Solomons Seal Polygonatum biflorum

Polygonatum biflorum
Solomon's Seal root
  • Common Names
  • Solomon's Seal
  • Botanical Name
  • Polygonatum biflorum
  • Syn. P. odoratum
  • Family
  • Ruscaceae

Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Solomon's Seal

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How to Use: Solomons Seal

Polygonatum has been used medicinally by many diverse folk traditions. Polygonatum has been used by Native American healers and in ancient Chinese medicine in lung, stomach and skin complaints.

Preparation Methods & Dosage :The root is used to make teas, extracts and is also found in capsule form. Usually used in conjunction with other herbs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine traditional Chinese medicine

The leaves of Polygonatum resemble bamboo leaves, and the plant is known in the Chinese language as "jade bamboo,". It is a common plant in the mountains of northern China. The Chinese use the root of several polygonatum species as a cooling, demulcent, sedative, antiperiodic ( preventing the periodic return of attacks of disease, as of certain fevers, esp. malaria) and tonic. It was used to treat lung complaints, influenza, rheumatism and many other conditions.3

Solomons Seal Side Effects: Avoid when there is nervous stomach or other digestive disorders. The berries contain an anthraquinone that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

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Plant Description

“From a many-jointed, thick rootstock a single graceful curved stem arises each spring, withers after fruiting, and leaves a round scar, whose outlines suggested to the fanciful man who named the genus the seal of Israel's wise king. Thus one may know the age of a root by its seals, as one tells that of a tree by rings in its trunk.” Netje Blanchan.Wild Flowers worth Knowing (1917)

  • Flowers/Fruit/Seeds:Small,Whitish or yellowish-green, tubular, bell-shaped flowers droop on slender peduncles from the leaf axils.
  • Plant Class: Perennial herb
  • Rhizome: Long, knotty, creeping, occasionally branched, thick rhizome is the part used in herbal medicine.
  • Leaves:Oval, pointed or lance-shaped, pale-beneath and softly hairy along veins
  • Preferred Habitat:Woods, thickets, shady banks
  • Flowering Season:April to June
  • Distribution: Temperate regions of North America and Eurasia, especially China and Japan

Regional Traditions :North America * Traditional Chinese Medicine *

History and Traditions & Folklore

Young shoots and leaves can be boiled and eaten like asparagus, while the rhizomes reportedly have been dried and ground into flour or boiled and eaten like potatoes. Numerous eastern North American tribes, including the Cherokee, Chippewa, Iroquois, and Menominee, used plants of the genus as an analgesic or stimulant, or as a dermatological, cathartic, gynecological, and gastrointestinal aid (D. E. Moerman 1986).1

The arching stems and fine foliage of Polygonatum add interest and focus to woodland shade gardens. Polygonia biflorum is native to North America and a member of the Ruscaceae family(formerly classified in the lily family, and is a close relative to the Lily-of-the-Valley.

In addition to the native species, the Eurasian P. odoratum (Miller) Druce and the hybrid, P. ×hybridum Brügger (P. multiflorum × P. odoratum), are commonly cultivated. The European P. multiflorum (Linnaeus) Allioni has been reported as locally naturalized in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec (B. Boivin 1967c). 1

: Saturn owns the plant, for he loves his bones well. The root of Solomon's Seal is found by experience to be available in wounds, hurts, and outward sores, to heal and close up the lips of those that are green, and to dry up and restrain the flux of humours to those that are old. It is singularly good to stay vomitings and bleeding wheresoever, as also all fluxes in man or woman; also, to knit any joint, which by weakness uses to be often out of place, or will not stay in long when it is set; also to knit and join broken bones in any part of the body, the roots being bruised and applied to the places; yea, it hath been found by experience, and the decoction of the root in wine, or the bruised root put into wine or other drink, and after a night's infusion, strained forth hard and drank, hath helped both man and beast, whose bones hath been broken by any occasion, which is the most assured refuge of help to people of divers counties of the land that they can have. It is no less effectual to help ruptures and burstings, the decoction in wine, or the powder in broth or drink, being inwardly taken, and outwardly applied to the place
Nicholas Culpeper, 1653

books citedWorks Cited
  1. Flora of North America
  2. Netje Blanchan.Wild Flowers worth Knowing (1917)
  3. Li Shih-Chen (Translated by F.Porter Smith & G.A. Stuart, M.D.Dover 1973) Chinese Medicinal Herbs (1578)