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Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Also listed as: Aaron's rod; European goldenrod; Solidago canadensis; Solidago virgaurea
Table of Contents > Herbs > Goldenrod     Print

Plant Description
Parts Used
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Available Forms
How to Take It
Possible Interactions
Supporting Research


Historically, goldenrod (Solidago canadensis or Solidago virgaurea) has been used topically for wound healing. It has also been used as a diuretic (helps rid the body of excess fluid). The name solidago means "to make whole."

Traditionally, goldenrod has also been used to treat tuberculosis, diabetes, enlargement of the liver, gout, hemorrhoids, internal bleeding, asthma, and arthritis. Topically, goldenrod is used in folk medicine to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat, as well as slow healing wounds.

No high quality studies have examined goldenrod's effect in humans. A few animal and test tube studies suggest it may help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, fight infections, and lower blood pressure. It does seem to have diuretic properties, and is used in Europe to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent or treat kidney stones. In fact, goldenrod is commonly found in teas to help "flush out" kidney stones and stop inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.

Goldenrod is often blamed for seasonal allergies, but it is another plant -- ragweed, which blooms at the same time -- that is usually responsible for allergic reactions.

Plant Description

Because goldenrod has an unusual ability to crossbreed with other plants, there are at least 130 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 - 7 feet. Its yellow flowers, which generally appear in August and September, are only about ¼-inch wide but come in large clusters. Leaves alternate between toothed and smooth edges.

Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever. However, some people may have a skin reaction (allergic contact dermatitis) when they come in contact with goldenrod.

Parts Used

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

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Goldenrod may act as a diuretic (flushing water from the body by increasing urine output). It may also have anti-inflammatory properties. However, it has not really been studied in humans.

Goldenrod is sometimes suggested for the following conditions:

  • Arthritis and gout
  • Allergies
  • Colds and flu
  • Inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Eczema (topically)
  • Minor wounds (topically)

Never use herbal products on open wounds.

Available Forms

Goldenrod may be taken in a variety of forms, including the dried herb (for teas, capsules), tincture, or fluid extract.

How to Take It


Do not give goldenrod to a child without talking to your doctor first.


Speak to a knowledgeable health care provider to determine the right dose for you.


The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a qualified health care provider trained in the field of botanical medicine.

Some people may develop a mild allergic reaction to this herb. Do not use goldenrod if you are allergic to it.

Side effects can include heartburn.

People with the following conditions should ask their doctor before taking goldenrod:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Allergy to Ragweed
  • Fluid retention due to heart or lung issues

Do not take goldenrod if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have heart or kidney disease.

Possible Interactions

There are no known scientific reports of interactions between goldenrod and conventional medications. However, interactions between the following drugs and goldenrod are possible:

Diuretics (water pills) -- Goldenrod may increase the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of dehydration.

Lithium -- Because goldenrod may have diuretic effects, it could cause levels of lithium to build up in the blood.

Supporting Research

Apati P, Szentmihalyi K, Kristo ST, Papp I, Vinkler P, Szoke E, Kery A. Herbal remedies of Solidago -- correlation of phytochemical characteristics and antioxidative properties. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2003;32(4-5):1045-53.

Apati P, Houghton PJ, Kite G, Steventon GB, Kery A. In-vitro effect of flavonoids from Solidago canadensis extract on glutathione S-transferase. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006;58(2):251-6.

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

Derda M, Hadas E, Thiem B. Plant extracts as natural amoebicidal agents. Parasitol Res. 2009 Feb;104(3):705-8.

Jiang T, Huang BK, Qin LP. A survey of chemical and pharmacological studies on Solidago. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2006;4(4):430-5.

Morel AF, Dias GO, Porto C, Simionatto E, Stuker CZ, Dalcol II. Antimicrobial activity of extractives of Solidago microglossa. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(6):453-5.

Nair R, Kalariya T, Chanda S. Antibacterial activity of some plant extracts used in folk medicine. J Herb Pharmacother. 2007;7(3-4):191-201.

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

Thiem B, Goslinska O. Antimicrobial activity of Solidago virgaurea L. from in vitro cultures. Fitoterapia. 2002;73(6):514-6.

Weber RW. Goldenrod. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003;91(6):A6.

Webster D, Taschereau P, Belland RJ, Sand C, Rennie RP. Antifungal activity of medicinal plant extracts; preliminary screening studies. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 4;115(1):140-6.

Yarnell E. Botanical medicines for the urinary tract. World J Urol. 2002;20(5):285-93.

Review Date: 5/2/2011
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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