I first read about goldenrod oil at Witchen Kitchen and at Medicine Woman's Roots. Both of these excellent herbalists/wise women mentioned that goldenrod oil was good for achy muscles among other things. Since I have a bad shoulder (chronic) and nowadays a muscle spasm in my back when standing at the sink cleaning plants, and Michael has a carpal tunnel thumb problem from shelling zillions of beans, I decided to make some myself. That, of course, was earlier in the year, back in August/September when the goldenrod was goldening heartily.
Here's what Tammy of Witchen Kitchen has to say about it:
In addition to its use as a bath oil, I have also found Goldenrod oil to be a wonderful oil for working out tight, spasmed muscles and relieving pain. My neck tends to spasm from an old whiplash injury, so when it starts cramping really bad, giving me a headache, I just rub the oil deeply into the tissues and I am usually pain free soon after. And the pain doesn’t return for a long while. The drops of oil in the bath water just enhance this relaxing, pain-relieving effect all through the body.
And Kiva Rose of Medicine Woman's Roots:
Another resoundingly effective treatment has been with Goldenrod liniment/oil for muscular cramps. This has a wide range of external uses, from eyelid twitches to severe uterine cramps to separated muscles. I make a pain liniment with Goldenrod and Cottonwood/Poplar as primary ingredients that’s so effective and popular with clients that I can hardly keep it stocked . Again, take note, these are incredibly common plants that are easily used by anyone.
So I went out and collected goldenrod flowers, enough to make about a pint of the oil. Making an infused oil is easy. Place the flowers (or plant or root) into a clean, sterilized mason jar. Pour extra virgin olive oil over it to cover it thoroughly. Make sure you get all the air bubbles out by mixing up the plant and oil with a wooden spoon or something. Cap it and you're done.
For the goldenrod oil, I put the jar in the sun and let it work for 6 weeks, enough time for the oil to absorb the flower's properties. Then strain it carefully through a sieve and cheesecloth, and voila, goldenrod oil.
The first time I had Michael rub it on my spasming back, I was surprised--it worked! It stopped the spasm right away. From an awful pain to feeling good in seconds. Honestly, I never expected anything to work so fast. Then I put it on Michael's thumb and he said it felt better. We've been doing this daily, or whenever my back spasms and it seems to both of us to be pretty effective.
A friend was over last Friday, and he had a sore knuckle from the cold rainy weather. I told him I didn't know if it would work since it was more for muscles, and sure enough, it didn't work, at least not right away. About 15 minutes later, though, he told me it was better. The pain was not completely gone, but better. Hey, it's an herb, growing wild and free to me, so I'll settle for better! I gave him some to take home, as he said his wife has neck muscles soreness.
The constituents of goldenrod are as follows: Flavonoids, including kaempferol, rhamnetin, quercetin, quercitrin, astragalin, and afzetin; also saponins, essential oil, germacrene, pinene, limonene, hydoxycinnamic acid, caffeic acid, and tannins.
I don't know what all those things are, but some of them must be good, for this oil works for us. In an email with Tammy she mentioned mixing yarrow oil with the goldenrod oil, that the two oils work together and improve the resulting oil. Excellent! I'll make some goldenrod/yarrow oil next season.
Using the plants, hell, the "weeds" growing all around you is easy. All it takes is a bit of effort to learn the plants and what they are and do. Making your own simple medicines is also easy and cheap as the plants are readily available most of the year. Give it a try.