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Historically, goldenrod (Solidago canadensis or Solidago virgaurea) has been used topically for wound healing. It has also been used as a diuretic (helps rid the body of excess fluid). The name solidago means "to make whole."
Traditionally, goldenrod has also been used to treat tuberculosis, diabetes, enlargement of the liver, gout, hemorrhoids, internal bleeding, asthma, and arthritis. Topically, goldenrod is used in folk medicine to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat, as well as slow healing wounds.
No high quality studies have examined goldenrod's effect in humans. A few animal and test tube studies suggest it may help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, fight infections, and lower blood pressure. It does seem to have diuretic properties, and is used in Europe to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent or treat kidney stones. In fact, goldenrod is commonly found in teas to help "flush out" kidney stones and stop inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.
Goldenrod is often blamed for seasonal allergies, but it is another plant -- ragweed, which blooms at the same time -- that is usually responsible for allergic reactions.
Because goldenrod has an unusual ability to crossbreed with other plants, there are at least 130 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.
European goldenrod is a perennial often found along roadsides and in open fields with single woody stems that grow to heights of 3 - 7 feet. Its yellow flowers, which generally appear in August and September, are only about ¼-inch wide but come in large clusters. Leaves alternate between toothed and smooth edges.
Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever. However, some people may have a skin reaction (allergic contact dermatitis) when they come in contact with goldenrod.
The above ground parts of the goldenrod plant are dried and used for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Goldenrod may act as a diuretic (flushing water from the body by increasing urine output). It may also have anti-inflammatory properties. However, it has not really been studied in humans.
Goldenrod is sometimes suggested for the following conditions:
Never use herbal products on open wounds.
Goldenrod may be taken in a variety of forms, including the dried herb (for teas, capsules), tincture, or fluid extract.
How to Take It
Do not give goldenrod to a child without talking to your doctor first.
Speak to a knowledgeable health care provider to determine the right dose for you.
The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a qualified health care provider trained in the field of botanical medicine.
Some people may develop a mild allergic reaction to this herb. Do not use goldenrod if you are allergic to it.
Side effects can include heartburn.
People with the following conditions should ask their doctor before taking goldenrod:
Do not take goldenrod if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have heart or kidney disease.
There are no known scientific reports of interactions between goldenrod and conventional medications. However, interactions between the following drugs and goldenrod are possible:
Diuretics (water pills) -- Goldenrod may increase the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of dehydration.
Lithium -- Because goldenrod may have diuretic effects, it could cause levels of lithium to build up in the blood.
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Webster D, Taschereau P, Belland RJ, Sand C, Rennie RP. Antifungal activity of medicinal plant extracts; preliminary screening studies. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 4;115(1):140-6.
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Review Date: 5/2/2011
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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