By Sarena-Rae Santos, Natural Health Blogger
What is Goldenrod
Goldenrod is sometimes called woundwort, Aaron’s rod, solidago, or its scientific name Solidago virgaurea. Goldenrod is a bright yellow flower of the Compositae family, with over 150 (75 in the United States) species that bloom in the late summer and early fall. This perennial has 2 to 5 feet tall stems, long, narrow leaves, and bright yellow pyramid-shaped flower clusters (1). Most varieties of goldenrod are native to North America, though a few species grow in Europe and Asia (2).
Health Benefits of Goldenrod
Historically, goldenrod has been used for its wound-healing and diuretic properties (3), but it has so many more benefits, including:
Goldenrod’s flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol help protect cells from damage caused by these unstable molecules called free radicals (4). Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (5). Studies note that goldenrod’s antioxidant activity is greater than green tea and vitamin C (6,7,8,9).
Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (10). In animal studies, goldenrod combined with aspen and ash tree extracts reduced swelling of injured tissues by as much as 60% while also lowering inflammation associated with arthritis by 12-45% in rodents (11). The same combination was explored with human subjects and was as effective as aspirin for reducing back pain and knee arthritis (12). These results likely stem due to the antioxidant properties of quercetin with robust anti-inflammatory effects (13,14,15).
Traditionally, goldenrod has been used for its wound-healing properties (16). These wound-healing properties likely stem from its many benefits like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, spasmolytic, antihypertensive, diuretic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasite, cytotoxic and antitumor, antimutagenic, antiadipogenic, antidiabetic, cardioprotective, and antisenescence properties (17).
Anti-aging properties slow, prevent, or reverse the natural aging process (18). Wrinkles are a natural aging process when the skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic. This natural aging process leads to skin creases, folds, or ridges (19). Although there isn’t much evidence, a test-tube study found that goldenrod extract delayed the accumulation of old, poorly functioning skin cells, which may deter premature skin aging (20).
May Promote Heart Health
Unfortunately, heart disease is the world’s number 1 cause of death (21). Due to the incredibly complex determinants of heart disease and various possible contributions, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact way to prevent it. Still, you can at least take steps to lower your overall risk. That’s where goldenrod may be beneficial. In animal studies, oral goldenrod extract for five weeks before inducing heart damage resulted in 34% lower blood marker levels for damage after the heart injury in rats compared to the control group (22).
May Improve Urinary Tract Health
The urinary tract removes wastes and produces and controls urine (23). Goldenrod may help reduce disorders or problems that might occur within the tract. This is thanks to its diuretic effects flushing out potentially harmful bacteria and supporting better kidney health (24).
In vitro research suggests goldenrod may help ward off UTIs when combined with herbs like juniper berry and horsetail (25). Other in vitro studies indicate that goldenrod extract may help with overactive bladder, the frequent feeling of urinating, and decreasing painful spasms of the urinary tract (26). In human studies, 425 mg of dry goldenrod extract three times daily in people with chronic overactive bladder saw a 96% improvement in the urgency to urinate and painful urination (27).
May Aid in Weight Loss
Weight management is a challenge for most people in the U.S., with more than 70% of American adults being overweight (28). Excess body weight is a common contributor to type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. Being overweight increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (29). Test tube and animal studies suggest goldenrod may combat obesity by regulating genes controlling fat synthesis and fat cell size (30,31).
Statistics say that 158.3 of every 100,000 individuals will die from cancer (32), but what if they didn’t have to? Animal studies have found goldenrod to have cytotoxic activity effective on various tumor cell lines, including human prostate (PC3), breast (MDA435), melanoma (C8161), and small cell lung carcinoma (H520) in mice (33).
According to the mainstream, when taken by mouth or applied topically, there isn’t enough reliable information to know if goldenrod is safe or the side effects. They also claim there isn’t enough reliable information to know if goldenrod is safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding. They caution to stay safe and avoid use (34).
According to trusted herbalist Richard Whelan, no adverse effects are expected (or have ever been reported) from taking Goldenrod in tea or tincture, even in high or frequent doses. Goldenrod may be safely taken while pregnant or breastfeeding and used by the young or old (35).
According to aromatherapist Wendy Robbins, essential oils should never be taken internally or applied undiluted. Goldenrod essential oil may cause skin sensitivity. She also mentions there may be high levels of estragole in some chemotypes (36). Goldenrod essential oil is safe for kids, dogs, and horses but is not safe while pregnant or breastfeeding.
How to Use Goldenrod
You can find goldenrod in dried bulk, pills, powders, teas, extracts, essential oils, or tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas and soups are also options, especially when following ayurvedic medicine recipes. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:
Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:
- Herb Pharm’s Goldenrod System Restoration supports healthy urinary system function. The Goldenrod Extract is prepared from fresh (undried) flowering tops of Solidago canadensis plants. To assure optimal extraction of Goldenrod’s bioactive compounds, the uppermost tops of the plants are hand-harvested when just beginning to flower and are then taken directly to our laboratory and promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent.