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Materia Poetica

Oh, Goldenrod, Solidago, you’re misunderstood.
Your blossoms are pretty and your medicine’s good.

With dozens of species hailing from New York state
Insects are eager for nectar and pollen on their plates.

You bloom in late summer as the sun begins to fade
Draw out birds, bees, and butterflies like a nature parade.

Huang Hua reduces swelling and reduces pain too,
Supporting immune responses when faced with the flu.

You’re ariel parts are bitter, warm, dry, and astringent too.
Your flowers make fabric dyes in a brilliant yellow hue

Found all along roadsides, in fields and open space
the birds, bees, and butterflies love it more than any place.

You’re not what people claim that is causing cough and sneezing
Ragweed’s to blame for all that darn wheezing.

They provide so much beauty and medicine too
so next time you see it, give Goldenrod its due.

My Shamanic Life podcast logo
Episode 133

My Shamanic Life Podcast

Hosted by Debbie Philp

My dear friend, Sheri Kurdakul, and I recorded this episode right before I went down with COVID. I am just catching up and the lingering cough is finally under control enough to talk. I am so happy to get this episode out, finally, because it’s wonderful. Sheri is a student of clinical herbalism, and she is sharing about goldenrod, which was blooming all over when we recorded this back in September. There’s great information about how goldenrod helps pollinators and humans, as well as a surprising way goldenrod was used in the past. Give us a listen and Enjoy! 👂

Goldenrod isolated
Solidago spp.

Goldenrod | It's Everywhere!

One of the first signs that we’re transitioning from late summer to early fall is the brilliant color display of goldenrod blooming everywhere! It has between 100 – 120 species globally, with more than two dozen native to New York State. The late bloomer hangs around for 🐝 pollinators 🦋 until the frost really sets in, giving them a last chance to stock up on food before winter sets in.

Goldenrod are single-stemmed plants with large clusters of bright yellow flowers at the top, standing between one to five feet tall. They are found along roadsides, in open fields, along open trails and bike paths, in the dunes of the ocean and Great Lakes shores, on rocky summits, prairie, plains, meadows, pastures, savannas, and stream banks. Yes, pretty much everywhere except a swamp!


Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. Edison created a fertilization and cultivation process to maximize the rubber content in each plant. His experiments produced a 12 ft-tall (3.7 m) plant that yielded as much as 12% rubber. The tires on the Model-T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod.

  • Goldenrod is the state flower of Alabama, Kentucky and Nebraska.
  • “Short’s Goldenrod’ (Solidago shortii), one of 25 species of goldenrod Indiana, is one of the rarest plants on earth and was thought to be extinct. The only know populations of this goldenrod today are in the Blue Lick Springs area of northeastern Kentucky (14 populations in Fleming, Nicholas and Robertson Counties) and along the Blue River in Harrison-Crawford State Forest in southern Indiana (1 population).
Goldenrod at the BotanicWise Women's Gathering in 2023

Urinary Support

Sometimes, you just need a cup of tea to soothe your tummy, calm down the inner “rumbles,” and support your urinary tract. Goldenrod is just the thin with its aromatic arial parts and soothing taste.


  • 2-3 sprigs of goldenrod flowering parts
    • mostly flowers, but a few leaves are okay too
    • make sure the plant material is fresh and the flowers are mostly open
  • 2 pts. hot water (4 cups)
  • Honey to taste (optional)


  • Bring the water to a boil
  • Loosely chop up your plant material and add it to a teapot or glass jar
  • Pour the boiling water over the herbs and steep for 10-15 minutes
  • Strain the tea and enjoy!
Cup of goldenrod tea with flower branch behind the glass cup
Field of goldenrod with an overlay of a pressed flower cluster on homemade paper

From Field To Cupboard

Like raspberry, goldenrod understands that they may be called upon throughout the year, so having some dried reserves will come in handy during the long seasons until the following late summer.

When harvesting, make sure you are using flowers that have just opened. Stale, brown flowers will not support your needs like fresh. The best time to harvest is in the morning hours, but late enough that all the dew has dried off the plants.

