Goldenrod has a long and colorful history throughout many parts of the world.
The Great Saladin (1137-93) who rose to be a caliph of Egypt, and who fought King Richard in the Third Crusade, greatly treasured goldenrod as a medicine. He introduced it to the Middle East and there it long remained as an important crop. When it was introduced as a medicinal herb in Elizabethan England, it commanded high prices. That was not very long-lasting, however; when it was found growing wild its prices and popularity plummeted dramatically. Brews of goldenrod were also popular in history. In Europe, the leaves were concocted into a brew known as Blue Mountain Wine, and teas were brewed as well in North America particularly by Native Americans. After the Boston Tea Party, when the rebellious American colonists had dumped all their tea into Boston Harbor, they discovered they had lost their favorite beverage. Not to be deterred for very long, they found that an excellent tea could be made from the leaves of the North American goldenrod, and they named it Liberty Tea.
The properties of goldenrod are similar to many other herbs: antifungal, diuretic, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, astringent, antiseptic, and carminative. However, the actions of goldenrod to the kidneys, urinary tract, skin, allergies, and cardiovascular system are impressive.
The aerial part of the plant is used and is harvested late summer into early fall before the flowers are in full bloom. There are many varieties of goldenrod and although I have not heard or experienced any adverse effects, it’s best to research the plant when in doubt.
Goldenrod has a history of use with the bladder and urinary system. The astringent and antiseptic qualities tighten and tone the urinary system and bladder making it useful for UTI infections.
The Latin name solidago means to make whole. The flowers and the leaves can be infused with oil or used as a poultice for wounds and burns. The infused oil combines well with plantain, yarrow, and St. John’s wort for a nice wound healing skin salve. It also makes a nice rub for tired achy muscles and arthritis pain.
Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make this a good choice for sore throats. As an expectorant, goldenrod can expel mucous easily from the lungs. Try it infused with honey or as a tea with honey added. The diaphoretic property of goldenrod helps to open pores of the skin to release sweat during a fever.
For a period of time in the U.S., goldenrod was known as Blue Mountain Tea. When I first tried making a tea from goldenrod, I was expecting something pungent and challenging in flavor and was delightfully surprised to find it to have an agreeable taste. In any case, it is a good source of the constituent rutin, a powerful flavonoid that benefits the cardiovascular system. Rutin has the ability to support circulation for the cardiovascular system as well as to increase capillary strength. Some say it is higher in antioxidants than green tea!