Goldenrod; solidago spp
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Ruling Planet: Sun
Ruling Element: Air
Taste: Aromatic, Bitter, Pungent, Sweet
Energy: Drying, Relaxing, Stimulating, Toning, Warming
Dosha Effect: PK-, V+
Tissue State: Atrophy, Torpor, Depression
Common Name: Goldenrod, Goldruthe, Solidago, Woundwort
Ayurvedic Name: n/a
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Native Region: North America
Ruling Chakra: Solar Plexus, Crown
Botanical Description: There are over 100 species of Solidago found throughout the world, though majority call home in North America. Goldenrod is part of the Asteraceae family, which is most commonly known as the Sunflower family. The Solidago species is very tolerant to different soil types, and often performs well in underdeveloped soils. Additionally, goldenrod is considered a perennial plant, which means you can expect Goldenrod to pop up annually without seeding yourself. You can find Goldenrod hanging out in large fields, or near bodies of water. Although, because this plant is tolerant to most soil conditions, you can also find Goldenrod hanging out in large prairies and lush forests.
Goldenrod is a tall and handsome plant, but it’s commonly mistaken for ragweed. To make the difference clear, Goldenrod can grow up to 7’ tall and with each stem they produce, you will find a well lined-up assortment of yellow flowers that are densely companact to one another. Their stems are hairy, and their leaves are alternate and simple. You will also notice that its leaves also have hair, and a main distincting factor when ID’ing Goldenrod is noticing 3 large veins within its leaves. If you crush the leaves in your hand and become familiar with its scent, you should be greeted by a sweet and salty aroma of the oceanic sea and fresh balsam. Might I also mention, it’s an insect pollinator, so you will find so many fascinating insects taking home on this plant, which is a great sight in itself.
Key Constituents: Diterpenes, Flavonoids, Phenyl Glycosides, Polysaccharides, Saponins, Tannins, Volatile Oil
Actions: Antimicrobial, Antiseptic, Antiphlogistic, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Carminative, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Expectorant, Styptic
Sustainability + Ethics: No known factors. Invasive in non-native regions.
Affininites: Bladder, Kidneys, Respiratory System, Skin, Urinary Tract
Harvesting: Goldenrod shows its bright yellow self in the late season of Summer, and into the early transition of Autumn. When you spot Goldenrod around your hometown, that will be your first indicator that Autumn is arriving shortly. I love this so much about Goldenrod because it’s a delicate reminder that it’s just about time to turn inward and to prepare for the colder months. Goldenrod is known of mildewing, so you will want to check its leaves for any white substances, and to be positive that you have a healthy leaf. You will also want to harvest at the first sign of flowering to ensure that the blooms retain their yellow hue. Goldenrod is considered invasive outside of its native regions, but as with all harvesting guidelines, and to do so in an ethical manner, refuse harvesting for Goldenrod if there is not an abundance of it. While this plant is not endangered, it is part of a greater ecosystem, so make sure there are plenty to choose from. I like to say that if it looks like I didn’t take any at all, it was a good harvest. Flowering stalks can be dried in bundles hung upside down shady location. For the roots, they can be harvested in early winter after the plants have started going to seed. Rinse roots to dry on a rack.
Uses: If Goldenrod could tell anyone anything, it’s that they are not the same thing as ragweed, and more often than not, they are not the culprit for your allergies. The pollen is sticky and heavy so it doesn’t float into the air and insects pollinate the plant instead of wind, unlike ragweed. In fact, Goldenrod is a great supporting ally for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Goldenrod is also widely known for its dermatological support, meaning it loves aiding the skin! From topical sores, infections, chapped + cracked skin, aches and pains, this is a great herb to have on hand, especially with kids around or if you have a labor intensive job that often comes with scrapes and cuts as part of the job description. If one does find themself with a deep scrape or cut, a poultice of Goldenrod would be indicated. Simply chew up its flowers and leaves in your mouth for a few moments, or mix with a small bit of water, and apply the marc onto the exterior wound. You may apply a bandage if necessary and allow it to sit for an hour, but continue to change it out until the tissues bind the skin together.
