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
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].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997