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Monday, May 9, 2011
GOLDENROD - TOUCHED BY MIDAS? HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF GOLDENROD: GOLDENROD TISANE RECIPE
Goldenrod has been given a bad press because people confuse it with the yellow ragwort which flowers at the same time and causes hay fever in some people. Goldenrod is a healing herb and has been used for centuries to heal wounds, as its Latin name, Solidare (to make whole) suggests. Virgaurea basically means “pure gold” which refers to the colour of the flowers and to the fact that it is a very useful medicinal plant. Its colour is one that might have been given it by the Midas of Greek legends, who had the unhappy gift of having everything he touched turn to gold. It is native to Europe, and is the only one of the Solidare family to be native to Britain. It grew in the garden when I was a child, but got removed after someone was repeatedly stung by the bees that swarmed to the flowers. The plants grow to around 3 feet high, but the Canadian variety can grow higher.
Goldenrod cross-breeds easily, to the extent that there are now at least 130 species in North America alone. It has spread from Europe to Asia, North and South America and the Azores.
In Europe it can be found in the ingredients of cough medicines and arthritis medication, but not much research has been done into its properties. Because it has been used since time immemorial for a number of ailments it is generally considered safe for human consumption.
Goldenrod contains the bioflavonoids kaempferol and quercetin among others and phenolic glycosides which have anti-inflammatory actions. It is generally thought to have a diuretic action, and be anti-inflammatory. The tisane prepared from the plant can be used both internally for dispelling kidney and gall bladder stones, as well as for rheumatism, a general tonic, and urinary tract and yeast infections. The tisane may be drunk three times a day, a cupful each time, or applied to eczema and other skin irritations. It is believed that it might also have anti-spasmodic actions, and it is known to stimulate the functions of the liver and kidneys. It can also be used as a gargle for sore throats, and mouth infections.
Goldenrod is also known as Woundwort in the UK because the tisane can also be applied to old wounds as well as fresh ones to heal them. The tisane can be made from the flowering tops or from the whole plant which is above ground. It should be harvested just before it is in full flower and hung in an airy room until dry, then it can be crumbled or reduced to a powder and stored for later use. (Wear gloves to handle it as some people get allergic dermatitis from it.) Some people swear that it keeps colds and flu at bay if the tisane is drunk at least once a day during the winter. You can take ½ tsp of the powdered Goldenrod in a glass of water, as a general tonic, as well as for any of the ailments mentioned above. For ulcerous colitis and other stomach problems, you can chop a whole plant and boil it in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, then allow to steep for another 15 mins before straining and drinking. This is good for hay fever and other seasonal allergies as it soothes the mucous membranes in the lungs.
Goldenrod has been used in folk medicines around the world to treat the following ailments: - TB, diabetes, gout, enlargement of the liver, haemorrhages of all kinds, menstrual problems, piles and asthma.
After the Boston Tea Party in 1773 there was a shortage of tea, so Americans made a substitute with equal parts of Goldenrod, betony, red clover and New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus Americana). Later Goldenrod was exported to China where it commanded a high price as a tea substitute.
In some European countries Goldenrod is thought to point to riches, whether in the form of treasure which you can find if you hold the flowering tops in your hand as you will have visions of where treasure is hidden, or point to hidden springs (close to where it grows wild) which were equally valuable in ancient times.
2-3 tsps dried whole herb, chopped
1 cup boiling water
Put the herb in a cup and pour boiling water over it. Leave it to steep for 15 minutes then strain and drink.
This has Taste and is a Treat.