Goldenrod Uses for Herbal Home Remedies
Using the Goldenrod Plant as a Home Remedy for Kidney Stones
When most people think of goldenrod, they don’t necessarily think of goldenrod uses for herbal medicine and home remedies. Goldenrod is usually thought of as something that causes seasonal allergy symptoms like runny nose, puffy eyes and sore throat. In reality, it’s not the goldenrod that causes allergy symptoms – ragweed usually blooms at the same time that the goldenrod appears with its fiery yellow flowers in mid to late summer, and it’s the ragweed that is the culprit for so much misery among allergy sufferers.
Goldenrod uses date back to the 1700s, when it was used as an alternative to the tea imported from the East Indies after the Boston Tea Party. In Europe, it was believed that discovering a patch of goldenrod near your house would ensure good fortune for all that lived there. Goldenrod uses also include being a great natural plant dye for wool, similar to beets and onion skins. And while I can’t swear the good fortune part is true, I certainly love walking through the tall goldenrod that grows along the curved spiral path in my backyard every year.
Goldenrod Uses: Natural Clothing Dye
Goldenrod is great for use as a natural clothing dye, giving natural fibers like wool and cotton a beautiful sage green or deep yellow color. If you’re harvesting goldenrod for use as a fabric dye or as a natural dye for wool, a good rule of thumb is to harvest by weight. One pound of clothing requires one pound of goldenrod to give it good color. Using an aluminum pot will also alter the color of the dye, so stick to stainless steel equipment.
Place all your plant material into the pot and add enough water to cover your goldenrod. Bring to a boil and simmer at a low boil for about one hour. Remove the goldenrod and add a color fixative of your choice – four tablespoons of alum for every four gallons of liquid will give a deep gold color, or two tablespoons of iron powder for every four gallons of water will result in a sage green.
After you add the color fixative, boil the water again for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature before adding your clothing item.
Soak the clothing in the goldenrod water overnight (no more than 12 hours), then remove, squeeze gently, and rinse under cool water. You can heat set the color using a warm iron for about five minutes.
Goldenrod Uses: Medicinal Uses for Goldenrod
Goldenrod uses in herbalism and home remedies include a variety of conditions such as urinary tract and bladder infections, kidney stones, gout and arthritis. Goldenrod roots contain small amounts of a compound similar to salicylic acid that reduces inflammation and promotes the removal of water from the body. Goldenrod uses differ from pharmaceutical and herbal diuretics in that they remove just water from the body, leaving vital salts that can affect metabolism.
Most often, you’ll find goldenrod used in tinctures, teas, and other liquid forms. Goldenrod essential oil is somewhat difficult to find, but is available from some specialty herbalists and herbal medicine supply stores.
Goldenrod Uses: Harvesting and Drying Goldenrod
Take care when harvesting goldenrod from your backyard or other location, because the flowers are favored by bees and wasps of all kinds. We’ve also seen lots of tiny, pretty spiders making their homes among the bright yellow goldenrod flowers. Wear gloves when harvesting, use a good pair of shears, and give your flowers a little shake before stashing them in a bag or basket to make sure you don’t bring in any extra house guests.
To dry goldenrod for medicinal uses, loosely tie a bundle of three or four stems together and hang upside down out of direct sunlight. A cool shady room works best, but anywhere cool and out of direct sunlight will do. When the stalks are dry enough to snap, you can transfer the bundles to paper bags for storage.
To dry goldenrod roots (which contain a compound similar to aspirin), remove all the dirt from the roots, and cut off the stems and flowers. The best way to dry the roots is over a wood stove, if you have one, but you can also put them on a wire rack and store them in a warm place until they are dry enough to snap. Store your goldenrod roots in glass jars with tight-fitting lids.
Goldenrod Uses: Tinctures
We prefer to make goldenrod tinctures for medicinal uses. Our formula is to pack a ½ gallon glass jar with as much goldenrod as we can, and then fill it with a mixture of three parts Everclear to one part distilled, dechlorinated water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow to steep for at least 30 days. After 30 days, decant into small amber glass bottles and label. Store in a cool, dry place. You can dose with this tincture (up to four droppers full per dose) to treat kidney stones and gout.
Goldenrod Uses: Vinegar
Goldenrod vinegar is a particularly tasty addition to autumn and winter salad dressings. It’s made very much like the tincture by packing a ½ gallon glass jar with as much goldenrod as you can fit into it, then covering it with a homemade apple cider vinegar. (Other homemade vinegar recipes work well, too.) Cap tightly with a plastic lid (the vinegar will erode a metal lid) and allow it to steep for six weeks. Mix it with olive oil to make delicious salad dressing, or take it by the teaspoonful every day as a tonic to help prevent kidney stones, gout, and intestinal gas.
Goldenrod Uses: Teas
Goldenrod tea is a wonderful herbal remedy for intestinal gas, gout, kidney stones, and as a supplement for when taking antibiotics for kidney and urinary tract infections. Just place two tablespoons of dried goldenrod stems, flowers, and/or leaves in a mug and cover with freshly boiled water. (Never boil the herb in the water!) Let it steep for at least 15 minutes before adding your favorite sweetener (if desired) and drinking. For maintenance purposes, goldenrod tea is safe to consume up to three cups per day. If using goldenrod tea for acute symptoms, drink up to five cups per day.
With its pleasant flavor, color, and bounty of healing properties, it’s no wonder that so many herbalists are turning to goldenrod and including it in their herbal formulas and healing herbs list.
Do you have any experience with goldenrod uses? Leave a comment here on this blog – I’d love to hear your stories!