Goldenrod is often falsely accused of being an intensely allergenic plant, because of its unfortunate tendency to bloom brightly at the same time and often in locations quite near to the truly allergenic ragweed. However, actual allergic reactions to this gorgeous herb are unusual.
There are numerous species of goldenrod (27 have been collected in Indiana alone) but all seem to possess similar medicinal properties, and various species are used interchangeably in Europe.1
In Germany, goldenrod is used as a supportive treatment for bladder infections, irritation of the urinary tract, and bladder/kidney stones. Goldenrod is said to wash out bacteria and kidney stones by increasing the flow of urine, and also, soothe inflamed tissues and calm muscle spasms in the urinary tract.2 It isn't used as a cure in itself, but rather as an adjunct to other, more definitive treatments such as (in the case of bladder infections) antibiotics.
However, we don't know whether goldenrod actually helps. Several studies have found that goldenrod does in fact increase urine flow,3 but there is no direct evidence that this in turn leads to any other medical benefits.
Warning: Urinary conditions such as kidney stones are potentially serious. For this reason, medical advice is recommended.
A typical dosage is 3 to 4 g of dried herb 2 to 3 times daily. Make sure to drink plenty of water while taking goldenrod, to help it do its job.
The safety of goldenrod hasn't been fully evaluated. However, no significant reactions or side effects have been reported.4 Safety in young children, pregnant and nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established. Individuals taking the medication lithium should use herbal diuretics such as goldenrod only under the supervision of a physician, as dehydration can be dangerous with this medication.5
If you are taking lithium, do not use goldenrod except under the supervision of a physician.
1. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press; 1994:74–75.
2. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Solidaginis virgaureae herba (goldenrod). Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996–1997:1–3. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 2.
3. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Solidaginis virgaureae herba (goldenrod). Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996–1997:2. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 2.
4. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Solidaginis virgaureae herba (goldenrod). Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996–1997:2. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 2.
5. Pyevich D, Bogenschutz MP. Herbal diuretics and lithium toxicity [letter]. Am J Psychiatry. 2001;158:1329.
Last reviewed September 2014 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 9/18/2014
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