Learn how to make goldenrod honey. This is an infused herbal honey recipe that I made for helping my husband with support against seasonal discomfort. It is a raw herbal honey so that the benefits of raw honey can shine through as well as the goldenrod health benefits.
One of the things I love about the fall season is that I finally have some spare time to play around with all my herbs, both my culinary and medicinal herbs. I’ve finally finished all the summer harvesting and preserving from my vegetable garden (except for all of the hot peppers which will still be going strong until our first frost in November).
I’ve also hit a calm point in the fall gardening, where the fall beds have been cleaned, prepared and planted and now I’m just…waiting, really. I love fall gardening in South Carolina. The bugs are not as much of a problem and the weeds have slowed down. So now I just get to pleasantly stroll through the fall veggie garden daily to double-check on things and root for them as they grow.
So now I turn my energies towards my beloved herbs, and I’m drying them, or making herbal salt combinations, or making homemade Italian seasoning, and lots of other fun herb projects (like herb wreaths) and other preservation methods.
By the way, I’m excited to announce to you that I recently decided to take the 2 year Intermediate Herb Course from Herbal Academy, so you can expect plenty of natural herbal remedy recipes in the upcoming months (their herbal courses are amazing and a great way to expand your herbal knowledge!).
Why I Am Making a Goldenrod Infused Honey…
I’ve never made an herbal honey before, and it has intrigued me for some time now. My closest friends and family members know that I grew up with a unique phobia of honey. This was based mainly on the fact that honey is sticky and viscous and those qualities really make me gag. Also, I despise sweet things, so yeah, that didn’t help.
But I don’t care for being labeled with a honey phobia (or any labels really), and I also love to work on my weaknesses. I love looking inward and figuring out how to improve myself. I started working on my honey phobia a few years ago, and now I can proudly work with it in small quantities. But with the windows open for air flow. And gloves on. Baby steps, I guess…
Anyway, my beloved hubby has decided to start having seasonal allergies in the last few years, and this year, he has been suffering from them continually since February.
I’ve been doing lots of research on seasonal allergy natural remedies for him, and one thing that sounded intriguing was using goldenrod (it’s also possible that local raw honey can help with seasonal allergies a little bit too). Since I’m growing goldenrod in my garden and it’s super beautiful right now, I was really excited about using it as some sort of herbal remedy.
Goldenrod Health Benefits
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is often inaccurately blamed for seasonal allergies, but that’s because it often grows near ragweed, which kinda looks like goldenrod. People often have seasonal allergies due to ragweed, and since they grow next to each other and look a bit alike, people wrongly assumed they are suffering from goldenrod.
The truth is that goldenrod can help work against the allergic reactions that people get from ragweed. Nature can be so cool with these types of situations, where the problem plant is located near the solution plant (random additional tidbit: jewelweed and poison ivy are similar: they grow near each other naturally, and jewelweed can be used to help ease the issues with poison ivy…I love nature!).
Here’s what Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care says about goldenrod”s health benefits: “[It] contains anti-inflammatory, antihistamine properties and helps thin and drain mucus while toning mucosal lining. It’s fabulous for seasonal allergies, sinus congestion, and other scenarios involving thick, cold mucus buildup, often working quickly. It can also be taken as a tonic for the respiratory and kidney systems; in both places, thanks to its astringent-aromatic actions, it helps tonify the structure while improving the quality and production of secretions.” (Body into Balance, pg. 129).
The herbalist Matthew Wood also mentions that goldenrod is “most handy for hay fever…[and] I know of no better remedy for cat allergy.” (The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 464).
Since we cannot figure out if my husband is suffering from seasonal allergies or is allergic to the new stray cats that live on our front porch, goldenrod seemed like the perfect herb to try out for his allergies.
According to the herbal monograph on goldenrod from my Herbal Academy course, there is some herbalist-debate around whether goldenrod has antihistamine properties toward seasonal allergies or it’s actually helpful because it is toning and drying the upper respiratory system.
In either way, it seems worth trying for my hubby, as part of a larger natural remedy regimen (that I might add some more articles about on this website in the future). The most important thing about herbalism is that, unlike Western medical actions, which want a ‘quick fix solution’, herbalism is about finding balance between nutrition, exercise, different herbs, etc. to help with an issue.
So this homemade goldenrod honey is only a small part of the seasonal allergy relief actions we are planning on taking. As I do more research in my Herbal Academy studies, I’ll add more articles on my discoveries and recipes.
Also quick note of the whole safety stuff: “I’m not a doctor…please do your own research first before making…be safe and smart…etc.”
