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Solidago virgaurea (European goldenrod or woundwort)


Solidago virgaurea is an herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae. It is widespread across most of Europe as well as North Africa and northern, central, and southwestern Asia (China, Russia, India, Turkey, Kazakhstan). The genus Solidago is classified into more than 150 species, which crossbreed easily and form new varieties. European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is divided into two subspecies which are both polymorphous. Precise identification is not easy; however, it is easy to differentiate European from Canadian goldenrod, which was introduced to Europe in the last century. The flowering period is from July to September.

Medicinal History

The Latin name Solidago is a compound of solidum agere, meaning to make firm, whole, healthy. The name of the species, virga aurea, means golden rod.

In earlier times this plant was primarily used for healing wounds. This is reflected in the German folk name “Heidnisch Wundkraut”, which means “heathen woundwort”. The German name “Unsegenkraut” or “curse herb”, suggests that goldenrod was also used as a defensive remedy against witchcraft and the evil eye. In 1565, Hieronymus Bock wrote that the ancient Germanic tribes considered goldenrod the most valuable of the wound herbs. It was said to heal all “inner deficiency”. Petrus Andreas Matthiolus in the 1500s was the first herbal author to underline its diuretic effect, claiming it was “powerful in increasing the flow of urine and dissolving stones”.

The Europeans also took advantage of its astringent qualities internally and used goldenrod in cases of diarrhea, cough, chronic catarrh of the lungs, spitting of blood from the lungs, and gum ulcerations.

Phytochemical Properties Contained in the Plant

Pharmacological activity of Solidago virgaurea results from the presence of many biologically active compounds, among which flavonoids and phenolic compounds are considered to be most valuable. It contains numerous aponins, diterpenes (solidagolactones, elongatolides), phenolic glycosides, flavonoids (rutin, quercetin, hyperoside, astragalin), tannins, and volatile oils.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Medicinal Properties

Solidago virgaurea has traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine for the treatment of urinary tract conditions, nephrolithiasis and prostatic diseases. It has been reported to exhibit antimicrobial, antimycotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and hypotensive activities.

Unfortunately, European goldenrod has often gotten a bad reputation over the years for being a weed that causes itchy eyes and runny noses. However, the real culprit is its fellow Asteraceae family member ragweed - which are flowering plants in the genus Ambrosia. Solidago virgaurea is actually an anticatarrhal or an ally to battle those same symptoms for which it is being blamed. European goldenrod has a great affinity for the upper respiratory tract as well as the kidneys or urinary tract. Traditionally, Solidago virgaurea has been used to treat itchy, watery burning eyes and sinus congestion associated with allergies. It seems to have a general affinity for the upper respiratory tract where it helps alleviate infections and inflammation that cause sinusitis.

The following are medicinal properties associated with Solidago virgaurea.

Diuretic effect

In several studies oral administration of an aqueous extract of Solidago virgaurea resulted in an increase in diuresis.9, 10, 11 No isolated compound which has been isolated from Solidago virgaurea is recognized as responsible for its diuretic action, thus the complex mixture of constituents contributed to this effect. Indication of an increase of volume of urine, especially in cases of inflammation and renal calculi/gravel is well documented, both in monographs and textbooks, as in data regarding longstanding use.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity

In an in vitro study, polyphenolic-polysaccharide conjugates extracted from the flowers of European goldenrod were found to inhibit the peroxynitrite-induced nitration and oxidation of platelet proteins. Ethanolic extracts of European goldenrod (plant parts not specified) were found to have antioxidant activity in vitro, with inhibition of lipoxygenase and xanthine oxidase pathways.12

Aqueous/ethanolic extracts of Solidago virgaurea reduced the intensity of inflammatory effects in arthritis induced by Freund's complete adjuvant in rat paws by almost 40% compared with control rats.13

Antimicrobial activity

Ethanolic and methanolic extracts of Solidago virgaurea (plant parts not specified) were found to have antimicrobial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilis, Proteus mirabilis, Proteus vulgaris, Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, and Aspergillus niger.14, 15

Anti-muscarinic activity

Aqueous extracts of Solidago virgaurea leaves inhibited the carbachol-induced contraction of human bladder samples and whole rat bladders transfected with human M2 and M3 muscarinic receptors, in a concentration dependent manner.16

Anti-tumor activity

Both aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Solidago virgaurea leaves or flowers (1 mg/mL) had cytotoxic activity against human prostate cancer PC3 cells in vitro. Mice pre-injected with the rat prostate cancer cells (AT6.1) were given intraperitoneal, or intraperitoneal and subcutaneous, injections of phosphate-buffered saline extracts of European goldenrod 5 mg/kg every 3 days for 25 days. European goldenrod extracts suppressed tumor growth in these mice compared with control mice.17

The extract of Solidago virgaurea has been shown to exhibit strong cytotoxic activities on various tumor cell lines, including breast (MDA435), melanoma (C8161), and small cell lung carcinoma (H520).18, 19, 20, 21

Clinical studies

An open multicenter study in 74 female patients with dysuria found that an extract of European goldenrod administrated three times daily for 14 days, decreased the frequency of urination in 69.2% of patients, as well as other symptoms of cystitis in a greater number of patients.22

