THE HERBAL CORNER - Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea)
Anti-Microbial and Anti-inflammatory Properties!
European Goldenrod is a perennial often found along roadsides and in open fields with single woody stems that grow to heights of 3 to 7 feet. Its yellow flowers, which generally appear in August and September, are only about 1-inch wide but come in profuse clusters. Leaves alternate between toothed and smooth edges. Because goldenrod has an unusual ability to crossbreed with other plants, there are at least 130 recognizable species of goldenrod in the United States alone. This herb is native to Europe and has spread to Asia, the Azores, and both North and South America.
Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever. Its pollen grains, which are meant to be carried by insects, are much heavier than those of ragweed and other plants with airborne pollens that may be associated with allergies or hay fever. The above ground parts of the plants are dried and used for medicinal purposes.
Historically, Goldenrod, also called European Goldenrod, has been used topically for wound healing; in fact, the name Solidago means "to make whole." Today, goldenrod is primarily used as an aquaretic agent, meaning that it promotes the loss of water from the body (as compared to a diuretic, which promotes the loss of both water and electrolytes such as salt). It is used frequently in Europe to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent or treat kidney stones. In addition to wound healing, goldenrod has traditionally been used externally to relieve inflammation of the mouth and throat. It may also ease the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
The ability of goldenrod to flush water from the body, combined with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, makes it useful for a wide range of conditions including:
- Inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract
- Kidney stones
- Upper respiratory congestion
- Periodontal disease
- Some gastrointestinal disorders
Topical applications may aid in wound healing and skin conditions such as eczema. Goldenrod may also be used as a gargle for laryngitis or sore throats.
Goldenrod may be taken in a variety of forms, including tea, tincture, or fluid extract. Goldenrod is generally considered safe and has no known negative side effects. However, you should not use this herb if you have impaired heart or kidney function. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult with your physician before taking any medication, including herbs. There are no scientific reports to date about the use of Goldenrod in children.
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Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.
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