- Family Liliaceae
- Polygonatum multiflorum
- Dropberry, Lady’s Seals, Sealroot, Sealwort, St. Mary’s Seal
- Do not take internally unless under professional advice.
- Do not use the aerial parts, including the berries, as these are harmful.
Native to Europe, the Near East, eastern Asia, the Himalayas, Siberia and North America, Solomon’s Seal is now quite rare in the wild, but is a common ornamental garden plant. It is a perennial, growing to about twenty inches with arching tems, alternating elliptical leaves, delicate greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers, and blue-black fruits. The rhizome is collected during the dormant period of autumn or spring.
In China, the herb’s first recorded use goes back to the Divine Husbandman’s Classic (Shen’nong Bencaojing) of the 1st century CE.
In Western herbal medicine, it has been used since at least classical times.
It was described by Dioscorides, Pliny, and Galen, as well as Gerard who, in 1597, explained its name. “The root is white and thicke, full of knobs or joints, in some places resembling the mark of a seale, whereof I think it tooke the name Sigillum Solomonis”.
In North America, the plant was known to various Native American tribes. The Penobscot used it as part of a formula for treating gonorrhea.
- emetic (induces vomiting)
- repairs tissues
- saponins (similar to diosgenin)
- vitamin A
- Roots and rhizomes
- Allantoin has healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Used as a tonic, it also works to relieve and soothe upset stomachs.
It prevents excessive bruising and stimulates tissue repair when applied as a poultice.
It is also recommended as a treatment for tuberculosis and menstrual problems.
In Chinese medicine, it is considered a yin tonic and thought to be particularly applicable to problems affecting the respiratory system, including sore throats, dry and irritable coughs, bronchial congestion, and chest pain.
A related species, the Angular or Scented Solomon’s seal (P. odoratum) is used in much the same way.