In another open multicenter study of 1487 patients, a subgroup of 512 patients with chronic recurrent irritable bladder conditions were given a dry extract of European goldenrod 424.8 mg three times daily; 96% of these patients showed an improvement in the clinical global impression scale.23

The European Medicines Agency assessment report for Solidago virguarea L. Herba describes an open multicenter post-marketing study in 53 patients with symptoms of urinary-tract inflammation. Patients were given an ethanolic extract of European goldenrod 64% (v/v) for up to one year; adults were given 100 drops daily, while children under 1 year of age were given 55 drops daily. Clinical improvement, with a reduction in dysuria, pollakiuria, and tenesmus after taking the European goldenrod extract was seen in 65.4% of patients.24

The same European Medicines Agency assessment report also notes an open post marketing study in 1487 patients with irritable bladder, urinary tract infections or renal calculi. Improvement in the clinical global impression scale was seen in 79% of the patients, when an ethanolic extract of European goldenrod was given for an average of 4 weeks.25

In an open post-marketing crossover study, 22 healthy subjects given 100 drops daily of an ethanolic extract of European goldenrod 64% (v/v) for 2 days showed an increase in daily urine output of 27% compared with those taking placebo.26

Agency reports

The German Commission E (a scientific advisory board that gives scientific expertise for the approval of substances and products previously used in traditional, folk and herbal medicine), approved the internal use of Solidago virgaurea as therapy for inflammatory diseases of the lower urinary tract, urinary calculi and kidney gravel, and as prophylaxis for urinary calculi and kidney gravel.27

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia reported the internal use of Solidago virgaurea as a diuretic, anticatarrhal, and diaphoretic. The German Standard License for goldenrod herbal tea indicates its use to increase the amount of urine in inflammation of the kidneys and bladder.

European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) indicates the internal use of Solidago virgaurea for irrigation of the urinary tract, especially in cases of inflammation and renal gravel, and as an adjuvant in the treatment of bacterial infections of the urinary tract. Goldenrod is classed as an aquaretic, increasing renal blood flow and increasing the glomerular filtration rate without stimulating the loss of sodium and chloride. Aquaretics are considered safer than many synthetic diuretics that promote the loss of electrolytes such as potassium.

Psychoemotional Signature and Nature of European Solidago

In traditional phytotherapy, all plants have both a physiological effect and a psychoemotional effect. Historically, in European phytotherapy, Solidago virgaurea has been used to resolve relationship problems and difficulties with intimacy. According to folklore, the nature of Solidago virgaurea is to connect the separated and incomplete parts into a whole. Feeling connected through friendships and intimacy activates biological processes. As previously described, Solidago has a special resonance with the kidney and supports kidney function. When the harmonic flow of the connecting feelings disappears, when disappointments, frustrations and feelings of guilt are blocking relationships, psychological forces are weakened, and the kidneys suffer.

Solidago virgaurea is a very specific and efficacious kidney function plant. It is indicated with renal diseases, which are often emotionally connected with painful experiences in relationships and partnerships that involve separation and loss.

Considerations and Cautions

Contraindicated in individuals with known hypersensitivity to goldenrod.

Toxicity: None reported to date. Considered safe for medium- to long-term usage with periodic breaks.

Summary of Clinical Usage of Solidago virgaurea

Physiological conditions: It is a mild diuretic, increasing renal blood flow and increasing the glomerular filtration rate without stimulating the loss of sodium and chloride; useful for urinary tract infections and inflammatory diseases of the lower urinary tract; kidney and bladder stones, cystitis, nephritis; and as an aid to toxic element detoxification treatment for increased kidney flow and filtration.

Psychoemotional conditions: It is indicated with renal diseases, which are emotionally connected with painful experiences in relationships and partnerships that involve separation and loss.

Dosage

All dosages should be individualized depending on the condition treated and the individual’s constitution and tolerance. Best to follow manufacturer’s recommended directions if available.

Generally, as a Tea: Standard infusion of dried leaves and flowers; 1-3 oz up to four times per day.

As a Tincture: 0.5-2 mL three times daily (1:5); some company tinctures recommend less dosage - such as 4-6 drops three times daily.

References

  1. Batyuk VS, Kovaleva SN. Flavonoids of Solidago canadensis and S. virgaurea. Chem Nat Compd 1985; 21: 533–534.

  2. Budzianowski L et al. Flavonoids and leiocarposide in four Solidago taxa. Sci Pharm 1990; 58: 15–23.

  3. Pietta P et al. High-performance liquid chromatographic analysis of flavonol glycosides of Solidago virgaurea. J Chrom 1991; 558: 296–301.

  4. Bader G et al. Zur quantitativen Bestimmung von Leiocarposid in Solidago virgaurea L. Pharmazie 1990; 45: 380–381.

  5. Skrzypczak, L. U. T. O. S. L. A. W. A., and J. A. R. O. M. I. R. Budzianowski. Phenolic compounds in two Solidago L. species from in vitro culture. Acta Pol. Pharm 58 (2001): 277-281.

