Goldenrod – characteristics, cultivation, use and curative effects

Goldenrod flowers
Goldenrod flowers

Goldenrod is the medicinal herb for kidney problems. The pretty composite, which is often found on roadsides and clearings, contains numerous ingredients that can increase the kidney activity enormously. The plants, known under their botanical name Solidago virgaurea, have been considered as a powerful medicinal plant since antiquity, even though it was more commonly used for wound healing at that time.

Profile of Goldenrod:

Scientific name: Solidago virgaurea

Plant family: composite, asters

Other names: Aaron’s rod, woundwort

Sowing time / Planting time: April – June

Flowering period: June – September

Harvest time: June – September

Location: sunny locations

Soil quality: dry, calcareous and rather loamy soils

Use as a medicinal herb: bladder weakness, nephritis, kidney stones, dropsy, wound healing, gout, rheumatism

Use as spice herb: wild herb salads

Plant characteristics and classification of Goldenrod

Origin and distribution of goldenrod

Geographically, goldenrod has a very large habitat. It is represented in almost all European and Asian countries. In the subtropical areas, however, it is found only in higher elevations with a more temperate climate. The goldenrods are mostly native plants in eastern North America, where about 60 species occur.

Goldenrod is a common herb in nature. It can be found mainly on roadsides, forest clearings, pastures, ditches or meadows with heavy soils and usually appears in larger numbers.

Plant order of goldenrod

The common or European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) belongs to the plant family of the composite. It is related to many other important beneficial or medicinal herbs such as dandelion, marigold or wormwood. In the narrower assignment, the plant belongs to the genus of goldenrod, which has a large variety of more than 100 species. Other known species from this family, for example, are the Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) or the giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea).

In addition, there are also other subspecies for the species Solidago virgaurea. The best known are:

Botanical name ↔ English name

Solidago virgaurea ssp. altiplanities ↔ High Plains Goldenrod

Solidago virgaurea ssp. Asiatica ↔ Asian Goldenrod

Solidago virgaurea ssp. minuta ↔ Dwarf goldenrod

Solidago virgaurea ssp. virgaurea ↔ European goldenrod

Look and characteristics of common goldenrod


Goldenrod is a perennial and typically herbaceous plant that can reach heights of growth up to 110 cm (43 inches). However, the plant is usually much smaller and reaches heights between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 inches). The rhizome of the plant appears nodular, usually bushy and sometimes roller-like. The individual roots appear dark brown with some coarser root hairs.


The leaves are divided into long-stemmed basal leaves and rather short-stemmed leaves. The leaves are generally quite long, have a large leaf surface and are not hairy. At the edge they are slightly sawn. On the surface of the rather light green leaves, the leaf nerves are compartmentalized and look like larger cell structures.


During flowering, which usually takes place between June and September, goldenrod forms typical yellow flowers. These sit in cup-shaped inflorescences, which usually have a diameter between 8 and 16 mm (0.3 and 0.6 inches). Most are up to 20 single flowers per flower basket. Compared to other Solidago species, the flowers of the goldenrod are rather loosely arranged.


To fruit ripeness form nut fruits that have small hairs and therefore are also known as achenes.

Bees and insects

Incidentally, goldenrod is a popular bee and insect plant because the plant produces a lot of nectar. It is considered ecologically especially valuable.


Goldenrod – cultivation, sowing and care


Goldenrod is a fairly easy-care plant that is easy to sow and cultivate. It has a fairly wide tolerance range in terms of light and ground conditions. However, it prefers dry, calcareous and rather heavy soils in sunny locations. Under certain circumstances, however, it also grows in partially shaded locations and in some sandy-loamy soils, but the plant will then only reach low stature heights there.

If goldenrod is to be planted in the garden, aggregates such as quartz sand or lava sand should be used on very loamy soils. More sandy soils should be mixed with clay powder (bentonite) to prevent rapid leaching of the nutrients to which goldenrod would be respond sensitive during the season. If it is to be planted on a balcony or terrace, it is also possible to buy good herbal soil. However, this should still be mixed with sand or other loose aggregates (such as perlite, zeolite), otherwise there will be too much nutrient salts that could negatively affect the development of the plant.


The sowing of goldenrod seeds can take place in the spring between early April and early June directly in the garden bed. If the it is to be planted in pots on the balcony, it can also be sown directly in the same period or on the windowsill in preculture between February and mid-April. The plant is a light germinator, so the seeds need only be pressed slightly into soil.


The planting distance between goldenrod should be at least 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches). There should not be more than 14 plants per square meter (10 ft²). If the herb should grow in the pot, wide pots with moderate depth (about 30 to 40 cm (12 to 14 inches)) are recommended, otherwise the maintenance effort would be too large and the risk of plant diseases would be too high.


Goldenrod is very tolerant in terms of watering. It survives several dry periods usually without problems. In the garden must be watered only after dryness and very warm weather (more than 10 days of dryness). If goldenrod grows in pots or containers, you should always water them only when the upper 3 to 4 cm (1-2 inches) of herb soil are completely dried out. If the plant is still quite young and small, the time between watering can also be shorter.


Fertilizer needs goldenrod hardly, if at all. If it grows in the soil of the garden, a soil pre-fertilized with compost is sufficient to supply the plant with sufficient nutrients. Pot and bucket culture should be slightly fertilized during flowering (at about August), as nutrients are washed out more quickly by more frequent watering. Recommended are organic liquid fertilizers, which should be used only very sparingly. If goldenrod grows in commercially available potting soil, fertilization can even be completely avoided in the first year. Purchased potting soil is usually pre-fertilized and has a nutrient reservoir for up to 6 months. Too much fertilizer harms plant!


