Goldenrod: Background. Actions

Historical Note

Goldenrod has been used therapeutically for centuries for bladder conditions and wound healing. The name, Solidago, is from the Latin verb ‘to make whole’. In 1934, reports from the US Department of Agriculture suggested that goldenrod was considered as a potential future source of commercially prepared rubber, although it was noted that domestication of the plant would be difficult as it is vulnerable to fungal infection and insect attack.

Common Name


Other Names

Aaron’s rod, blue mountain tea, sweet goldenrod, woundwort

Botanical Name / Family

Solidago canadensis (Canadian goldenrod), Solidago virgaurea (European goldenrod) (family Asteraceae [Compositae]). There are numerous species of goldenrod.

Plant Parts Used

Dried aerial parts — flowers and leaves

Chemical Components

Flavonoids, including rutin, catechol tannins, triterpene saponins, phenol glycosides, phenolic acids, one essential oil, diterpene lactones, and polysaccharides.

Main Actions

The pharmacology of goldenrod has not been significantly investigated; therefore, evidence of activity derives from traditional, in vitro and animal studies.


Goldenrod is considered an aquaretic medicine, as it promotes fluid loss without an associated disruption to electrolytes. Two animal studies have confirmed diuretic activity. According to one study, excretion of calcium increases whereas excretion of potassium and sodium decreases. A review of herbal medicines for the urinary tract concluded that goldenrod is a major diuretic herb.


High doses of a commercial preparation of Solidago gigantea extract (Urol mono) has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in an animal model, comparable to those of the pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medicine diclofenac. Other tests with an extract of Solidago virgaurea have also produced similar results.

The herbal combination consisting of Populus tremula, Solidago virgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior has demonstrated dose-dependent anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects comparable to those of NSAIDs in several animal models. Although encouraging, the role of Solidago in this study is uncertain.

Other Actions

Traditionally believed to have an effect on the micro-architecture of the kidney.


Inhibitory effects on human pathogenic yeasts such as Candida and Cryptococcus spp. have been demonstrated fortriterpenoid glycosides isolated from Solidago virgaurea


A moderate antibacterial activity in vitro against certain strains of bacteria, including species of Bacillus, Proteus and Staphylococcus has been demonstrated from an extract of Solidago virgaurea.


An extract of Solidago virgaurea has demonstrated antineoplastic activity in vitro using a variety of cell lines, including prostate, breast, small cell lung carcinoma and melanoma, and in vivo in a mouse model of prostate cancer.