  6. Choi, Sang Zin, Sang Un Choi, and Kang Ro Lee. Pytochemical constituents of the aerial parts from solidago virga-aurea var. gigantea. Archives of pharmacal research 27, no. 2 (2004): 164-168.

  7. Bader, Gerd, Victor Wray, and Karl Hiller. The main saponins from the aerial parts and the roots of Solidago virgaurea subsp. virgaurea. Planta medica 61, no. 02 (1995): 158-161.

  8. Anal. 32(4–5), 1045–1053. Bader G., Wray V., Hiller K., 1995. The main saponins from the aerial parts and the roots of Solidago virgaurea subsp. virgaurea. Planta Med. 61(2), 158–161.

  9. Kaspers U et al. Diuretic effects of extracts and fractions obtained from different Solidago species. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 1998; 358: R495.

  10. Yarnell, Eric. Botanical medicines for the urinary tract. World journal of urology 20, no. 5 (2002): 285-293.

  11. Chodera, A., K. Dabrowska, A. Sloderbach, L. Skrzypczak, and J. Budzianowski. Effect of flavonoid fractions of Solidago virgaurea L on diuresis and levels of electrolytes. Acta poloniae pharmaceutica 48, no. 5-6 (1991): 35-37.

  12. Meyer B et al. Antioxidative properties of alcoholic extracts from Fraxinus excelsior, Populus tremula and Solidago virgaurea. Arzneimittelforschung 1995; 45: 174–176.

  13. El-Ghazaly M et al. Study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Populus tremula, Solidago virgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior. Arzneimittelforschung 1992; 42: 333–336.

  14. Thiem B, Goślińska O. Antimicrobial activity of Solidago virgaurea L. from in vitro cultures. Fitoterapia 2002; 73: 514–516.

  15. El-Ghazaly M et al. Study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Populus tremula, Solidago virgaurea and Fraxinus excelsior. Arzneimittelforschung 1992; 42: 333–336.

  16. Borchert VE et al. Extracts from Rhois aromatic and Solidaginis virgaurea inhibit rat and human bladder contraction. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2004; 369: 281–286.

  17. Gross, Steven C., Goodarz Goodarzi, Misako Watabe, Sucharita Bandyopadhyay, Sudha K. Pai, and Kounosuke Watabe. Antineoplastic activity of Solidago virgaurea on prostatic tumor cells in an SCID mouse model. Nutrition and cancer 43, no. 1 (2002): 76-81.

  18. Sung JH, Lee JO, Son JK, Park NS, Kim MR, et al.: Cytotoxic constituents from Solidago virgaurea var. Gigantea MIQ. Arch Pharmacol Res 22, 633–637, 1999.

  19. Goldberg SF, Harms JF, Quon K, and Welch DR: Metastasis-suppressed C8161 melanoma cells arrest in lung but fail to proliferate. Clin Exp Metastasis 17, 601–607, 1999.

  20. Caailleau R, Olive M, and Cruciger QV: Long-term human breast carcinoma cell lines of metastatic origin: preliminary characterization. In Vitro 14, 911–915, 1978.

  21. Carney DN, Bunn PA, Gazdar AF, Pagan JA, and Minna JD: Selective growth in serum-free hormone-supplemented medium of tumor cells obtained by biopsy from patients with small cell carcinoma of the lung. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 78, 3185–3189, 1981.

  22. Schmitt M. [Goldenrod normalises irritable bladder. Effectiveness and side effects treatment of bacterial cystitis]. TW Urologie Nephrologie 1996; 8: 133 [in German].

  23. Pfannkuch A, Stammwitz U. Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit eines monographiekonformen Goldrutenkraut-Extraktes bei Patienten mit Reizblase. Z Phytother 2002; 23: 20–25.

  24. European Medicines Agency, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Assessment report for herbal substance(s), herbal preparations or combinations thereof with traditional use: Solidago virgaurea L., herba. London, 4 September 2008. EMEA/HMPC/ 285759/2007. Available at http://www.ema.europa.eu (accessed 28/08/12).

  25. European Medicines Agency, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Assessment report for herbal substance(s), herbal preparations or combinations thereof with traditional use: Solidago virgaurea L., herba. London, 4 September 2008. EMEA/HMPC/ 285759/2007.

  26. European Medicines Agency, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Assessment report for herbal substance(s), herbal preparations or combinations thereof with traditional use: Solidago virgaurea L., herba. London, 4 September 2008. EMEA/HMPC/ 285759/2007. Available at http://www.ema.europa.eu (accessed 28/08/12).

  27. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines by Michael Nathan, MD; Robert Scholten, MSLIS.

  28. https://www.pharmacopoeia.com/

  29. http://escop.com/downloads/solidaginis-virgaureae-herba-european-goldenrod/

Solidago YouTube Videos

Vara de oro, propiedades medicinales, beneficios y usos en remedios caseros (Spanish)

Video del Centaurea Nigrescens Asteraceae: Fiordaliso nerastro - Seguici su www.traisassfiorii.it

Solidago virgaurea (Echte Goldrute) - Ernte / Eigenschaften (German)


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© 2017-2020 Dr. James Odell, ND, OMD, L.Ac. 

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