solomonsseal large Solomons seal

Solomons seal | Polygonatum odoratum/multiflorum/biflorum/sibiricum

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include Solomons seal, True Solomons seal, Yo Zhu in Chinese medicine, Davids harp, ladder to heaven. Not to be confused with Polygonum multiflorum (Fo Ti or He Shou Wu, known as fleeceflower root) a vine like form of Chinese knotweed.
Polygonatum multiflorum is the common UK variety, as is odoratum which is often referred to as 'Angular' or 'scented' Solomons seal' whereas biflorum is often called 'Smooth' or 'Small' Solomons seal. P. sibiricum is native to north east Asia. For clarity, we are specifically discussing Polygonum odoratum here as this is the variety I am familiar with and the variety for sale in our shop but really all three varieties can be used, the most common in use in the West being multiflorum and odoratum.
The Solomons seals are now classified as members of the Asparagus (Asparagaceae) family but have in the past been placed in the Lily family, where they seem to be a more natural fit.
Solomons seal plants are herbaceous perennials (die back each winter) native to the UK and temperate North America and Eurasia. Odoratum can be seen in lime rich woodland soils and even natural limestone pavements whereas multiflorum grows best in shady, moist, rich soil, on woodland edges. The emerging shoots resemble asparagus shoots which go on to produce tall arching stems, up to 2 feet tall, with pairs or clusters of white bell shaped flowers along its upper portions which hang down from the stems. The paired leaves rise upwards from the arching stems. The flowers appear in mid Spring and last for quite a few weeks. Berries follow on in Summer, turning deep black as they ripen and mature. The roots are the parts used medicinally.
 
They are long lived perennials and will spread with ease once established forming a beautiful patch, rich in nectar and loved by many bees.
  
Solomons seal root tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

Do not harvest from the wild in the UK as it is quite rare. Grow a patch in your garden or buy the dried root from a reputable supplier of medicinal plants.
The rhizome (root) is the part used medicinally and, if careful, it is possible to harvest some root without killing the plant. Roots generally are harvested for medicine either in Spring, just as new growth emerges or in Autumn when the plant is dying back for winter. The white rhizome has nodes along it which denote how many years growth the plant has and can tell you the age of the plant. Scrape away the soil from the base of the plant until you find the white rhizome, expose the full length of the root. Break off a piece from the furthest end, leaving the rest of the root where the leaves come from to grow on. Aim to leave at least 3-4 nodes worth of growing root untouched. Cover over the remaining rhizome and repeat harvesting with a different plant if needed.
 
The rhizome can then be cut into pieces and dried and stored for future use or be used fresh. Macerate the dried root for several days in oil to create a useful external rub for inflamed joints, tight or loose ligaments, broken bones and strains, skin moisturising etc.
 
The fresh green shoots emerging in Spring can be eaten as a tonic or occasional treat as the Taoists monks have been known to do, steam lightly in the same way you would asparagus.

Solomons seal root tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.

 


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Solomons seal has been valued as a healing plant for many centuries and gains its name from King Solomon who is said to have bestowed his magical and protective 'seal' on the roots in honour of its prized medicinal status. In general it is considered a sweet, moistening tonic remedy.

The rhizome is rich in mucilage, a gelatinous polsaccharide that coats, soothes and heals the tissues and membranes of the body. Cold infusions extract more mucilage than any other form of preparation of the herb, simply infuse the dried root in water overnight. This mucilage rich and soothing herb can be applied to inflammations in the lungs, kidneys joints and digestive tract. Its main actions are a restorative and regenerating action on all body tissue, moisturising and lubricating, nourishing tonic herb.

One of its keywords would be 'Flexibility', it promotes free movement throughout the whole body and works to break down stiffness, inflammation and creaky, abrasive, painful joint movements.

 

Solomons Seal is perhaps mostly associated with healing and correcting any problems relating to connective tissues be it muscles, ligamnets, tendons, or bones, joints and cartilage. It can heal fractures and broken bones, tightens or loosens connective tissues and dislocations as needed, helps give healing to spinal issues, spondylosis,  sprains and strains, structural anomalies relating to displacement of bones, joints etc. Tendonitis, repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, synovial joints, plantar fasciitis and problems with the structure of the feet like fallen arches,  prolapse of organs or structures. Excellent against osteoporosis as it both inhibits and reverses bone loss.

