Solidago virgaurea /syn. S. virga aurea
This plant is very aptly named, for it is indeed a golden rod when the stem is beset with golden flowers. The Latin name, Solidago means 'makes whole', which alludes to the plants former primary use as a wound herb. Back in the Middle Ages various different wound herbs were all bunched together under this generic term. Linné gave Golden Rod its by-name 'virga aurea' which means - golden rod, and these days is often shortened to virgaurea. There are various different species of Golden Rods, several of which are used medicinally, while others are used as a tea herb to make a simple herbal beverage. However, S. virgaurea would not be counted among those as it is quite bitter. The 'true' European species Solidago virga aurea has become quite rare, while the Canadian Golden Rod has spread itself throughout Europe and is now colonising any patch of light soil and exposed waste ground it can find. While the European species grows quite straight, with flowers set along the stem, the Canadian species divides in the upper part and looks somewhat whirly. The golden flowers are like sunbeams caught as flowers, yet not everybody is happy to see them - Golden Rod, often gets the blame as one of the worst offenders during hayfever season. Probably unfairly so, as it is much more likely that Fleabane is the real culprit - Golden Rod on the other hand, is indicated as a healing herb to soothe the symptoms of asthma and hayfever.
The old herbalists praise this herb for its wound healing abilities, for which it was used inwardly and outwardly. It staunches bleeding and speeds the healing process. It has been used to treat the symptoms of a cold and as a gargle for sore throat. But what this herb really excels in is the treatment of kidney and bladder conditions. It appears to be a specific for the kidneys and can restore them like no other herb. It acts as a strengthening, cleansing tonic that purifies bladder and kidneys in case of infection and can even clear stones and gravel. It is also indicated to treat oral or vaginal thrush caused by candida as it appears to have anti-fungal properties that are active against this yeast.
The rods once used to be used as dowsing rods to search for water veins or hidden treasures. Incidentally they were also said to mark the spot (grow) where treasure had been hidden.