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Table of Contents > Herbs > Goldenrod
Botanical Name:  Solidago virgaurea
Common Names:  European goldenrod
Plant Description
Parts Used
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Available Forms
How to Take It
Possible Interactions
Supporting Research


Historically, goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), also called European goldenrod, has been used topically for wound healing. In fact, the name Solidago means "to make whole."

In traditional medical practices, goldenrod has been used to treat tuberculosis, diabetes, enlargement of the liver, gout, hemorrhoids, internal bleeding, asthma, and rheumatic illnesses (disorders of the muscles and joints). Topical preparations of goldenrod are used in folk medicine to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat as well as slow-healing wounds.

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 fact, goldenrod is commonly found in teas (typically with other herbs including uva ursi) to help "flush out" kidney stones and alleviate inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.

Laboratory studies have found that active compounds in goldenrod help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, and lower blood pressure. Some studies also suggest that it may have antioxidant effects. This herb has not been extensively studied in people.

Plant Description

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.

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 -inch wide but come in large clusters. Leaves alternate between toothed and smooth edges.

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.

Parts Used

The above ground parts of the goldenrod plant are dried and used for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

The ability of goldenrod to flush water from the body, combined with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial (ability to fight infection) properties, it is used by herbalists for a wide range of health problems including:

  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Colds and flu
  • Inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Laryngitis
  • Sore throats

Topical applications may aid in wound healing and skin conditions such as eczema.

Available Forms

Goldenrod may be taken in a variety of forms, including tea, tincture, or fluid extract.

How to Take It


The appropriate dose of goldenrod for a child should be determined by adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20-25 kg), the appropriate dose of goldenrod for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.


Recommended adult doses are as follows:

  • Tea: Place 2 to 3 tsp of dried herb in one cup of water, bring to a boil, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes; strain and drink. Take 3 times per day.
  • Gargle: Make the tea described above, and gargle with it 3 times per day.
  • Fluid extract (1:1) in 25% ethanol: Take 0.5 to 2 mL 2 to 3 times per day.
  • Tincture (1:5) in 45% ethanol: Take 2 to 4 mL 2 to 3 times per day.

Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day when taking this herb.


The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

Goldenrod is generally considered safe. Some individuals may develop a mild allergic reaction to the herb.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as people with impaired heart or kidney function should not take goldenrod.

Possible Interactions

There are no known scientific reports of interactions between goldenrod and conventional medications.

Supporting Research

Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998:139-140.

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:178-181.

Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications; 1998:77-78.

el-Ghazaly M, Khayyal MT, Okpanyi SN, Arens-Corell M. Study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Populus tremula, Solidago virgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior. Arzneimittelforschung. 1992;42(3):333-336.

Klein-Galczinsky C. [Pharmacological and clinical effectiveness of a fixed phytogenic combination of trembling poplar (Populus tremula), true goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in mild to moderate rheumatic complaints.] [in German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999;149(8-10):248-253.

Meyer B, Schneider W, Elstner EF. Antioxidative properties of alcoholic extracts from Fraxinus excelsior, Populus tremula and Solidago virgaurea. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995;45(2):174-176.

Miller LG, Murray WJ, eds. Herbal Medicinals: A Clinician's Guide. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press; 1998.

Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler's Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press; 1999:90-92.

Schatzle M, Agathos M, Breit R. Allergic contact dermatitis from goldenrod (Herba solidaginis) after systemic administration. Contact Dermatitis. 1998 Nov;39(5):271-272.

von Kruedener S, Schneider W, Elstner EF. A combination of Populus tremula, Solidagovirgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior as an anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic drug. A short review. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995;45(2):169-171.

Review Date: April 2002
Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Jacqueline A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor Integrative Medicine, Boston, MA; Gary Kracoff, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Johnson Drugs, Natick, MA; Steven Ottariono, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Veteran's Administrative Hospital, Londonderry, NH; R. Lynn Shumake, PD, Director, Alternative Medicine Apothecary, Blue Mountain Apothecary & Healing Arts, University of Maryland Medical Center, Glenwood, MD; Marcellus Walker, MD, Lac (November 2000), St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center, New York, NY; David Winston, Herbalist (November 2000), Herbalist and Alchemist, Inc., Washington, NJ. All interaction sections have also been reviewed by a team of experts including Joseph Lamb, MD (July 2000), The Integrative Medicine Works, Alexandria, VA;Enrico Liva, ND, RPh (August 2000), Vital Nutrients, Middletown, CT; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy (March 2000), Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA (July 2000), President and Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine, Honolulu, HI.

Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc

The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed herein.

  Uses of this Herb
Common Cold
Diabetes Mellitus
Kidney Stones
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Urinary Tract Infection in Women
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