Be respectful of all your plant and insect neighbors and take no more than 30% of any one plant, and the group of plants as a whole. Trust me, there’s plenty for you to find more if you’ve landed on a sparse bunch.

Once you’ve cut what you need, you have a couple of choices for drying; air dry or dry by dehydrator.

To air dry, simply grab the stems at the bottom and secure them with a rubber band, twist tie, or some string. Make sure you tie them tight, as the stems will shrink as they dry. You can see and feel when they are ready.

If you are using a dehydrator*, cut the plants into small enough pieces so they will fit on your trays and lay flat without being too dense – you want plenty of air circulation.

Either method, after you’ve dried them completely gently break up the leaves and any small stems or grind them in a food processor until everything is evenly sized. Make sure they are really dry or they will mold in storage.

Store the goldenrod leaves and flowers in a glass jar with a tight lid.

*125°F – lay herbs flat on dehydrator racks and dry for up to 4 hours, checking that they are completely dry and crispy.

Native Ecology

Goldenrod is native throughout the US, with the exception of exception of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Goldenrod is highly attractive to bumble bees and honey bees, as well as several other types of bee species. It is one of the most important late-season pollinator plants, as bees frequently collect large amounts of goldenrod nectar prior to winter and other bees use the pollen to provision late-season nests.

Don’t blame goldenrod for your crazy, out-of-control allergies – it’s ragweed’s pollen driving you crazy!
You can tell the difference in their stems and flowers:

  • Ragweed has highly branched stems from the bottom upward and small green-yellow flowers that blend in with the rest of the plant.
  • Goldenrod has single-stemmed or somewhat branched near the top of the plant with showy, bright yellow clusters of flowers.

Remember, when it comes to telling them apart, “Green is mean. Yellow is mellow.”

Herbal Actions & Medicinal Uses

Below is some basic herbal information based on Western Herbalism and Chinese Medicine (TCM). Goldenrod is unknown to be safe for pregnant women. It also is recommended that because of its diuretic effects and the high amount of water intake, those with impared liver and/or kidney functions should talk to their healthcare provider before consuming goldenrod. Also, those with allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family should take caution.

With any herbs and supplements, always consult with a licensed health professional before use.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf, flowers

Flavors: Bitter, pungent

Herbal Actions

Primary Organs: Kidney, Liver, Bladder

TCM Actions:

  • Clears Heat and resolves damp stagnation
  • Nourishes the Kidney
  • Quickens the Blood, reduces swelling, and relieves pain

Western Actions:

  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Carminative
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Vulnerary
Fiels of goldenseal

Horticultural Information

Over 100 species of goldenrod are a native North American species.

This is a full sun loving plant who needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Being in partial shade may reduce its blooms. It prefers well-drained soil with a pH in the acidic-to-neutral range. If the soil is too rich, it will get leggy and probably fall over.

Think about where it grows naturally – it really doesn’t need to be fussed over at all and will probably do best with you ignoring it (unless there is a lengthy drought).

Be careful where you plant it because it spreads by seeds and rhizomes and can be quite aggressive to other plants in your space.

USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 2-8

USDA Hardiness Zone Map

Materia Magicka

All plants are sacred. Goldenrod is particularly focused on encouragement and growth. Through goldenrod, you may:

  • Discover your true self and individuality, empowering you to stand firmly in it, growing your social confidence and not allowing friends, family, or society to pressure you into being outside your authentic self.
  • Develop courage, clarity and diminish your fear of judgment and rejection, supporting your improved self-esteem and acceptance of your true self and beliefs.

Goldenrod can be used in a number of spells including:

  • Divination
  • Money Spells
  • Prosperity Magic
  • Love Spells

Below is some of the symbolism associated with Goldenrod.

Planets: Constellations:
  ♀ Venus   ♌️ Leo
Element: Chakra:
  🜄 Air   Root Chakra, Throat Chakra
  Celtic: Brighid, Cerridwen   Greek: Hestia
  Roman: Janus, Plutus   Hindu: Lakshmi
Goldenrod chakras image displaying the first and fifth chakras being activated