At least one person commented on my Flowery Friday post about an allergy to Goldenrod. Sorry to disappoint you, but it is highly unlikely that you are allergic to Goldenrod… at least to the pollen! Here’s why:
Goldenrod pollen is sticky and heavy. Goldenrod relies on pollinators to move the pollen around. Take a trip to a Goldenrod Jungle and just count the number of critters you find on it! In order for you to get Goldenrod pollen up your nose to cause an allergic reaction, well… let’s just say… you’d have to work pretty hard. (Check out all the pollinators on Montucky’s Goldenrod by clicking here.)
In fact, Goldenrod is listed in several sources as an herbal medicine. Crushed flowers have been chewed to relieve sore throat. A tea made from dried leaves has been used to combat urinary tract troubles and kidney stones.
This is not to say that no one is allergic to Goldenrod. Some people seem to have a dermatitis reaction when the plant juices get on their skin, for example.
Most people who think they are allergic to Goldenrod are actually having a reaction to another plant whose pollen is so lightweight that it can rely on the wind for pollination. Indeed, it doesn’t bother with brightly colored flowers or pleasant fragrance to attract anyone. It just sits in the open, waiting for a breeze.
According to Peterson’s Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs, plants in the Ambrosia genus account for 90% of pollen allergies! Still, Common Ragweed is listed as a medicinal. For example, the pollen is collected to make treatments for ragweed allergies. Plenty of other uses are listed as well… my favorite: “American Indians rubbed leaves on insect bites, infected toes, minor skin erruptions, and hives.” I’ll have to try that next time I get a mosquito bite! But can I pick a leaf without releasing pollen into my nose? Hmm…