Drugs A - Z
Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea)
Generic Name: Goldenrod
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Aaron's rod, acetylene, astragalin, beta-amyrin acetate, beta-dictyopterol, blue mountain tea, Canadian goldenrod, cinnamate, clerdane diterpene, early goldenrod, echte guldenroede (Dutch), elongatolide C, elongatolide E, European goldenrod, flavonoid, golden rod, goldrute, Goldrutenkraut (German), hydroxybenzoates, hyperoside, inulin, isoquercetin, kaempferol, leicarposide, liberty tea, liu chi nu ts'ao, nicotiflorin, oleanolic acid, phenolic acid, phenolic glucoside, polygalic acid, polysaccharide, quercetin, rutin, saponin, solidago, Solidago canadenis, Solidago gigantea, Solidago nemoralis, Solidago odora, Solidago serotina, Solildago spathulata, Solidago virgaurea, solidagolactone, tannin, trans-phytol, vara de oro, wound weed, wound wort, Yahudiotu, yellow weed.
Note: Avoid confusion with mullein, which is also referred to as goldenrod, and with rayless goldenrod, which is a species from the same family as goldenrod
Note: This monograph primarily discusses Solidago virgaurea.
Goldenrod is native to Europe, and there are many different species of goldenrod that possess the same medicinal properties. Frequently, many species, such as Solidago canadenis, Solidago gigantea, Solidago serotina, Solidago odora, Solidago nemoralis, Solidago radiata, and Solidago spathulata, along with many others are used interchangeably with Solidago virgaurea. This monograph primarily discusses the species of goldenrod Solidago virgaurea.
Goldenrod is used as an anti-inflammatory treatment for cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the uretha), and arthritis. Goldenrod has also been used to help prevent kidney stones. Traditionally, goldenrod has been used as a diuretic. Although there is currently no available human data to support this use, animal studies have indicated that goldenrod may indeed have diuretic effects. Traditionally, goldenrod has also been used as "irrigation therapy," taken along with excess fluids to increase urine flow in the treatment of diseases of the lower urinary tract.
Although currently there are no quality human trials that have studied the effects of goldenrod, animal studies show promise in inflammation and tumors.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Allergies, analgesic (pain reliever), antifungal, anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitumor, arthritis, asthma, astringent, benign prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate), bleeding (internal bleeding), carminative (reduces gas), catarrh (upper respiratory), cystitis (bladder infection), diabetes, diaphoretic (promotes swelling), diuretic, eczema, gout (inflamed joint), headache (topically), hemorrhoids, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney stones, laryngitis (inflamed vocal chords), pharyngitis (sore throat), sedative, sinusitis (sinus infection), sore throat, tuberculosis, urinary tract disorders, urolithiasis (kidney stones, prevention of), varicose veins, wound healing, yeast infections.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose of goldenrod. Gargling with a strained and cooled infusion (2-3 teaspoonfuls of dried goldenrod infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes) three times daily has been taken by mouth. One cup of strained tea (2-3 teaspoonfuls of dried goldenrod infused 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes) ingested three to four times daily has also been used. Tinctures have also been taken by mouth in doses of 0.5-2 milliliters of fluid extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol) two or three times daily.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose of goldenrod in children and use is not recommended. Traditionally, a tea has been given to children 1-4 years of age using 1-2 grams of dried herb; for 4-10 years of age, 2-5 grams of dried herb; and for 10-16 years of age, 4-8 grams of dried herb.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to goldenrod, its constituents, or any members from the Asteraceae/Compositae family, such dandelion, goldenrod, ragweed, sunflower, and daisies. A case of allergic contact dermatitis was reported after taking a fluid goldenrod extract by mouth. Multiple allergies have been reported from contact with species from the Asteraceae/Compositae family, to which goldenrod belongs. Allergic reactions to goldenrod have ranged from urticaria ("hives") to rhinoconjunctivitis and bronchial asthma.
