New Brunswick

Goldenrod not responsible for your seasonal allergies

Most people dismiss it as an allergy causing weed, but turns out goldenrod is delicious and doesn't make your eyes water.

Brightly coloured flowers make a nice tea and it even combats allergies

Butterflies gather on goldenrod on the north side of Lake Ontario at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto in early September before heading south on their long migration to Mexico. ((Bruce Reeve/CBC))

You may be surprised to learn that a certain brightly coloured plant isn't the source of your allergies, but it will make a tasty tea.

Goldenrod can be found in fields across the Maritimes. It can grow as tall as five feet and is covered in bunches of bright yellow-gold flowers.

"Its pollen is too heavy to be blown in the wind. It's pollinated by insects," said Greg Osowski who discovers wild edibles at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute.

He says most people are allergic to ragweed, which grows in the same location as a lot of goldenrod.

"Its pollen is airborne …so we can stop vilifying goldenrod," said Ososwki.

The plant is in full bloom now and can be used in a number of useful ways.

"I do make a tea from the leaves and the flowers. It's a very pleasant tea, especially if you like the black liquorice flavour," said Osowski

He says the flower has a strong anise flavour and scent.

Wild edibles guy Greg Osowski says goldenrod isn't the allergen many think it is, and it makes a great tea! 8:35

"I take a leaf and I'll crush it in my fingers. If it has a strong anise flavour, then that's gonna be a good one," said Osowski.

The goldenrod leaves can be used fresh or be dried out to use throughout the winter.

The plant also works well combating allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes and itchy throat.

"Immerse the plant in alcohol, strain off the plant material and use the extract of that. You take a few dropper fulls… it relieves those symptoms," said Osowski.

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