Are There Health Benefits of Goldenrod?

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on February 29, 2024
3 min read

The goldenrod flower has been used for many years as an herbal remedy for skin wounds and certain health issues. It's a popular and easily grown plant that can be found in many places around the globe.

Goldenrod is a plant of the genus Solidago. The name means "to make whole". It's a perennial plant of the aster family and a popular component in herbal supplements. 

Native to Europe, the plant is now found in Asia, Azores, North America, and South America.

Goldenrod plants are easy to grow in full sun. But the soil must be dry to medium and well-drained to create a suitable environment for the plant to grow. 

The goldenrod plant has bright yellow flowers on the top of tall, woody stems. These flowers bloom in dense clusters, which are easy to identify from July through September. The average width of each flower is around one-quarter inch.

You can mostly find these plants along roadsides. They also grow in open fields. Some people confuse goldenrod with ragweed, which is a plant that is commonly associated with seasonal allergies.

You can consume goldenrod in several ways. For example, you can use the dried-out flowers in tea bags to make tea. You can also take it as an alcoholic or fluid extract.

The goldenrod flower is believed to have some health benefits, but the research about its effect in humans is limited. 

The above-ground parts of the goldenrod plant are used in traditional medicine for their anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to relieve pain and swelling.

Goldenrod contains beneficial chemicals, including:

Saponins. Saponins have antifungal properties that may help inhibit the growth of harmful yeast. They also exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. 

Flavonoids. Flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants include quercetin and kaempferol, which help protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable cells that can cause chronic conditions, including several heart issues and even cancer

Early studies on rodents found anti-inflammatory effects in an herbal medicine that contained a combination of goldenrod, aspen, and ash tree extracts. But this study didn't conclude anything about the efficacy of goldenrod alone in treating inflammation and pain.

In another test-tube study, researchers observed that goldenrod extract may act as a diuretic. Still others claim that it might benefit people with overactive bladder. Overactive bladder causes a person to have an increased or frequent urge to urinate. The same study found that goldenrod may decrease painful spasms of the urinary tract. 

The goldenrod flower has been used in medicine to try and help treat the following conditions:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Arthritis 
  • Gout
  • Enlargement of liver
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diabetes
  • Inflamed mouth
  • Inflamed bladder or urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Eczema (when applied topically to the skin)
  • Minor wounds (when applied topically to the skin)

Most of the evidence for these health benefits is early and related to animal studies. More studies are needed to confirm if goldenrod has similar effects in humans.

Many experts say that goldenrod pollen doesn't cause hay fever or seasonal allergies. But the real culprit is ragweed.

You may experience a skin reaction if you come in contact with the goldenrod plant. The common skin condition caused by goldenrod is allergic contact dermatitis

The main side effect of using goldenrod is heartburn. People who have the following health issues are at a higher risk for having side effects:

Also, avoid using goldenrod if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have a heart condition
  • Have kidney disease

Goldenrod can cause some side effects when it interacts with other herbs or medications. For this reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking it.