 

The roots will lower blood sugar and can therefore be used in diabetes and hyperglycaemia as mentioned here. It can also reduce damage to the eyes, kidneys and gut bacteria dysbiosis (more harmful, less beneficial bacteria) associated with advanced diabetes.

 

Lowers blood lipids and blood cholesterol and can lead to weight loss in obesity. It reduces weight gain, even when eating a high fat diet.

 

Solomons Seal is a useful heart tonic, the plant contains cardiac glycosides, similar in action to Lily of the Valley (Convallaria) but weaker and with less dangerous side effects. It is also an anticoagulant and promotes free flowing movement of the blood. When combined with hawthorn it can help to relieve tension on the physical and emotional heart. It can reduce blood pressure especiallly when due to tension.

It can be very useful to both prevent and reverse the effects of atherosclerosis, it helps to break down endothelial plaques and prevent the delicate cells lining the blood vessels from being damaged. Endothelial cell damage causes the formation of plaques on the blood vessel inner linings and leads to their stiffening. Stiff blood vessels are not healthy blood vessels.

 

Female and male reproductive tonic. It has been used for centuries to strengthen reproductive functions in both men and women, it invigorates, strengthens and lubricates sexual organs and can help increase fertility.

 

It also shows prominent anti-cancer activity. It induces cell death in non-small cell lung cancer, lung adenocarcinoma, liver cancer, melanoma, breast cancer,  as cited in these many research papers here.

 

Solomons seal has a strong immunomodulatory action. Its rich polysaccharide content enhances multiple immune responses such as killer cells, tumour destroying mechanisms, reducing inflammation.

 

Solomons seal root has a potent antioxidant action.

 

It increases the beneficial bacteria in the gut which is a key component in good health generally and in the avoidance of many disease conditions. Not only does it enhance species richness and improve the gut microbiota community structure, it reduces the number of more harmful gut bacteria such as Clostridium, Enterococcus, Coprobacillus, Lactococcus, and Sutterella. It somehow increases the production of short chain fatty acids which are greatly important to digestive health (therefore overall health) and the production of energy from ingested foods.

 

Solomons Seal is deeply moisturising to all tissues of the body, lubricating dry and painful sinusitis, moisturises the lungs and soothes dry or unproductive coughs, restoring fluids and flexibility to dry and atrophied tissues.

It restores vitality to the Kidneys and the water element throughout the body and cools the fire of an overactive or overworked liver.

Its action on the spleen is very useful, alleviating fatigue, promoting fluid balance and invigorating the Qi life force. Its action on the spleen means it can help regulate digestion and ensure normal and healthy blood and fluid viscosity and movement throughout the body.

Also a great thirst quencher.

It can cool the temper, soothe the nerves and ease anxiety and overthinking,

P. sibericum has been investigated for its cosmetic and therapeutic actions on the skin, it has positive effects such as reducing wrinkles and moisturising. The Chinese use it for 'moistening dryness' in any part of the body.The dried powdered or crushed root can be macerated into a light oil and used externally.

 

Solomons seal is neuroprotective and has shown great promise in Alzheimers and other dementia type disorders. It is also a good tension reliever for nervous excitement and stress, promoting a calmer state of mind.

 

Here is a beautifully written deep dive into all things relating to Solomons Seal as a medicine.

Another deeply insightful and informative article concerning the deep magical healing of Solomons Seal.

 

Here is a Pubmed article detailing many of the medicinal properties of the Polygonatum plants.

 

    

 

 
 

dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Use with caution in diabetes or hypoglycaemia due to potential blood sugar lowering effects.

* Avoid during pregnancy and breast feeding.

* Side effects of large doses can include digestive upset and nausea.

* Be mindful of its mild cardioactive actions, check for possible interactions with other heart medications.

 * Many sources suggest to avoid long term use and use the smallest dose possible to gain positive results. General advice is to use for no more than a week or two without a break of a few days before resuming again, if needed. Other herbalists who use it regularly do not have such reservations and use it daily for up to 3 months at a time for acute cases or more sporadically for chronic, long standing conditions. It is even consumed as a vegetable in Northern Thailand.

 
 
 
Adult 

Tincture: 7 drops in water up to 3 times daily. 30 drops daily can be used as a maximum dose but this is rarely needed.

Dried herb: 1/2 teaspoon of dried root per cup, up to 3 cups daily.

 

Children

Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.

 

 
 
 
 
 

Child watering plants

 

 

 

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