In Southern Ontario, where I live, Goldenrod is abundant in August and September. I keep seeing it everywhere and hearing it call to me! In my various feeds and subscriptions, a lot of herbalists are talking about it since it’s prime Goldenrod time. The herb of the month for August in the Natural Herbal Living Magazine is even Goldenrod. How many more signs do I need?? Since I have today off I decided to go collect some!
I’m fortunate it’s only a 2 minute walk to my nearest field overflowing with beautiful Goldenrod. Many people think of Goldenrod as a weed but in my opinion labels like ‘weed’ are rather subjective! Plants unlucky enough to get labelled as a weed often have many beneficial usages that we’ve forgotten to appreciate. Why not try to take advantage of local herbal magic?
As I walked through the field of Goldenrod, I noticed a lot of bugs enjoying the blossoms. Bees, wasps, ladybugs, and other unidentifiable bugs were all hanging out on the flowers. Before I take anything, I try to take note of how it fits into the environment so I don’t disrupt anything. This isn’t a problem with Goldenrod since there’s so much of it but it’s good to always keep in mind as a best practice! Plus we learn through observing.
I’ve read a lot of different opinions about when it’s best to harvest Goldenrod. Some people say before the flowers bloom and some say when the flowers have bloomed. Since this is my first time taking Goldenrod, I decided to mostly take the middle road and harvest upper parts that were both in bloom and not in bloom. Though I did take a few Goldenrod tops in full bloom because they’re so beautiful.
Some people only use the flowers, some use the flowers and leaves, and some even use the stem too. I took the upper aerial parts so I have some stems, flowers, and leaves. I think it’s sad to waste plant matter so if I can use all of it, I will!
I’m impatient so right now I’m experimenting with drying half of the Goldenrod I collected in the oven. My oven is set to the lowest temperature and the oven door is slightly open. Edit: some Goldenrod ended up fluffy because I didn’t pick some of it at the right stage.
With all the Goldenrod I collected, I’m going to make some quick stove-top infused oil for salves and soaps. I plan on making a salve for arthritis and a salve for eczema. I also intend to experiment with making an incense bundle to test out how well it burns and smokes. So far I haven’t found much information on the Internet about whether using it as incense is actually a good idea so if you have the urge to test it out too, don’t try it without researching more! I think the flowers smell quite nice, sort of anise-licoricey, but I have no idea if this will actually translate well into incense.
And now dear readers, do you have your own Goldenrod adventures? Tips and tricks for fellow foragers? Share in the comments!