Every year a new stem grows from the rhizome of Solomon’s seal plant, and when it dries and disappears in winter, it leaves a mark, as if it were a seal. After some years, the rhizome presents a series of marks or seals with a peculiar appearance. Hence, this plant was given the name of Solomon’s seal in ancient times. The Greek physician, pharmacist, botanist, and author Pedanius Dioscorides, in the 1st century B.C., already recommended it to activate wound healing.
Solomon’s Seal Scientific Facts
- Other names: Polygonatum Officinale Dest, dropberry, sealroot, sealwort.
- French: Sceau de Salomon.
- Spanish: Sello de Salomon.
- Environment: Woods, especially those of oak trees, and dry, calcareous soils all over Europe.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Liliaceae family, from whose rhizome (underground stem), white in color, an upright stem grows every year, bearing large oval-shaped leaves. After this stem dries, the rhizome presents a round mark similar to a ring (seal).
- Part of plant used medicinally: The rhizome.
Healing Properties and Warning
The rhizome contains starch, mucilage (with emollient and anti-inflammatory properties), tannin (with astringent and healing properties), saponins (which have diuretic, expectorant, and laxative properties), and glycoquinine, a substance that acts as a hypoglycemic. Therefore, this plant is used in the following cases:
- As a diuretic and hypoglycemic plant, internally used, it has been employed as a diuretic and to treat diabetes as a compliment.
- For skin afflictions and as a cosmetic. Externally applied in poultices or compresses, it renders good results for bruises and diverse skin afflictions (abscesses, furuncles, etc.) It is a valuable cosmetic, being used to make the face skin more beautiful and smooth.
WARNING! Never exceed the dose of rhizome when internally used. The berries and the leaves are highly poisonous.
How to use Solomon’s Seal
- Decoction with 15-20g of rhizome per liter of water. Drink three cups daily.
- Compresses soaked in a decoction more concentrated (80-100g) than that internally used.
- Poultices with the rhizome, mashed.
American Solomon’s seal: In the Eastern half of North America, there is a similar species to the European Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum multiflorum L., or American Solomon’s seal. Both species have the same properties and applications.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 723. Print.