- Polygonatum multiflorum L.
- Polygonatum biflorum L.
- Polygonatum officinale L.
- Polygonatum commutatum
- Lily family
shou wu (Chinese name)
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Solomon's seal is a perennial plant; the thick, horizontal, scarred
rootstock produces 1 or 2 erect stems, 1-3 feet high, whose lower
half is naked and upper half leafy. The alternate, elliptic to ovate
leaves are green with a whitish bloom underneath. 2 to 5 or more greenish-white,
bell-shaped flowers hang from the leaf axils from April to August.
The fruit is a blue or blue-black berry.
Another variety: Other species of Solomon's seal have similar
properties. A European variety (P. odoratum) contains a substance
that lowers the level of blood sugar. This variety has long been used
in the Orient for diabetes
and is included in many tea mixtures designed to lower blood sugar.
Grows in rich woods and thickets in eastern North America, Europe,
and Asia. Connecticut to Florida; Texas, Nebraska to Michigan.
Antispasmodic, antibacterial, aphrodisiac, astringent, demulcent,
emetic, expectorant, hemostatic, nutritive tonic
Convallarin, aspargin, gum, sugar, starch, pectin
Legends, Myths and Stories
Solomon's seal was so called probably from starlike markings on the
rootstock, supposedly reminding us of the Star of David.
Another herb (Smilacina amplexicaulis) is known as Solomon's seal.
Paiute name "Shapui"; Shoshone name "Roy"; The tea from roots for
female trouble and internal pains.
Solomon's seal is reported to take away, in 1 or 2 nights, bruises,
black eyes, burning heat of wounds, etc. Also, it will strengthen
gums and fasten loosened teeth.
Mainly for external problems. Makes a good poultice for bruises,
and wounds and a good wash
for skin problems, acne, freckles,
and blemishes. Has been used as a wash to relieve poison-ivy.
Native Americans made a tea of the rootstock to take for women's complaints,
indigestion, general debility,
infertility, diabetes, consumption,
dry cough, dehydration, malnutrition, broken bones, promote
sound sleep, treat coughs, menopause,
laxative, lung ailments,
and general internal pains. The fresh root was poulticed, or root
tea used externally as a wash, for cuts, bruises, sores, carbuncles,
and skin irritations.
In Western herbalism it is said to be given to promote healing of
broken bones. In Ayurveda it is a kidney tonic and thought to build
reproductive secretions. In modern China it is an important herb in
treating cardiac diseases, and is thought to be a strong heart tonic.
Formulas or Dosages
Tea: steep 1 oz. of the cut herb in 1 cup of hot water.