Botanical Name : Polygonatum multiflorum
Species: P. multiflorum
Synonyms : Convallaria ambigua. Convallaria bracteata. Convallaria broteroi
Common Names: Solomon’s seal, David’s harp, Ladder-to-heaven, Eurasian Solomon’s seal
Habitat: Polygonatum multiflorum is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, and temperate Asia to Japan. It grows in woodland, usually on limestone.
Polygonatum multiflorum is a rhizomatous perennial plant, growing to 90 cm (35 in) tall by 25 cm (10 in) broad, with arching stems of alternate leaves, and slightly necked, pendent tubular white flowers with green tips, hanging from the undersides of the stems. It is valued in cultivation for its ability to colonise shady areas, and is suitable for a woodland style planting. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.
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Prefers a fertile humus rich moisture retentive well-drained soil in cool shade or semi-shade. Succeeds in dry shade if the soil is rich in humus. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are intolerant of heat and drought but tolerate most other conditions. Another report suggests that they tolerate drought so long as the soil is rich in humus. A very ornamental plant, growing well on the woodland edge. There are some named forms. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. The young shoots of most members of this genus are very attractive to slugs. Hybridizes with other members of this genus.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in early autumn in a shady part of a cold greenhouse. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. Germination can be slow, they may not come true to type and it takes a few years for them to reach a good size. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in March or October. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. Boiled and used as an asparagus substitute, they make an excellent vegetable and are widely used in Turkey. Root – cooked. Rich in starch. The root should be macerated for some time in water in order to remove bitter substances. Normally only used in times of famine, the root was powdered and then made into a bread by the North American Indians.
The roots macerated for some time in water yield a substance capable of being used as food and consisting principally of starch. The young shoots form an excellent vegetable when boiled and eaten like Asparagus, and are largely consumed in Turkey. The roots of another species have been made into bread in times of scarcity, but they require boiling or baking before use.
Constituents: The rhizome and herb contain Convallarin, one of the active constituents of Lily-of-the-Valley, also Asparagin, gum, sugar, starch and pectin.
Astringent; Demulcent; Emetic; Poultice; Tonic.
Solomon’s seal has been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine. It is used mainly in the form of a poultice and is believed to prevent excessive bruising and to stimulate tissue repair. The root is astringent, demulcent, emetic and tonic. An infusion is healing and restorative, it is good in the treatment of stomach inflammations, chronic dysentery etc. It is used with other herbs in the treatment of pulmonary problems, including tuberculosis, and women’s complaints. The powdered roots make an excellent poultice for bruises, piles, inflammation etc. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The plant should not be used internally except under professional supervision. A distilled water made from the whole plant has been used as a skin tonic and is an ingredient of expensive cosmetics. The dried powdered roots and flowers have been used as a snuff to promote sneezing and thus clear the bronchial passages.
Solomon’s Seal is given in pulmonary consumption and bleeding of the lungs. It is useful also in female complaints. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses and is also used as an injection. It is a mucilaginous tonic, very healing and restorative, and is good in inflammations of the stomach and bowels, piles, and chronic dysentery.
The flowers and roots used as snuff are celebrated for their power of inducing sneezing and thereby relieving head affections. They also had a wide vogue as aphrodisiacs, for love philtres and potions.
The berries are stated to excite vomiting, and even the leaves, nausea, if chewed.
The properties of these roots have not been very fully investigated. It is stated that a decoction will afford not only relief but ultimate cure in skin troubles caused by the poison vine, or poisonous exalations of other plants.
Other Uses: Can be used as Cosmetic………..Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 30cm apart each way. A distilled water made from the whole plant is used as a cosmetic to improve the complexion.
Known Hazards : Large quantities of the fruits are poisonous. It has laxative properties and can increase the laxative effects of aloe, rhamnus, senna & yellow dock. May lead to gastrointestinal irritation with prolonged use. Overdose leads to nausea,
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.