Try this easy herbal remedy

By Sari Huhtala

I was straining pasta a couple of months ago and clumsily ended up pouring boiling hot water on my hand. It burned painfully for six hours, as though it were on fire, but I didn’t even end up with one blister thanks to a miracle weed that grows abundantly across North America. It sounds like a sales pitch, but I can’t sell you something that is growing in your own backyard or neighbourhood. That weed is goldenrod, and it’s easier than you think to harvest, dry and jar this medicine for year-round use for all sorts of ailments and accidents.

After getting scalded by the boiling water, I ran my hand under cold water for about a minute (I later googled and discovered it should have been at least 10 minutes), then I rehydrated some of my dried goldenrod leaves and flowers from last summer’s stores, and created a poultice with the goldenrod, which I secured with gauze. In order to keep immersing my hand in cold water to stop the burning sensation, I placed a medical glove on my hand for a couple of hours. At bedtime, I removed the poultice – still no blisters. I swabbed witch hazel blended with pure lavender essential oil onto my hand, then went to bed. Next day, still no blisters, and no pain. By day three, the slight reddishness had disappeared, and there were no signs of a burn.

I used goldenrod leaves and flowers for a motorcycle exhaust burn on my leg once. I was heading out hiking when the burn happened, so I grabbed goldenrod, masticated it by chewing it then spitting it out and slapping it on my burn, then soaking a wad of lichen in a river and placing that on top of the masticated golden rod. The burning sensation stopped within five minutes and the three-inch burn patch never blistered, and healed within no time.

Of all the wildcrafted plants I’ve harvested and used over the years, goldenrod is true bush medicine, and now is the perfect time to begin harvesting and drying it for your year-round herbal first aid kit.

Every summer I harvest goldenrod’s leaves and flowers for medicine. I wrap twine around the bundle of stems, and hang them to dry in my kitchen. Once dried, I run my finger along the stem to remove the leaves and flowers and gather them into a clean jar that will become medicine for the winter months when fresh leaves and flowers are not available. You can also grind the dried goldenrod into a powder form to keep in your herbal first aid kit to use as a styptic to stop bleeding.

Use dried leaves and flowers in teas, infusions, poultices, salves, oil infusions and tinctures. Freeze goldenrod and add to smoothies, or freeze chopped goldenrod in ice cube trays with a bit of olive oil for an easy add-on to soups and stir-fries throughout the year for extra nutrition. Use fresh flowers to garnish salads or to add a fresh twist to an old muffin recipe. Use young fresh leaves like spinach in meals.

Goldenrod is a member of the daisy family that has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and is also a natural antihistamine, according to The Boreal Herbal by herbalist and author Beverley Gray. Goldenrod is good for tissue repair and regeneration, not to mention reduce mucous in the bronchial tubes and assist with urinary problems. Plus, it packs a powerful antioxidant punch with its abundance of quercetin. Quercetin, a plant flavanol, is found in vegetables and fruits, particularly foods like grapes (wine), apples, onions and kale, and, as an antioxidant, helps fight free radical damage.

Goldenrod’s saponins are antifungal and can help ward off candida fungus. Use it as a gargle for sore throats and inflammation of the mouth.

Not to be confused with ragweed (google images and you will see ragweed has distinct different characteristics), goldenrod is a member of the Asteraceae family, and its flowers, leaves and roots are edible. Those who are allergic to daisies and other members of the Asteraceae family should avoid goldenrod. Consult your doctor prior to use if you are on medications or pregnant.

Sari Huhtala is the creator, publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine. She has over 25 years experience in journalism, and is a mother of 3 adult children. She has spent over 20 years navigating a healthy path for her family, one health hack at a time, as a single mom feeding her kids healthy on a shoestring budget. She has over 15 years experience as a certified fitness specialist and personal trainer and 10 years experience as a reiki practitioner.

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