In February 2013, herbal remedies and supplements became more difficult to source in Canada. At that time any natural health products that were unable to obtain approval from Health Canada were removed from healthfood stores and pharmacies. In order to maintain our personal health with natural, life giving herbs and supplements, Canadians now need to grow, harvest, and preserve their own herbs and supplements. To help you take care of your family’s health, Joybilee Farm is providing a series of herbal information posts, so that you can harvest your own herbs and create the herbal medicines that you personally need to thrive.
Canadian Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Canadian Goldenrod is a well known perennial wild flower, that blooms from August through September. It is a really good bee flower and will attract bees to your garden. Natural dyers know of its golden yellow flowers and covet it for its strong, warm yellow dye, that is rich and cheerful. Its healing properties are not so well known.
Therapeutic Uses of Golden Rod
Canadian Golden rod is astringent and antiseptic, and is useful as an anti-cartarrhal. It relieves excess mucous in the upper respiratory system — nose and throat. Goldenrod is also anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, carminative, diuretic, and diaphoretic. It helps remove toxins from the body by inducing sweating and urination.
Its active ingredients include saponins, essential oil, bitter principle, tannins, flavinoids.
Goldenrod is perhaps the first plant to consider for upper respiratory catarrh, whether acute or chronic. The plant may also be usind in combination with other herbs to treat influenza. Its carminative properties point to a role in the treatment of flatulent dyspepsia. As an anti-inflammatory urinary tract antiseptic, goldenrod may be helpful in cystitis, urethritis, and similar condition affecting this system. As a gargle, goldenrod can be effective for laryngitis and pharyngitis. It may be applied externally to promote healing of wounds. (Hoffman. Medical Herbalism, the science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press: Rochester, 2003)
Goldenrod is hardy to zone 3. It can grow up to 4 feet in height. Space plants on 3 feet centres. Golden rod grows by sending up flowering stalks from the root ball. Each root will provide many flowering stocks, with cheerful yellow flowers that are attractive to bees and butterflies. You can get cultivars at a garden centre, or get a root division from a friend. Transplant them into your garden in early spring, rather than trying to grow from seed. The seeds are difficult to start. The roots are strong and once you can get it growing, you will have a easy time letting it thrive.
It thrives in average soil with only occasional watering.
When to Harvest
Harvest Golden Rod for Medicinal use anytime in the Summer and Fall, when the flowers are in bloom. Gather the above ground parts of the plant, by cutting the stem off at ground level. Use the fresh leaves and flowers to make a tincture. To preserve them dry, gather the stems with an elastic band and hang upside down to dry, in an airy place, in the shade or away from direct sunlight. Once dry, strip the leaves and flowers from the dried stems and store them in a cool, dry place, in a glass jar, away from light.
There are several ways to tap into goldenrod’s medicinal benefits. Make a tincture if you want to take a spoonful of medicine or to combine with other medicines. Make an infusion of the dried herbs to use in tea for a cold, or if you want to use it as a basis for cough drops or syrups. Make capsules from the dried herbs to take them in pill form, a convenient way to use herbs when you are travelling.
How to make golden rod tincture
Cut the fresh plant into 3 to 5 inch pieces and press tightly into a sterilized canning jar. Cover with vodka, using a knife along the inside of the glass jar, to release air bubbles. Cap tightly and leave in a sunny place to allow the leaves and flowers to release their medicine into the alcohol. Strain after two weeks, and bottle in an amber glass bottle. Cap tightly and store in a cool, dark place.
How to dry golden rod for tea/infusion
To dry golden rod, gather the flowering stems, when in bloom, but before the open flowers begin to fade. Bundle and hang upside down in an airy place, in the shade. Once the plants are fully dry, remove the dried flowers and leaves from the stalks. Discard the stocks and save the dried leaves and flowers.
Use in an infusion for urinary tract infections. Combine with yarrow, for colds or flu symptoms.
How to make capsules of golden rod
See my instructions for using a capsule machine. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the dried goldenrod leaves and flowers and fill capsules, using a capsule machine. About 2 tbsp of ground golden rod will fill 24 capsules. These are convenient for treating a urinary tract infection.
Goldenrod may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family.
Preparations and Dosage:
Tincture dosage is 2 to 4 ml three times a day (1:5 in 40%)
Infusion – 1 cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 tsp of dried herb, infuse for 10 to 15 min. Drink 3 times a day.
Commission E recommends a daily dosage of 6 to 12 grams of herb, or equivalent.
The Capsule Machine, To fill “00“ size capsules
Capsule Filler Kit + 1000 Gelatin Capsules – Capsule Machine Size ’00’