Humble flowers painting the roadsides, fields, and yards. Mowed down, ignored, unseen. Look again. Bursts of golden sunshine. Lanterns on a cloudy day. Sunlight with roots. What can I do with Goldenrod? Glad you asked.
Let me introduce you to Solidago, a member of the Aster family. Ove 100 species known and most are herbaceous. They grow grandly in meadows, fields and anywhere else that may be undisturbed.
Indians used them efficiently. Dyes for wool. Flowers and leaves for tea. It was even used medicinally as a chew for sore throats and toothaches.
More and more I have been wondering what bounty exists in my backyard that I overlook and at times even lament the growth of such persistent ‘weeds’.
What if there is more to gardening than year in and year out cultivation of the ground, spending hours upon hours pulling up weeds in order to grow our vegetables?
What do our backyard’s harbor, offering abundant gifts that we don’t even realize? Food, teas, medicine, wisdom.
So, I have started small. What can I do with Goldenrod?
Here in Maine, it is blossoming. Dazzling Goldenrod likes the ebb of summer light. Like the mystic Whipporwill that sings it’s night song only a few hear, Goldenrod gives its offerings humbly.
At this time of year, the mildly fragrant blossoms can be cut and used fresh for tea. A pleasant earthy anise-like flavor. My next cup will be blended with Tulsi tea. Did you know you can grow your own extremely healthy Tulsi tea? But . . . I digress.
Goldenrod’s leaves, flowers, stems, and roots can all be used. It is a generous plant ~ A wild herb sensation.
You can also dry the leaves and flowers for later use, though I am told as the color fades, so does it’s medicinal properties as well as flavor. I will experiment and freeze some of my dried golden treasures to see how long I can keep them.
Also, I wanted to see what someone ‘in the know’ would say in regards to my new found friend. Is Goldenrod really medicinal or is it folklore? (Yes. Some of which is founded in deep wisdom.)
Apparently, it is used for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a cleanser for the kidneys. People have seen benefits from using Goldenrod for gout, asthma, urinary tract infections and kidney stones as well as many other health issues.
Back to the question, ‘What can I do with Goldenrod?’ I believe I am on my way to answering this to my satisfaction.
Goldenrod is one of the earth’s bountiful offerings. Another blessing for abundant living right outside our backdoor. Hidden in plain sight.
Here are very simple instructions for making tea, harvesting, drying and using Goldenrod. I include my own recipe for Goldenrod Tea.
- 2 tbsp fresh or dried Goldenrod flowers and - or - leaves
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 - 2 tbsp whey from yogurt
- Heat your water until it comes to a near boil.
- Add the flowers/stems to the water and simmer for up to 15 minutes.
- Strain and add what you would like for your tea. Honey, milk, etc.
Would you like to harvest your own Goldenrod?
Easy as pie. When the flowers begin to fully open, you can tell this by looking for the brightest yellow flowers. None of them will have turned brown yet.
Bring them in and snip the flowers off of the stem. You can include leaves as well.
Goldenrod can be dried in a low oven, in a dehydrator, or even in a brown paper bag that you hang from the ceiling or other raised area. Each day, give the bag a shake for even drying.
You can also simply hang these for beauty, but I have found they tend to fade to quickly. I think a quicker drying method is better. After they have dried completely, store them in a jar with a good cover and keep tucked away in a dry darkened spot.
To make Goldenrod Infused Oil, proceed as you would with any infused oil.
Add flowers and leaves to canning jar so that the jar is 1/3 – 1/2 full. I just use mason jars. Cover with your choice of oil. Avocado, sunflower, olive oil, etc. so that the wild herbs are covered with oil, and the oil comes near to the top of the jar.
Proceed with one of these three choices.
You can solar infuse the goldenrod by leaving daily in the sunlight. This method takes a week or more. You can leave it in a darkened closet for three weeks or more. This takes the most time, and I have a concern about contamination.
Lastly, you can put the jar on low heat in a double boiler or crockpot. If using a crockpot put a buffer between the jar and the ceramic insert. Put water in, up to 2/3rds of the jar and heat slowly for 2 – 4 hours. Make sure no water goes into the oil jar.
You can use the Goldenrod infused oil for your skin, and also for making salves.
For making Goldenrod salves, add equal parts Goldenrod infused oil and beeswax. Heat gently in a jar, in a double boiler. Once the beeswax has completely melted, mix well and remove from heat. Leave on the counter, in the jar or in tins until firm. Beautiful, sweet-smelling salve for your everyday use. Gentle, healing, wild.
Your creations from your own backyard. How amazing is that? Let me know what you do with your Goldenrod!
~~~ If you are interested in any of my gardening harvest hacks, check out this post! ~~~