Herbal Search

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Goldenrod - New Uses for an Old Friend

Goldenrod works great on neck troubles, generally loosening up the neck muscles and relieving the tension, but this is primarily symptomatic and won't cure a popped out disc etc., but it'll help take the swelling down and speed the healing process once you've addressed the root of the problem.

It's also helped arthritis for a lot of folks, taking down the swelling and pain. Once again, this is a symptomatic application, not anything like a cure. It seems similar to the regional use of Snakeweed/
Escoba de la Vibora in the Southwest. I've noticed Snakeweed tends to be better for arthritis and Goldenrod tends to be better for muscular problems. Funny how they've both got those beautiful golden blooms. As does St John's Wort, who I've used very little but also seems to have lots of similar applications.

Goldenrod's most profound use in my experience tends to be directly on the muscles, healing pulled muscles in amazing time periods with repeated application (every three hours or so), and often soothing strained or spasming muscles with only a single application.

For muscle spasms, I recommend combining Goldenrod oil/liniment with Peony root tincture internally, although Scullcap, Black Cohosh or Betony may be more appropriate depending on the situation and individual's constitution. It might also be worth trying Goldenrod internally for muscular problems, though I haven't personally noted any antispasmodic or similar action. Please let me know what your findings are in this area, I'd love to know.

As a side note to Peony, you can use the common available Chinese White Peony root, or your garden Peony root (make sure it's the old fashioned kind though, and it works better if its run a bit wild rather than being pampered and overwatered) or you can use the native Brown's or California Peony root, all are similar but with their own variations.

I've been getting tons of questions about Goldenrod oil and how to make it, where to get it etc., so here's the info I have.

First off, if you want to buy it, the best Goldenrod oil I've ever tried was created by Ananda Wilson of
Amrita Apothecary, I regularly trade herbs and medicines with her, and she makes marvelous, yummy smelling magic. I think she's selling Goldenrod oil right now, though I expect she has a limited quantity.

The way I make Goldenrod oil is using Extra Virgin Olive Oil (as does Ananda), preferably organic first pressing, of course. I fill a pint jar with freshly picked Goldenrod flowering tops, then I fill it again with olive oil, I poke around to get the air bubbles out, put a lid on the jar, and set in the sun for a while, usually about a month. Sometimes I add a shot of Chapparel (Larrea) oil to help preserve it, sometimes not. Store in a dark, cool place. Very simple, old fashioned simpler style.

Tincture seems to work fine as a liniment as well, though I haven't had a chance to really compare results just yet.

It's important to remember that while every herb has its specialty where it really excels, NO plant is the be all end all of herbal medicine. Every plant has its place, and we each have individual connections to the plants. The indigenous people of nearly every land have recognized that some plants do certain things for certain peoples, having an intimate relationship to the individual.

So go out and get to know the Goldenrod living in your backyard and the fields near where you live. It's always amazing to get to know a new side to an old friend.


Rebecca said...

Thanks for this, Kiva!

I've been using some goldenrod tincture I made last summer with great results -- especially on computer-related neck and shoulder tension.

Oakmoss Changeling said...

Thanks Rebecca!

I'm really interested in hearing how it works for others, especially the tincture as I haven't worked with that much yet for muscular purposes.

I've used the oil alot for that same computer related neck and shoulder tension.

Anonymous said...

I've used goldenrod tincture interally for years, and never noted any specific or general action on the skeletal muscles. If I had to guess about how topical actios are working, I'd say the oils are acting as a counterirritant in a manner similar to arnica; calling the blood and vital energy to the area where applied, and this has a dispersive effect on cogested blood/chi/vital energy.

This'd be consistant with the correlation to chinese herbs known as "blood movers" and antispasmodic activity.

Oakmoss Changeling said...

Well, I can definitely see how that could be, but if so, why would it work specifically well on muscles but not as well on say, a contusion or tendonitis? Am I not understanding something about counter-irritants?

Ananda said...

Aw Shucks Kiva! Thank you for honoring the oil I make. I LOVE this glorious plant and so do my honey bees :) Goldenrod has such a sunny dispostion that I use it for the winter blues as well. It cheers me up. I made a GR elixer, with half vodka and half honey. It's due time I strain it considering I made it in Sept.! Yum.

Oakmoss Changeling said...

Wow, what a great idea, Ananda! I bet Goldenrod is just AMAZING in honey, I'll have to try that this year... I made regular tincture this last Autumn but wouldn't have thought to make an elixir... Thank you!

Oakmoss Changeling said...

Oh, and I just remembered this
by Maria Treben, she talks about how soothing and uplifting Goldenrod is :)

Ananda said...

Lovely website! I just checked my jar, I actually used brandy not vodka. 1/3 honey and 2/3 brandy. I'll let you know how it turns out!

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