let it sit for a day or two to settle out. Sludge and watery stuff will sink to the bottom and you can carefully pour the good oil off into a clean, dry bottle, leaving the sediment behind.
I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and find it such an inspiration! I just cut some goldenrod today, and have some dandelion growing also. Do you think a salve with a mix of these would be beneficial? Just wondering, and starting to experiment!
Hi Leona, I’m so happy that you enjoy the blog! :) I love the combination of goldenrod and dandelion flowers. I make a lotion bar (and will eventually get that recipe typed up & on here!) that combines dandelion, arnica, goldenrod and comfrey – great for sore, achey, hard-working hands!
Did you ever make the goldenrod soap? I was wondering what it looked like when it was finished curing.
Hi Shawn, I haven’t gotten to make it yet, since I ran out of olive oil. My order from Bramble Berry is supposed to arrive Monday afternoon though and it’s high on my list of things to make! I’m really curious how it will look too. Will keep you posted!
I am infusing goldenrod flowers in olive oil and making goldenrod tea to make into soap this afternoon. Will let you know how it turns out.
How fun! I’d love to hear how it turns out. I’m chomping at the bit to make mine too! :)
Is there a best way to use goldenrod for certain ailments? Ex, salve is best for painful joints. Or are you able to get more constituents out of goldenrod in a certain preparation? Do u get more out of it making tea, vinegar or tintype or oil? I have fields of it and want to best utilize it for certain ailments. Sobfar I’ve just drank it as tea, but if I can get more benefit by using a tincture I would prefer that. Is there any proof?
Hi Lisa, That’s a great question! If I had to loosely categorize which form is best for which aliment, it would be something like – the tea is best for treating urinary tract, while the oil/salve is ideal for applying to sore muscles. Applied as a poultice, it can be used on mild wounds or burns, though a cooled tea could help there as well. The tincture form can be utilized for treating allergies or using in a throat spray, like this recipe:
How wonderful to have fields of goldenrod to enjoy! :)
What area of the country does it grow? i would like to know so i could go out and forage for it.
Hi Barbara! I’m not exactly sure outside of my area (southeast USA), but I believe it’s native to much of North America. If you do a google search for goldenrod and the state you live in, you should be able to find some information specific to what types grow where you live. :)
Thank you Jan for this informative article! I’m also enjoying your latest book (and loved the videos with it). Canada Goldenrod is my first foray into wildcrafting. I’m drying flowers and leaves. I’ll be writing about it soon on my facebook page, where I wax poetic about my journey as a budding herbalist. I do hope you’ll join me!
Hi Lori, So glad that you’re enjoying the book & video course! Thanks for sharing your page with us! :)
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