First, a little more about the plant. Yes, it is indeed related to ragweed - they are both members of the Aster family. But did you know that chicory, dandelion, blessed thistle, black-eyed-susan, coneflowers, arnica, sunflowers, Jerusalem artichoke, yarrow, daisy, feverfew, and chamomile are ALSO in the Aster family? It is of course possible to be allergic to Goldenrod just like you can be allergic to almost anything, including other members of the Aster family. The pollen produced by Goldenrod is too heavy to be carried by the wind though, and so usually people are reacting to ragweed pollen, which grows nearby, and is wind-borne. While I tend to use mostly the flowerheads for muscle mending salve, all parts of the Goldenrod plant have been used historically by Canada's Native people for a wide variety of ailments. "Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada" by Lone Pine Press is a fantastic book if you want to learn more. But for today, let's get on with making a flower-infused oil.
Step2: Cut the goldenrod into roughly inch-length pieces. The smaller you cut it the more efficiently it will infuse into the oil. Sometimes you just get bored of cutting. That's ok. For our purposes, we don't need the leaves or stems so they can go into compost when you're done.
Step 3: Place the chopped flowers into a sterilized mason jar. Sterilizing your jar first isn't strictly necessary according to everyone, but again, it reduces your chance of the infusion being ruined by mold. To sterilize your jar wash it well in hot soapy water, then pour boiling water over it and allow it to dry. The weather turned damp while I was picking so my jar is only half full in the picture, but I'll be topping it up with more goldenrod today. It's best to fill your jar completely as this helps prevent condensation from forming and causing mold.
Step 4: Cover the chopped flowers with a good quality organic vegetable oil, then put a sterilized lid on the jar. I prefer something light and relatively non-greasy like grapeseed oil in this preparation because it's massaged into the skin, but generally olive oil or sunflower oil are your best choices as they resist turning rancid longer. It is important to make sure all the plant material is covered by oil, as any flowers that are exposed to the air in the jar face the risk of mold. If there is space in the jar between the oil & the lid, and you have the jar in a sunny place, then condensation can create problems. If you fill the jar right to the brim with oil then you reduce the chance of that problem occurring. I haven't had mold ruin a jar of herbal oil yet, but I know its possible.
If you prefer though, you can put the jar inside a paper bag or in a dark/shady place to infuse. Do what feels right to you.
How to turn infused oils into salves, and links to the places where I get my supplies.
P.S. In a hurry? You can do this in a double boiler over VERY low heat on your stovetop in 2--3 hours, or in a waterbath in your crockpot.
P.S.#2 Like the sound of this but don't want to make it yourself? Check out my Muscle Mend Salve on the Products page.