Monday, March 28, 2011

Golden rod

Solidago canadensis

My Golden rod has been growing in the same corner of the garden for about 15 years. Without much attention or water, it puts on a beautiful display every year. It also times its blooming with the first rains of autumn after the long drought of summer. Usually it blooms before the rain, but sometimes the rain is first. This year it has been blooming for a while and today I harvested it while it is at its peak. Tomorrow rain is forcast.

Some has gone into a vase, and some is left to dry for herbal tea. One lot is tinctured fresh - picked, stripped and put into a 2 litre jar with alcohol, all in the space of an hour. This way I get the best quality tincture. Finally some is left for the bees because they love it. But I must admit, there were not so many today when I picked. Usually they buzz around me, and stay on the picked blossoms. I hope they were busy elsewhere - not fewer in numbers.

Golden rod belongs to the daisy family Asteraceae. If one looks closely at the flowers they are made up of clusters of miniature daisies. The flowers are rich in flavonoids (flavus = yellow) and are good for the vascular system in strengthening blood vessels. This is helpful for allergies, as capillary stability and strength are important in protecting against allergens. It is also an excellent herb for varicose veins when taken regularly.

The main medicinal use of golden rod is as an anti-catarrhal and diuretic. It is a peculiar coincidence of the herbal pharmacy that many herbs which are beneficial to the chest are also beneficial to the urinary system. This dual benefit can be very useful when a chest infection occurs as the kidneys are automatically disinfected by the herb that is used for the cough, and in turn the kidneys can play a role in ridding the body of fluid accumulated in the lungs. Golden rod directly increases renal function and can be used in cases of nephritis, but only by an experienced practitioner.

Solidago canadensis with Leonotis leonurus

Golden rod is an old traditional medicine for the kidneys and is used for kidney gravel and inflammation. It can also be used for cystitis. Traditionally Solidago virgaurea was the herb used, but canadensis has been shown to have even superior medicinal properties. It's hardy, beautiful and medicinal - nature's gift to us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rather healthy, scrumptious rustic cookies.

These cookies are "rustic" because I'm too lazy to roll out the dough and cut them with a cookie cutter. The photo shows the latest batch which I made after discovering that I had no more sesame seeds. Hence the lack of seeds in them. :)


500g stone ground brown flour
200g butter
1/4 cup olive oil
200g organic brown sugar
100g honey
50g coconut
50g oats
50g sesame seeds
100g ground or finely chopped almonds
pinch sea salt
1 free range egg


Rub the butter into the flour until it is finely dispersed. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally add the honey, olive oil, egg and a little milk to make a stiff moist dough that holds together well. Break off tablespoon sized bits, roll into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Press them flat with a fork.

Bake in a hot oven 200 deg for 25 minutes or until pale golden brown. My oven is very large and not super hot so 200 deg in a smaller oven might be a bit too hot. Be careful!

Yummy. These cookies are high in fibre, protein rich and low in saturated fat. They are nutritious for growing kids and ideal for the lunchbox as a healthy treat.