Goldenrod for golden urine

For me, Goldenrod has always been a plant that reflects its simple, yet robust operation in its outward simplicity. Not a fashionable herb with spectacularly miraculous effects, but a steady, safe force in an uncertain world of illness.

Goldenrod for golden urine

Solidago virgaurea is a perennial plant that is mainly found along dry forest edges. The plant is not rare and other non-native Solidago species such as S. canadensis and S. gigantea are now also becoming more natural. These 3 types may be used medically. Other species, varieties and cultivars sold in garden centers cannot be used therapeutically because little is known about them scientifically. Of course, all these plants are suitable as ornamental plants, but the Goldenrod is also easy to sow or tear for use in the yellow border or woodland garden. It grows well on poor sandy soil and even on birch trees.

What’s in a name or etymology

Solidago is said to come from solidare or solidum agare: to make healthy or firm, because Goldenrod was known as a wound-healing plant. The species name virgaurea comes from virga (rod or branch) and aurea (gold), because of the straight stem with golden yellow flowers. In my imagination it also refers to a good, golden, golden rod because of its diuretic effect. The Dutch name is therefore also clear. Pagan woundwort is an old name that can be found among others in Petrus Nylandt. It was said that in the Middle Ages the Arab Saracens used the herb as a wound healing agent and these peoples were of course considered pagan, hence the Latin name Solidago sarracenica. This means that the two main pharmacological effects, an astringent and a diuretic, are known.

The history

History mainly mentions the astringent effect. In Dodonaeus it sounds like For dirty wounds of the teeth and of the throat: Take half a pint of the remedy, honeyh van Roosen one and a half times, mix this together and gargle with it. Or For various old wounds and the Fistulas: The juice drips or the powder stops in the holes or leaking holes; To this end, this herb is also used in wound drinks.
We also find an anti-inflammatory effect in Lonicerus (1564) and H. Bock (1565). The first mention of Goldenrod as a kidney remedy comes from Arnold of Villanova (1240-1311). From then on we find the diuretic effect in all major herbal books. Tabernaemontanus (1530-1590) refers, among other things, to Matthiolus and writes that Virga aurea ferratis foliis … not only the grit and sand without the stone being damaged … it is clean with the kidneys and the heart of all the waste. Culpeper (1653) astrologically regards the Golden Rod as a Venus plant, but also recommends it for bladder and kidney complaints and as a wound remedy. In the Wurttemberische Pharmacopoeia of 1741, Herba Consolidae Saraceniae is mentioned as Lithontripticum or as a stone-dispelling herb, but also as Vulnerarium.

A final overview:

  • Rademacker (1848) uses Goldenrod for nephritis,
  • Duché (1886) for cystitis,
  • Meyer (1935) in chronic nephritis and uremia,
  • Bohn (1935) in lithiasis,
  • Kahnt (1940) for dropsy and bed-wetting,
  • Leclerc (1914) for enteritis and as a diuretic.


Ingredients, active ingredients

A varied group of active substances gives us a fascinating, but sometimes confusing picture of this plant. For example, the Goldenrod contains a small amount of essential oil. Enough to be able to smell the plant’s unobtrusive but distinctive scent. More important are the saponins, flavonoids and a phenol glycoside that together determine the diuretic effect of Solidago. The ratio of these substances is quite different among the 3 types used. For example, the content of saponins and flavonoids is higher in the Canadian and Late goldenrod, while the phenol glycoside only occurs in the True goldenrod. From a rational numerical point of view, the alien species seem to be more effective, but emotionally and traditionally, we still prefer the real ones.
In practice, the three species mentioned are often offered mixed, under the name Solidago virgaurea, which is very confusing. As far as the action of the ingredients is concerned, we can say that the phenol glycoside has a proven anti-phlogistic, analgesic, diuretic and stone-resistant effect. The flavonoids from S. gigantea also showed a diuretic effect. The saponins from S. virgaurea had an edema-inhibiting effect in animal experiments.
All these studies confirm the old experiences , but new pharmacological effects of saponins and polysaccharides from Solidago were also described. The sperm-inhibiting effect of a saponin mixture is striking and also confusing. Furthermore, anti-tumor activities have also been demonstrated in various studies. We must clearly state that these latter effects were obtained with isolated and concentrated preparations and should certainly not be attributed to a goldenrod tea or tincture. The message is therefore to wait for further research.

Practical application

The German Commission E, which soberly assesses, and sometimes condemns, the official effects of herbs, considers S. virgaurea, S. canadensis and S. gigantea to be used for their long-lasting health benefits. Dr. Valnet recommends Goldenrod especially for infections of the urinary tract, both cystitis and acute and chronic nephritis. Goldenrod tea is also worth a try for albuminuria and excess uric acid. For me, Goldenrod is the basic plant for the kidneys and urinary tract. By combining it with 1 or 2 specifically active plants, we get a herbal mixture with a more targeted effect (Table 1).

Table 1: Herbal mixtures with a more targeted effect

  • Solidago + Arctostaphylos uva ursi: acute cystitis
  • Solidago + Equisetum: chronic bladder infection
  • Solidago + Rubia tinctorum: lithiasis, bladder and kidney stones
  • Solidago + Betula + Filipendula ulmaria: rheumatic diseases
  • Solidago + Urtica + Equisetum: osteoarthritis, joint wear
  • Solidago + Epilobium: prostate hypertrophy
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