Late summer is upon us and the road sides are a blaze with this glorious wild flower. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) blooms from July all the way through to October here in Ontario.
This beautiful wildflower grows abundantly all across Canada and can be found along roadsides, and in thickets, fields, and clearings. There are more than 100 species of goldenrod in North America and in Ontario we have over 30 different species. They will have slight variations medicinally, but all can be used inter-changeably as food and tea, and they all contain huge amounts of antioxidants, making this wild food/medicine especially valuable.
While it may seem easy-peasy to identify this herb, it does have “look-alikes”, some of which are deadly poisonous. So before collecting, grab your field guide, or consult with a botanical buddy who knows what they are doing! My favourite botanical guide is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.
“An ingenious key system for quick, positive field identification of wildflowers, flowering shrubs and vines in Northeastern and North-central North America.
Amateur and expert alike can quickly and accurately identify almost any wildflower using Lawrence Newcomb’s system, which is based on natural structural features that are easily visible even to the untrained eye. Every time you see an unknown plant, ask yourself the same five questions (related to the type of plant and the structure of its petals and leaves), and you will be directed to the page on which the plant can be found. Beautiful illustrations make confirmation easy.”
Goldenrod tea is an excellent traditional herbal remedy for allergies. Unfortunately, it is often wrongly blamed for seasonal allergies, but this is physically impossible. Goldenrod’s pollen is very sticky and too heavy to become airborne. It relies on pollinators to distribute it’s pollen. We all know how awful it is to be wrongly accused, so please spread the word about Goldenrod so more people can appreciate this wonderful plant responsible for our late summer fields of gold.
This is a wildflower we should honour and be thankful for.
The true cause of seasonal allergies is Ragweed (Ambrosia spp) which flowers at the same time as Goldenrod. You may be wondering why you have never seen Ragweed flowers …
You see, Ragweed’s pollen is wind pollinated – the pollen floats in the air. It does not have to attract insects with a colourful show the way Goldenrod does. It often goes completely unnoticed and people wind up blaming Goldenrod and missing out on the wonderful gifts it offers us each year.
I love how nature works! While one plant causes allergies, another is readily available to help solve those issues.
Tuning-in to nature is such an amazing thing to do.
Full Of Antioxidants
Goldenrod contains more antioxidants than green tea and vitamin C. Antioxidants are amazing for our health, as they protect our body from free radicals, which can cause damage leading to various illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Herbal medicine making can be as easy as making a pot of tea.
Today, I am going to teach you how to make a lovely, antioxidant rich tea. You can steep your tea for a longer time and you can also use more flowers to create a more medicinal tea. Your tea will be much stronger and concentrated, so you won’t need to drink as much to get an effect. You can also play around with the medicinal actions by drinking it hot and drinking it cold. With many herbs, the action will change from being a diaphoretic (causing sweating) when taken hot, and becoming diuretic (making you pee) when taken cold.
- Pick a handful of the flowers and give them a shake to get any insects off.
- Boil your kettle.
- Cut your flowers up with scissors directly into your pot or jar.
- You will need about 2 Tablespoons of fresh flowers for every cup of water.
- Pour boiled water over the flowers, stir and cover.
- Allow to steep 20 minutes or longer.
- Sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup if you like.
- Pour through a mesh strainer into your mug or cup and … enjoy!