Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago Odora) leaves make a great herbal tea, also called a tisane. The leaves, when fresh picked have a delicate anise-like aroma, mixed with a bright green herbal hints as well. the leaves can be brewed into tea, whether fresh leaves, or dried. The fresh leaves make a delicate tea with more of the anise-like flavor, but I prefer the leaves dried. When slow-dried they have a light anise and bright green/gold flavor. If you dry them in a low oven with the door ajar, watching them carefully so they don’t scorch, you get a more pronounced, warm , golden, deep, anise and hay complexity; with a touch of agreeable bitterness. A bare hint of sugar or honey round it out and make for an exceptional tisane.
One of the first Europeans to record the use of the Sweet Goldenrod in making tea was Johann David Schoepf, who was chief surgeon of one o the bodies of German troops sent to America by George III during the American Revolution. Writing from Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Schoepf said:
Here we were introuced to still another domestic tea-plant, a variety of Solidago. The leaves were gathered and dried over a slow fire. It was said that around fort Littleton many 100 pounds of his Bohea-tea, as they call it, had been made as long as the Chinese was scarcer. Our hostess praised its good taste, but this was not conspicuous in what she brewed.
The account given only a few years later by the globetrotting botanist, Frederick Pursh, was very different; and, in view of the facts that nowadays we are wont to despise all native substitutes for tea and to demand that our tea come from China or adjacent regions, it is worth while to repeat Pursh’s statement:
The flowers, gathered when fully expanded and carefully dried, give a most agreeable substitute for tea, which for some time has been an article of exportation to China, where it fetches a high price.
Leaves – Cooked and eaten
Seeds – No more details are given but the seed is very small and fiddly to harvest. An aromatic, anise-flavored tea is made from the dried leaves and dried fully expanded flowers. The blossoms are used as a flavoring.
An infusion of the dried powdered herb is antiseptic.
The leaves make a very pleasant-tasting tea that is mildly astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge and stimulant. It is useful in the treatment of coughs and colds, dysentery and ulceration of the intestines.
The essential oil has been used as a diuretic for infants, as a local application for headaches and for the treatment of flatulence and vomiting.
The flowers are aperient, astringent and tonic. An infusion is beneficial in the treatment of gravel, urinary obstruction and simple dropsy.
The root can be chewed as a treatment for sore mouths.
An anise-scented essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used medicinally and in perfumery – especially for scenting soaps. Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant
Where Does Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago Odora) Grow?
How To Identify Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago Odora)
Sweet goldenrod is a great plant to grow alongside a sandy trail or driveway. Ample plants for a colorful show will spring up if seeds are generously scattered into the loose soil. The flowers will attract ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, and other garden-friendly insects.
The leaves are toothless and can be 7.5-10 cm (3-4 in.). A good detail from the Peterson’s Guide is that when held up to light, there are tiny transparent dots.
The fruits are cypselae, which are narrowly obconic to cylindric in shape, they are sometimes somewhat compressed. The cypselae have 8 to 10 ribs usually and are hairless or moderately covered with stiff slender bristles.
The flowers are in a panicle of heads, usually bent to one side as pictured above.