The common woodland plant, Solomon’s Seal, has provided health benefits to users worldwide for thousands of years. Gardeners typically enjoy the many varieties available as striking ground covers (it is in the vast Lily family). However, there is one — true Solomon’s Seal — that is esteemed for its health restorative abilities. The root/rhizome of the polygonatum biflorum, multiflorum, odoratum, or siberian varieties of the herb is native to most of the eastern and mid-western United States, as well as Asia and Europe. Additionally, it is a highly valued herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Although Solomon’s Seal has been widely used and praised worldwide for over 3500 years (named by King Solomon of lore!), American herbalists and users of natural remedies have only recently discovered its effectiveness for a variety of ailments.
Well-known herbalist Mathew Wood, author of The Book of Herbal Wisdom, deserves credit for bringing this remedy into the public eye in North America, although Native Cultures have used it for centuries. “I have finally come to view Solomon’s Seal,” he writes, “as the single most reliable, useful and foolproof remedy that I have ever come across.”
Over 12 years ago, we at Cortesia Herbal Products began making organic remedies featuring Solomon’s Seal as the foundation herb. We carefully researched other herbs that complement it and began creating formulated tinctures and topicals. The reason for our interest in Solomon’s Seal was actually personal: our family had injuries and health conditions that needed fixing.
I want to share seven health benefits that we have learned Solomon’s Seal may provide. These benefits are supported by feedback from many satisfied customers, our own family and friends, and history.
A word of herbal caution: Solomon’s Seal, or any herb for that matter, is not a magical “cure bullet.” Rather, an herb is best described as a catalyst evoking and supporting a natural immune response to an injury or health condition. The body assimilates the phytonutrients of the plant to support immune system health in order to work on symptoms and cause.
Health Benefit 1: Solomon’s Seal and Joint Health
Moisture is critical to overall health, especially joints and their buffering membranes (synovial and bursae) that need flexibility and constant fluid regeneration. As we age, we need a lot more water to help keep our skeletal system healthy, flush out toxins and cellular debris, and to ingest needed oxygen for cellular regeneration.
Solomon’s Seal is well known in TCM as a demulcent having mucilaginous qualities that soothe, cool and moisten. The polysaccharides in this herb are very nourishing to joints. If you are very active, or are dealing with joint issues, you may expect to experience more flexibility and range of motion with little or no bothersome clicking or stiffness. Similarly, synovial and bursa buffering membranes between joints are also nourished and replenished. This is helpful for bursitis.
Most muscular-skeletal issues have to do with tendons and ligaments — the belts and pulleys between bones and muscles that affect posture and gait. First, all connective tissues need moisture, and for good reason as noted above. Second, our tendons and ligaments are in constant need of tension regulation so that they are not too tight or loose, both of which cause injury.
Solomon’s Seal appears to work very well with moisture to create an ongoing “assessment” of tendon and ligament tensions. For example, it may cue the body to loosen stiffness of tissue tensions in joints (customers especially report support for hands, shoulder, knees, ankles), or even tighten if necessary. When teamed with the herb, Horsetail, the benefits seem more substantial.
Solomon’s Seal contains a natural anti-inflammatory nutrient called Allantoin. Allantoin is a chemical compound naturally produced by many organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria. It is a frequent ingredient in lotions, skin creams, dermatological medications, oral hygiene products, cosmetics, and other toiletries. It is effective at very low concentrations, usually from 0.1% to 2%).
The known qualities of Allantoin in Solomon’s Seal suggests, as people have reported, that it eases pain, calms nerves, reduces inflammation, and may provide better sleep as a consequence. This makes it useful for recent injuries, sprains, bruises, bursa health, nervousness, irritation, and women’s reproductive health.
Solomon’s Seal is known to have a mild regulating effect on the heart muscle because it contains small, safe amounts of the substance convallarin, a cardio glycoside. Although this is a potent chemical constituent, it seems to be in insufficient quantity to be of concern or use. The National Institutes of Health is currently researching Solomon’s Seal’s effectiveness as a heart tonic and blood pressure regulator.
If you are pregnant, have low blood pressure, or are on heart medication, it is not recommended that you use Solomon’s Seal without consulting your doctor.
One of the most historically cited uses of Solomon’s Seal is for women’s health. Its mucilaginous qualities are excellent for reproductive health and supports menstruation. Its vulnerary features make it calming for PMS and during menopause. It may also regulate bleeding, as women report. Taking it as a tincture or tonic is excellent for these conditions.
Skin health is another often reported benefit of using Solomon’s Seal, especially in a lotion or salve. Women worldwide have used it for blemishes, bruises, and overall skin health. Its use as a tonic is not only beneficial for the skin, but also helps soothe the GI tract.
Immune system health is at the heart of wellness today. It is both a personal and environmental concern for overall health. An herbal adaptogenic, like Solomon’s Seal, appears to help the body adapt to internal issues (injuries to bones, connective tissues, joints, etc.) and environmental stresses by helping to strengthen the immune system. When teamed up with complementary herbs like Agrimony or Vervain or Horsetail, the benefits accrue.
The nourishing qualities of Solomon’s Seal appear benign yet stimulating to the immune system, and in turn throughout the body. Putting tincture drops into a quart bottle of water to sip throughout the day is an excellent mild tonic to support the immune system.
During healing, it is important to create a strategy around removing toxins and cellular waste from the body. Besides good daily exercise, we have to find other ways to bring in the two critical healing components: oxygen and water.
Solomon’s Seal, like many herbs, makes an excellent mild tonic. It increases the secretion, flow, and expulsion of urine (but not so much at a time!). It promotes the formation of urine by the kidney and may aid in flushing the body of toxins and excess water, and breaking down fat.
Historically, Solomon’s Seal is also known as an expectorant. It promotes the discharge of mucus and phlegm from the lungs and throat by means of spitting or coughing. It also reduces irritation in such organs because of its mucilaginous qualities. In TCM, when used as a traditional yin tonic for the body’s mucous membranes, Solomon’s Seal moistens and provides energy (chi or qi) to the lungs, improving breathing and oxygenation to the blood. Better lung function leads to more abundant metabolic energy.
Solomon’s Seal makes a very good tincture, salve, liniment and tea. The tea, made from ground root, gives the very best mucilaginous benefits and supports respiratory and GI tract health. A salve has deep penetrating qualities, while a liniment offers quick relief from discomfort and stiffness.
The most diverse benefits of Solomon’s Seal are from a tincture, or in a formulation with other herbs. A typical dose might be 5-10 drops or more, taken 1-3 times daily. Tinctures are effective because the medicinal qualities of the plant are extracted and preserved by alcohol. In addition, tinctures are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system, thereby moving quickly to body systems.
If you use Solomon’s Seal, tell us how you may have benefited. We’d love to hear from you.