Goldenrod is a hardy plant and tolerates high minus temperatures. No special measures are required at the beginning of the frosty season. The aboveground leaves die off until the end of November and shoot in spring.


Goldenrod is best harvested at the beginning of flowering. If the plant is to be used for medicinal purposes, the upper parts of the plant should be collected. Recommended are the first 15 cm (6 inches) of the plant. The flower heads and the leaves can be used. When drying, the plant parts should be hung upside down and also should be dried in the shade if possible.


Incidentally, goldenrod is sowing itself well. Gardeners who want to avoid self-sowing should remove the faded flower heads so that the plant can not produce fruits and seeds. In addition to the sowing, a vegetative propagation over cuttings is possible.

Goldenrod with yellow flowers
Goldenrod with yellow flowers

Goldenrod and its use

Today, Goldenrod is used mainly as a medicinal plant. It is used equally in natural and conventional medicine and is often found in homeopathic medication. In addition, goldenrod is still occasionally used as a dye. The yellow inflorescences contain many different flavonoids, with which textiles or wool can be easily dyed.

Goldenrod in the kitchen

In the kitchen, goldenrod is hardly used. Nevertheless, the seeds, the flower heads and the young leaves are edible. The nutritious seeds were once a popular survival food. The flowers can be eaten as a decoration in salads or candied.

The young shoot tips can be processed well in wild herb salads and taste pleasantly aromatic. The leaves can be cooked as vegetables and be prepared similar to spinach. However, it should not be consumed excessively as the plant can greatly stimulate kidney activity.

Goldenrod as a medicinal herb

Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is an ancient medicinal plant that has been used by healers and doctors in antiquity. In many old herbal books of the Middle Ages and the early modern period numerous descriptions and treatment recommendations are found. It former name pagan wound-weed suggests that the plant used to play a major role in outer treatment.

In some herbal books of the Middle Ages there are indications that the medicinal plant was used for flesh wounds, fistulas and ulcers. A common way of processing what to pulverize the goldenrod. The powder was then scattered into the respective wounds, which has often led to good treatment success (at least for the time then). In addition to powders also brews or broth were used, which were rubbed either on the fresh wounds or gargled for inflammation in the mouth and throat. In addition to the primarily external application, also the diuretic effect of goldenrod was known. The herb was boiled in water or red wine and drunk.

Even today, goldenrod is of great importance as a healing plant. Its numerous ingredients ignite a great healing effect for many different diseases and complaints.

Goldenrod can be used for many ailments and diseases. These include:

  • asthma
  • bladder problems
  • bloating
  • chronic nephritis
  • dental ulcers
  • dropsy
  • gout
  • kidney problems
  • rheumatic complaints
  • smaller kidney stones
  • wound treatment for insect bites

Goldenrod is now considered an excellent herb against many kidney problems. Responsible are the plant-containing flavonoids and saponins, which have a performance-enhancing effect of the kidneys result. However, the healing effect goes far beyond the kidney reference.

Medicinal properties

  • antibacterial
  • antifungal (against fungi)
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antispasmodic
  • immunostimulatory
  • soothing
  • wash out

Medically valuable is the entire herb without the roots. The dried herb (Solidago virgaureae herbae) is used as tea or tincture. In addition to these two more classic areas of application, pharmacies and drugstores also have ready-made pharmaceutical preparations in tablet or capsule form.

Preparation of goldenrod tea

Time needed: 20 minutes

This is how to prepare goldenrod tea at home

  1. 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of the dried goldenrod are spilled with hot (not boiling water).

  2. Since the ingredients, especially the flavonoids, take some time to be extracted well, the brewing time should be between 15 and 20 minutes.

  3. Optimal is the intake of a tea one hour after each of the three main meals.

  4. No more than 4 cups of this tea should be taken a day.

In addition to goldenrod tea, homeopathic extracts are often used. These are usually taken for chronic kidney inflammation or pyelitis. Particularly important here are the homeopathic remedies in the potencies D1 to D6 which must be administered at least twice a day.

Important: If you use goldenrod tea or tinctures, please ensure adequate hydration. Due to the effluent properties you lose a lot of water, which must be compensated by a lot of drinking.

There are no known side effects of taking goldenrod preparations. However, having kidney problems it is advisable to discuss the use with a doctor.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

Buy Goldenrod – What is there to pay attention to?

Since many people who suffer from various kidney problems come into contact with goldenrod, a corresponding number of products are available on the market.

Many herbalists, pharmacies, online retailers and sometimes even larger supermarkets offer dried herb for the preparation of teas. Insofar as the herbs are purchased in the online shop or marketplaces, the age of the product should be inquired. Goldenrod should only be bought if it is not older than one year. Older products may lose some of their effect through the breakdown of flavonoids.

When buying goldenrod products, sometimes the Canadian goldenrod or the giant goldenrod is processed. For medical applications, these species can also be used, as they have a nearly similar composite of the active ingredients.

For gardeners who are interested in cultivating the plant, there are numerous online retailers who offer goldenrod seeds at relatively low prices. When purchasing, however, attention should be paid to the botanical name, as far as the interest in the common goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) exists. Relatively rarely fresh plants are offered. Most are special breeds that are later used in the garden as cut flowers.

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