My favorite time of the year! You would think it would be Spring or Summer when the flowers are just peeking out or the flowers are in full bloom. Even though Spring heralds new growth, and Summer brings fresh fruits and vegetables, there is just something about the refreshing peace and quiet of Fall! Also, by the time Fall comes around, I am ready for the cooler temperatures since I don’t personally like heat and high humidity.
Fall is a time for harvesting not only our food, but our medicine as well. Plants are ready to release the seed, replant themselves, and continue their growth for the next year. The energy of the plants will be returned to the roots, and the roots will be kept fed for the next Spring. There are fall blooming plants that are beneficial for this time of year; as well as, fruit and berries ready for the picking.
There is one blooming plant that I look forward to harvesting, and that is Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) I collect the leaves and the flowers as soon as it first blooms to dry for future use and to make a fresh tincture. I cut the stalk halfway down and pull the leaves plus the flowers for fresh use, or hang it upside down to dry. I will also collect the flowers for a flower essence to help the individual that is usually prone to jealousy and are often envious of other people’s lives. They are green with envy, and the yellow of Goldenrod brings sunshine in to their own life balancing this emotion. They tend to be happier having more respect for themselves.
The infusion of Goldenrod is very tasty and refreshing. I add a little honey to mine for flavoring especially when I need extra soothing for irritated tissue. Most people fear this plant thinking it is responsible for their allergy symptoms. The truth is, it is a wonderful healing plant for hay fever, colds, and the flu. It grows and blooms right along side of Ragweed (Ambrosia sp). When a gentle breeze hits Ragweed, there is a cloud of pollen released causing many allergy symptoms in individuals with sensitivities. A strong wind could blow on Goldenrod, and no pollen will be released. It can only be released by pollinators. Many people confuse Goldenrod with Ragweed, but they are completely different looking plants. Below you will see the ragweed compared to the goldenrod in the background.
Goldenrod is considered a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, alterative, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, sedative and stimulant. This herb is especially beneficial in urinary tract infections, upper and lower respiratory inflammation, and digestive irritation. It is both warming and drying and helps to stimulate the flow of body fluid whether it is urine, blood, or lymph. Goldenrod is also a calming herb for both the nerves and the muscles, but in larger doses (in one sitting), it could act as a sedative for some people. Energetically, this herb is very grounding and helps to strengthen our own energy field.
To make an infusion, simply pour boiling water over the herb, cover, and let it steep for about 30 minutes. You can then strain and add some honey if you prefer. To make a fresh tincture, cut the flowers and leaves up to fill a mason jar. You want to pack it full to the top. I add 100 proof vodka (50% alcohol and 50% water) to the jar and fill it also to the top. Cap it, and let it macerate (extract in the liquid) for 3-4 weeks. Shake it daily to evenly distribute the alcohol and water. Strain it with some cheesecloth after that time and pour it into a labeled bottle. Keep it out of direct sun in a cool area. Dose is 1-2 ml. three times a day when needed. This herb is contraindicated with diuretic and high blood pressure pharmaceuticals. Check with your doctor if you are unsure of any interactions with your current medications.
Next month, I will be ready to harvest some of my favorite roots. Check back with “Mary’s Marc” for my next fall adventure.