Family: Asteraceae (Compositae), Solidago odora Ait.

Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.

Goldenrod, Solidago odora Ait., is a perennial herb native to the middle and eastern sections of the United States. Also known as sweet or common goldenrod, anise-scented goldenrod, and blue mountain tea, the plant is an annual, characterized by its 1 to 1.5 meter long stem, topped by a terminal raceme with golden yellow flowers. Often found wild in open woods and abandoned pastures, goldenrod thrives in dry, sandy soils.

Successful cultivation of goldenrod for production of the essential oil had been initiated in the southwestern United States. Plants are harvested when blooming, near the end of September, and the oil is extracted immediately by steam distillation (14.1-10). Oil content reaches 0.5 to 2.0% of the freshly harvested plant, and the oil contains methylchavicol, d-limonene, l--pinene, and l-borneol, as well as esters and traces of volatile acids (14.1-10).

The plant is known for a licorice or anise-like flavor, but has found little use in the food and flavor industries. Goldenrod leaves are sometimes used in herbal teas. It has been suggested that the plant could be used for chewing gums and candies (14.1-10). Several varieties of goldenrod are available to grow as ornamentals.

As a medicinal plant, sweet goldenrod has traditionally been used as an astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, and stimulant. Goldenrod has also been used to treat ulcers, headaches, and toothaches.

Folk remedies indicate uses for many of the more than one hundred Solidago species. Solidago virgo-aurea L. has been used to treat periodontal disease, chronic eczema, arthritis, and nephritis, (11.1-96, 11.1-101). Chinese herbal medicine employs Solidago virgo-aurea L. against influenza, headache, sore throat, malaria, measles, gastric pain, vomiting, and intestinal worms (11.1-10). Solidago species have often been used in the treatment of warts, tumors, and cancers (14.1-13). The American Indians used boiled leaves of Solidago species as an external lotion for wounds and ulcers (11.1-67) . A recent report indicates hypotensive activity in several Solidago species (2.9-113).

The pollen of goldenrod is thought to be an aeroallergen, and an allergic reaction may follow physical contact with the flower or pollen (7.8-1). The diterpenes in Solidago species appear to be toxic to sheep (11.1-96). Most species of Solidago found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia and called goldenrod are considered weeds.

[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in full in the original reference].

Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Index

Last modified 6-Dec-1997