golden rod , solidago the herbal basics

Solidogo means to make whole

I’ve not really posted anything fully herbal or medical as I don’t have any formal qualification and worry about getting it wrong and miss representing a herb or it’s virtues however anyone who starts on the path of foraging will know that shortly after the interest of edibility hits you the constant questioning of each plants value to us kicks in ,

After edibility the medicinal properties of a plant are quite closely followed and it is genuinely fascinating and after you can dig past the overview given to many plants it is the most complex division of foraging there is ,
What do I mean when I say ‘digging past the overview ‘
Well simply every plant has some medicinal use or another so distinguishing which plants really do warrant collection is quite a bit of work and not something you can learn quickly not only do you have identification you need to know what part of the plant is required and at what point in the growth of a plant you need to collect I take my hat off to anyone who has qualified in phytotherapy and herbalism it truly seems to be a never ending path of information .
I have more than a passing interest in the use of plants as a medical resource each time I find a new plant I research it quite deeply and make a more educated choice on if it should be included into my personal collection of herbs
A major factor that is taken into account is availability and deciding if a plant listed less effective than another but available within your means is viable to collect and that’s when things become tricky .
Also deciding on realistic approach is as important as any ask yourself what do I intend to use wild medicine for most people will not need a plant that stops you from bleeding to death ( hemostatic herbs ) but would probably quite openly invite a balm to relieve insect bites / stings , or a cough syrup that’s what I intend to hopefully share some basic plants and uses that will be of everyday use for basic aliments and within this I will try and explain some of the lingo associated with herbal medication as understanding of the basic language can lead to a higher understanding of the plants use I will endeavour to high light any words used in context with a adjoining explanation of its meaning .
I’ve written many articles on medicinal uses of wild plants but have never posted them due to the above reasons but recently I came upon a patch of a wild medicinal herb that not only impressed me visually but medically holds a mass of useable attributes it is the golden rod and within a locality to me I have two plants that hold this name common goldenrod ,Solidago virgaurea and Canadian golden rod ,Solidago canadensis both of which contain the same chemicals minerals and essential oils which make it suitable to treat the following

Skin complaints and wounds as an astringent remedy

( astringent meaning a chemical that will constrict or bind tissue deriving from the Latin adstringere, meaning “to bind fast” )

Next it is diuretic, (meaning it helps the body get rid of excess fluid. ) Making it useful in treating urinary tract inflammation and is used in a tea infusion to flush kidneys in cases of stones , ( I read two studies on the diuretic properties in animals Chodera et al 1991, Leuschner 1995 but could only find one regarding human tasting as a diuretic herb (Yarnell 2002) stated it was not just a diuretic but a Major diuretic

Antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory topically for wound healing, eczema, arthritis, and rheumatism,
(Antispasmodic meaning a drug or an herb that suppresses muscle spasms.)
( Anti‑inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation.)
And a word that will continually come into use is topically this refers to anything you will be applying directly to the skin like creams, balms oils and poultices .

I’m sure that you will agree this plant / plants has a real presence and is well worth noting and adding to your home herbal collection
And in saying that it would be half a job if I was to leave it there so here are my favourite uses for the plant ,

First has to be the tea this can be made from the fresh plant but this obviously comes with limitations of season so drying them is needed when it comes to Solidago virgaurea it is relatively easy as it drys very well three or so flowering stems bound and hung works well when harvesting cut the top third of the plant as you will see it grows quite tall and generally in numbers so the lower half of the plant tends to be of poor quality and cutting at this point ensures future growth .
When it comes to Solidago canadensis

IMG_2151-1.JPGit is slightly more difficult as you will learn the flowering heads have a tendency to fluff rendering them unusable , you need to harvest them when the flowering heads are half way through bloom with equal amounts of closed buds to open this seems to work and the flowers dry before going to seed .
I like the mix of yarrow within this tea as the flavours compliment each other with a pleasant taste .

My favoured use for this plant is a balm that is great for joint pain and sprains ect ,

Making a balm is in relative terms quite simple and is the same process for any herb chosen one thing I will warn you of is it is quite addictive and once you start you will be hooked .

You can use dried or fresh herb and they can be mixed or single use ,
First ensure your chosen herb/herbs are completely covered in water and allow the water to come to the boil and continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes and remove the herb remains and continue to reduce for a further ten minutes ,

Next add an equal amount of oil to the reduction this can be a pure vegetable oil or olive oil then heat to simmering again and continue until all of the water has gone ( the water will spit a bit when the oil reaches temperature ) remove from the heat then add pure beeswax to thicken and jar whilst still hot , you can add essential oils for fragrance ,

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