No, Goldenrod isn't Ragweed! It is true that when Goldenrod's bright yellow froth sweeps over roadsides, the tiny, unassuming Ragweed blooms too, and causes sinus misery all over.
However, Goldenrod is actually a great remedy for Ragweed allergies, among other complaints.
On one of our recent hot, swampy, rainy days I tried the loose Goldenrod harvested locally by Barefoot Botanicals in Doylestown. It has a unique flavor, almost menthol and refreshing, and it felt dry.
(You know what that means- wine can be dry or sweet, spinach feels mineraly on your teeth, butternut squash soup feels soft and moistening. This tea felt the opposite of the swampy day.)
The next morning, the boyfriend whumped down on our couch. He had sniffles (maybe allergies, maybe a little cold), a sore neck from sleeping funny, and a slightly upset tummy. Goldenrod tea to the rescue!
And it worked. Goldenrod tones mucus membranes- if they're loose and drippy, it'll tighten them up, and it's anti-microbial. This works in the nose and in the belly, and in fact it's been used for ages in the Urinary system too.
The awesome thing is, his sore neck felt better too. Goldenrod has a long history with pain relief, although it's usually infused in oil and applied to the sore muscle or joint or area topically.
How do you get Goldenrod?
Right now is prime harvest time, so local growers like Barefoot Botanicals might not have any in stock till it gets cut, dried, bagged and tagged. Or you might find some in person- visit your local farmer's market!
Picking your own is a fun, easy entry into foraging. Get a good field guide, like Petersons Edible Wild Plants or Medicinal Plants. Always use a guide when foraging.
Rebecca Altman of Kings Road Apothecary describes what to do next with your bought or foraged Goldenrod:
Gather the flowering tops, plus about 3-10 inches (depending on how big your plants are; ours here are quite short), on a warm, dry day, and make sure they are DRY. Then chop them up, into 1/2 inch pieces, and cover with an oil of your choice. I like coconut oil, castor oil, sesame oil, or jojoba oil for external use, but you can use what you have on hand. Now, heat it slightly. I do this in a crock pot and keep it at a steady low temperature but you can do it on the stove if you can make sure it doesn't boil. Yogurt makers also work... Steep for 5 hours or up to 5 days, and then strain and put in a bottle.
And there you have it, homemade pain relief oil, made from stuff you can pick on the side of the road. Although I'd recommend someplace cleaner, like a park or preserved farm field.
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