Goldenrod is everywhere - waving at me from above the blue and purple chicory, teasing me, dancing behind the brown grasses drying in the autumn sun.
Goldenrod, Solidago, Golden Dagger!
Many people take one look at goldenrod and run in the other direction, sneezing and coughing, but goldenrod is NOT the source of your autumnal allergies. Poor, showy goldenrod has bright and obvious flowers, so it gets blamed. The big, yellow flowers do not have airborne pollen, so you’d have to put the flowers IN your nose to cause a reaction (watch out for hornets).
The plant to blame for sniffles and sneezes is ragweed – this sneaky plant is small, green, and unassuming, but the pollen blown on the breeze irritates many, many people. Ragweed and goldenrod do tend to grow near each other in ditches and fields, hence the confusion. Here’s more about Ragweed vs. Goldenrod from the Herbal Academy.
The worst part of this confusion is that goldenrod is a cure that grows alongside the ailment. It actually offers great relief for sinus allergy sufferers.
Besides allergy relief, goldenrod is also a gentle nervine and helps with midwinter blues. As a tincture, honey, or tea, goldenrod is like a burst of sunshine in the cold grey seasons!
The bushy yellow flowers are broom-like, so it is no surprise that goldenrod is a great sweeper, a cleanser for the kidneys, liver, and urinary tract. I use it as a complementary herb for mild urinary tract infections and kidney stones, as well as to flush the urinary organs after an illness.
Goldenrod is a tasty medicine if you ask me. It is a bitter aromatic and has a citrus quality to its scent and flavor. This especially comes out in the goldenrod infused honey (recipe below).
Harvest fresh goldenrod flowers, stems, and leaves by snipping them off in full bloom. The roots are also beneficial, but best harvested after the first frost. Before using fresh goldenrod in any of these preparations, I suggest that you check them well – like Queen Anne’s Lace, the flowers are happy little bug condominiums. Goldenrod spiders, flies, bees, and wasps all enjoy spending time among the fluffy blooms.
Goldenrod Recipes and Remedies
Goldenrod Flower Infused Honey
This is particularly good by the spoonful or added to tea to help ease allergies or to soothe a sore throat from sinus drainage.
Take fresh goldenrod cuttings and pull the flowers off of the stems. Fill your desired jar with the fluffy, yellow flowers. Pour honey into the jar, using a chopstick to gently stir the flowers – your aim is to get as many air bubbles out as you can.
Seal the jar up and put it in a sunny window for a week. Don’t open it, but give it a shake or turn it upside down once a day to make sure the flowers are under the honey. The honey will become runny as it absorbs the moisture from the flowers. Finally, strain it, label it, and store it in the fridge so it doesn’t ferment or mold. (More infused honey here!)
You can toss the strained, honey-soaked flowers or pour boiling water over them to make a very sweet tea. If you pour vodka over them and let them sit for a week or two in a jar, you’ll have goldenrod cordial! No waste here! (Learn more about cordials and liqueurs!)
This is my go-to for sinus allergy treatment year-round. I’ve done a whole dropperful twice daily for intense sinus issues, and I have heard of others who add it to their water for drinking all day.
Chop fresh goldenrod flowers, roots, leaves, and stems and put them into a jar. Cover with booze of choice (I use vodka) and cap the jar.
Label the jar with the date and contents – trust me, you just might forget if you don’t. Put the jar in a cabinet somewhere out of the light, and shake it every now and again. I tend to let mine sit for about 6 weeks, and then I strain and bottle.
Goldenrod begins to bloom around early August at Lughnasadh, and I use the blooms in vases on altar tops and tables in honor of Lugh and the golden light of autumn as the first harvest is celebrated.
Fresh goldenrod flowers turn to fluffy seeds once dried. Don’t bother trying to dehydrate it, just use goldenrod fresh when at all possible.