Goldenrod is a premier decongestant, so it will be indicated for those who are suffering from allergies, or the common cold and flu. It can be taken as an infusion, tea or tincture during this ache. I suffer from horrible allergies come the late summer, and a full day of a goldenrod protocall dries up my sinuses every time. You will really be able to establish it's focus on the toning, mildly stimulating, and antimicrobial actions upon the mucous membranes during times of congestion. Although, most Herbalists state that it’s not through its anti-histamine properties that Goldenrod allows one to cope with allergy season, but rather its toning and drying actions upon the upper respiratory mucus membrane itself.
Another affinity that Goldenrod craves is the urinary tract and digestive system as it is used as a diuretic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory support. Because Goldenrod increases one’s desire to urinate, it’s great for those who are trying to pass a painful kidney stone. When Goldenrod is supported with plenty of fluids, it acts as a spasmolytic for the muscles of the urinary passages because it eases spasm, pain, and inflammation associated with inflammatory diseases of the urinary system, including cystitis. Goldenrod helps thin the mucus and fluid for passage while astringing the tissues to allay further pathogenic invasion. The astringent tannins in Goldenrod contribute to its healing qualities and combat diarrhea.
Since Goldenrod is expressed in Autumn, this means it is ruled by the Vata dosha. In Ayurvedic practices, this is the time of the year where Ether and Air are most dominate expressing their delicate qualities of flow and mobility inspiring much discovery towards how we behave during these cooler months. This is also why I stated Goldenrod as being an Air ruler. More so, Goldenrod sways in the wind delicately, and is a plant that represents the first shift of a new wind (new season). Because of these elemental qualities, this is how we conclude the primary dosha for this plant. The Vata dosha brings a sense of tranquil movement throughout the mind and body, but just as blissful as the other two doshas can be, there can be excess and depletion when not cared for. In Vata season we must express the okayness that is solitude and grounding. So, because Vata expresses damp and coolness, Goldenrod is a great ally for those with a strong excess Vata because of its warming and drying qualities. Although, Goldenrod can be slightly cooling so it will be great for certain Pitta types as well, but remember that it’s still a dry plant and may not be the first plant to come to mind when balancing an excess Pitta. Additionally, the Kapha dosha could really benefit from its drying and astringent properties as Kaphas tend to be on the mucous-y side of the spectrum and tend to hold lots of oil.
As an energetic ally, Goldenrod essence is for those who experience an inability to be true to themselves, and often relate themselves to being an imposter. The essence of Goldenrod will allow one to find their true footprint on the world, and to showcase real authenticity. One would be indicated to use Goldenrod essence if they find themselves unwilling to play nicely with others, or if they tend to want to follow suit, instead of being the leader. More so, if one finds that they are unable to express themselves in a crowd because of their worry of how they will be perceived, or worry about how they are not actually worth the breath, this would be another indication of where Goldenrod would be of great emotional use. Another energetic component that I find fascinating personally in my work with Goldenrod, is its ability to really be there to teach a lesson. I say this about most plants, but because Goldenrod is first seen at the very last moments of Summer, and the early moments of Autumn, it’s a subtle reminder to go outdoors, especially in moments where you may want to quickly dweleve in. While I believe that Goldenrod represents the inwardness that comes with Autumn because it is an ancestral plant our elders used to notice the next seasonal transitiotion, I believe that it also still wants us to push on and enjoy the final moments of bright colors and warmth that comes with late Summer. All of which are represented in the physical of Goldenrod. Lastly, when I feel too closed into the home, or if I find myself feeling a bit lethargic, Goldenrod lifts me to be the sun itself and to be the warmth in the times that feel cool and damp.
Allergies, Congestion, Dry Tongue, Watery Eyes, Itchy Nose, Colic, Flatulence, Scrapes, Burns, Minor Cuts, Ulcers, Edema, Stomach Cramps, Vomiting, Heavily Influenced By Others, Non-Authenticity, Subject To Peer Pressure, Cystitis, Urethritis, Bad Relationship To Money.
Safety: Not recommend for anyone with an allergy to the asteraceae family. Generally safe, although Goldenrod may support mild kidney conditions, it is contraindicated for those with severe kidney problems. Avoid when pregnant.
Tincture: Fresh 1:2 in 95% alcohol or dry 1:4 in 60% alcohol; 30-60 drops daily.
Infusion: 1-2 tsp per cup, 4-6 cups daily.
Essence: 10-20 drops, 2-3x’s daily.
Preparations: Cordial, Essence, Infusion, Poultice, Tea, Tincture, Vinegar
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