Side Effects and Warnings
Other than allergic reactions, which can manifest as rash, bronchial asthma or rhinoconjunctivitis, there are currently no reported serious adverse effects to goldenrod in the scientific literature. In two drug-monitoring studies, good tolerability of goldenrod was reported in 97-98% of patients during two to four weeks of treatment. Goldenrod may cause heartburn.
Caution is advised in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) as goldenrod may increase sodium retention. It is classified as an aquaretic compound, which increases the volume of urine without affecting sodium excretion. Also use cautiously in patients with low blood pressure (hypotension). Use cautiously in patients with osteoporosis as goldenrod may increase calcium excretion.
Avoid irrigation therapy with goldenrod and excess amounts of fluid in patients with edema due to kidney or heart conditions.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Goldenrod is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. The combination product called Phytodolor® used to treat arthritis containing aspen, ash, and goldenrod is not recommended during pregnancy due to lack of evidence in this patient group.
A species from the same family as goldenrod (Haplopappus heterophyllus) called rayless goldenrod may contain the toxic substance tremetol or tremetone and has been responsible for intoxication of cows and their calves and also for human poisonings after consumption of milk from intoxicated cows. The toxin is excreted in the milk of lactating animals.
Interactions with Drugs
Goldenrod may have anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised when combining with other anti-inflammatory agents.
Although not well studied in humans, goldenrod may lower blood pressure. However, it may also raise blood pressure in some individuals. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and check for interactions with other blood pressure altering agents.
Goldenrod may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Goldenrod may have anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised when combining with other anti-inflammatory agents.
Although not well studied in humans, goldenrod may have diuretic effects and may increase calcium excretion and decrease potassium and sodium excretion.
Although not well studied in humans, goldenrod may have hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) effects. However, it may also raise blood pressure in some individuals. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and check for interactions with other blood pressure altering agents.
Goldenrod may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs and supplements. Examples include: hops, lavender aromatherapy, and lemon balm. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Todd Porter, PhD (University of Kentucky); Lisa Scully, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Heeja Yoon, PharmD (Drake University).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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Bader G, Wray V, Hiller K. The main saponins from the aerial parts and the roots of Solidago virgaurea subsp. virgaurea. Planta Med 1995;61(2):158-161.
Borchert VE, Czyborra P, Fetscher C, et al. Extracts from Rhois aromatica and Solidaginis virgaurea inhibit rat and human bladder contraction. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2004;369(3):281-286.
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El Ghazaly M, Khayyal MT, Okpanyi SN, et al. Study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Populus tremula, Solidago virgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior. Arzneimittelforschung 1992;42(3):333-336.
Gross SC, Goodarzi G, Watabe M, et al. Antineoplastic activity of Solidago virgaurea on prostatic tumor cells in an SCID mouse model. Nutr Cancer 2002;43(1):76-81.
Plohmann B, Bader G, Hiller K, et al. Immunomodulatory and antitumoral effects of triterpenoid saponins. Pharmazie 1997;52(12):953-957.
Prosser I, Phillips AL, Gittings S, et al. (+)-(10R)-Germacrene A synthase from goldenrod, Solidago canadensis; cDNA isolation, bacterial expression and functional analysis. Phytochemistry 2002;60(7):691-702.
Sampson JH, Phillipson JD, Bowery NG, et al. Ethnomedicinally selected plants as sources of potential analgesic compounds: indication of in vitro biological activity in receptor binding assays. Phytother Res 2000;14(1):24-29.
Schatzle M, Agathos M, Breit R. Allergic contact dermatitis from goldenrod (Herba solidaginis) after systemic administration. Contact Dermatitis 1998;39(5):271-272.
Strehl E, Schneider W, Elstner EF. Inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase activity by alcoholic extracts from Fraxinus excelsior, Populus tremula and Solidago virgaurea. Arzneimittelforschung 1995;45(2):172-173.
Uter W, Nohle M, Randerath B, et al. Occupational contact urticaria and late-phase bronchial asthma caused by compositae pollen in a florist. Am J Contact Dermat. 2001;12(3):182-184.
Zhang J, Zhang X, Lei G, et al. A new phenolic glycoside from the aerial parts of Solidago canadensis. Fitoterapia 9-23-2006;
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.