The generic name solidago is from the Latin solidare, meaning to join together or make whole — a reference to the healing properties of the plant, which was once carried by soldiers as they went into battle.
Solidago, solidago virgaurea, also known as goldenrod, is a tall attractive perennial, with its daisy-like flowers forming spikes of brilliant yellow from July until the autumn. The narrow pointed leaves have a pleasant scent when bruised but the flowers have a strong musty smell. Solidago can be found growing wild on the edges of woodland and on dry undisturbed land.
Solidago is a hardy plant and, once established in the garden, will need little attention. It is propagated by seed or by division of roots in the autumn. Sow the seeds in early spring, directly in their flowering position. Choose a sunny dry spot in the garden in ordinary soil. When the seedlings are large enough to handle thin them to a handspan apart.
Solidago is a medicinal herb and the flowering spikes are the parts used in the home. They should be gathered for drying at the height of the flowering period and carefully dried to retain their goodness. They are then stored in the usual way.
Solidago is a mild diuretic herb and can be taken to help the kidneys and bladder to function properly. It is also said to be good for arthritis and rheumatism. It is a gentle and effective remedy for cystitis. Solidago is taken in the form of a tea or a syrup.
* To make solidago tea: Add 2 teaspoons of the chopped herb to 1 cup of cold water. Bring to the boil and immediately remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 10— 15 minutes before straining; add honey to sweeten. A small glassful 2—3 times a day is the recommended dose. Take between meals and do not continue the treatment for longer than a week.
* To make solidago syrup: Add 2 handfuls of chopped herb to 2 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes, Leave to infuse overnight, and then strain into a pan. Add 8 tablespoons of sugar and simmer for 20 minutes until syrupy. Take one teaspoon a day for not more than a week.
Solidago is a mild disinfectant and the infusion (see recipe for tea, above) can be used as a lotion for cleaning cuts and abrasions. Used in the form of a compress and laid on to the affected part, the lotion will help in healing and stop infection spreading.
* As an instant remedy for minor cuts, grazes and insect bites use crushed fresh leaves which will help to cleanse, heal and relieve the pain.
Solidago ointment is soothing for bruises and swellings and useful to have in store.
* To make an ointment: Melt 4 heaped tablespoons of white petroleum jelly and add a good handful of dried solidago. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 15—20 minutes. Strain. Pour into small jars. Cover when cold.