Tips for Foraging and Harvesting Goldenrod
I am growing goldenrod in my garden, so I did not have to do any special identification for goldenrod before gathering it. However, if you are foraging for goldenrod, PLEASE be careful in your harvesting and foraging adventures.
Here are some rules/guidelines for foraging for medicinal plants (or any type of foraging):
#1: Don’t use a plant if you aren’t 100% confidant that it is that plant. There are TONS of varieties of Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and according to my research, they are all okay to use for herbal remedies (though some varieties have strong medicinal properties than others). However, please identify your goldenrod variety before using for safety.
#2: Make sure you are foraging in a place that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. If you aren’t foraging goldenrod on your own property, really REALLY make sure that you have permission to get it where you found it and that it hasn’t been sprayed.
#3: Never take all of the plant. That’s how ecological systems can be ruined. Take some of each plant, but leave enough of the plant to allow it to continue to thrive. I personally never take more than 40% of each plant.
When to Harvest Goldenrod:
The best time to harvest goldenrod for herbal use is when the first flowers are beginning to open. If you wait until the plant is in full-bloom, it often dries and becomes white-puff balls of seeds, which you don’t really want for your herbal recipes.
You can use both the leaves and flowers of goldenrod for many natural remedies, however, I have read the leaves are best of herbal teas, so I used the flowers instead.
How to Make Goldenrod Honey
This is the raw honey method for making herbal infused honey. This method takes longer to make, but it also keeps the benefits of raw honey, which I wanted to keep in my recipe. If you want a quicker herbal infused honey, I suggest looking up the Herbal Honey recipe in the Body into Balance book (pg. 309) or find another recipe on the internet.
- Raw Honey
- For each 1/2 cup of fresh goldenrod or 1/4 cup dried goldenrod, add approximately 2 cups of raw honey (local raw honey is best, if you can find it). NOTE: Using fresh herbs will mean more water in the recipe, which means an increased chance of spoilage or fermentation. Since I prefer to work with herbs when they are seasonally available (if possible), I like to partially dry my herbs instead. I harvested goldenrod on a dry and sunny day, and hung it up to dry in a dark closet for 4 days and then I used it. You get to decide if you want to use fresh herbs, dry herbs, or partially dried herbs.
- Chop up the goldenrod (not super-fine, just roughly chopped) in a jar. Cover the goldenrod with honey. Use a wooden chopstick or other wooden utensil to poke the honey and goldenrod to get rid of as many air bubbles as possible.
- Put the lid tightly on the jar and put it in a sunny and warm place (like a windowsill) for 4 weeks. Every few days, flip the jar. This ensures that the herbs stay covered with honey.
- You will notice that the honey gets more and more runny as the weeks progress, which is due to the liquid from the plant matter mixing with the honey.
- After 4 weeks, if the honey isn’t runny enough to easily strain, first set the sealed jar in a bowl of warm water to help get it more runny.
- Strain the honey through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean and sterilized jar and press the herbs to get out as much of the honey as possible.
- Store your strained goldenrod honey in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Throw it away if it molds.
- Do not throw away your used goldenrod! Use it to make a super sweet pot of tea or add them to a jar with vodka to make an herbal elixir (find elixir instructions somewhere online or in an herbal book).
**Don’t forget to label your jar of homemade goldenrod honey so you remember it is special (and also just in case you make other tasty herbal infused honeys).
**Use this goldenrod infused honey however you would use regular honey, like in your herbal teas or herbal infusions. You can also take it by the spoonful or drizzle it on yogurt or over homemade scones, etc.
**If you want to make this infused herbal honey shelf-stable, you can put it in a double boiler and simmer on low for a few hours to get rid of some of the water in the honey mixture and thicken it back up. After it cools, if the honey is as thick (or thicker) than normal honey, it should be shelf stable outside of the fridge for at least a year. However, keep an eye on it for signs of mold and/or fermentation and throw it away if you see that happen. This process will also reduce the benefits of raw honey, which is why I’m personally just keeping mine in the fridge.
**Live somewhere cool and/or gloomy? You can use a heating pad like you use for seed starting to keep your honey warm as it infuses. If you can, try to put the heating mat on a sunny shelf or windowsill (to continue using the sun in a traditional manner).
More Awesome DIY Herbal Recipes:
- Homemade Queen of Hungary Facial Toner Recipe
- How to Make Rose Water
- Homemade Herbs de Provence Herb Salt Recipe
- Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe
- Garden-Inspired Italian Seasoning Recipe