Polygonatum multiflorum ea / Salomonszegel

De gewone salomonszegel (ook wel: veelbloemige salomonszegel) (Polygonatum multiflorum) is een giftige, vaste plant, die tegenwoordig gerekend wordt tot de aspergefamilie (Asparagaceae). Als stoffen komen onder meer saponinen en flavonoïden voor. Toch zijn ondanks de giftigheid verschillende Polygonumsoorten ook in gebruik als geneeskrachtige plant. Niet experimenteren, dosering en bereidingswijze is belangrijk.

Geneeskracht
De Salomonszegels bevatten chemische stoften zoals asparagine en convallaria-glycosiden. Andere inhoudsstoffen zijn saponinen, allantoïne (wondgenezend), slijmstoffen, glucokinine (bloedsuikerverlagend) en flavanoïden.
Alhoewel de Salomonszegel in de meeste kruidenboeken geboekstaafd staat als een giftige plant, zijn het vooral de bessen die giftig zijn en heftig braken en diarree veroorzaken. Maar ook met andere delen van de plant moet je wel voorzichtig zijn.

Het gebruikte plantendeel in de fytotherapie is de wortelstok, rhizoma polygonatii. Salomonszegel is een glucokinindrogerij met bloedsuikerverlagende eigenschappen. Een werking die ook wetenschappelijk onderbouwd is. Uitwendig werd het gebruik tegen bloeduitstortingen, blauwe plekken, aambeien en ontwrichte ledematen. Een kompres van de wortelstok werd opgelegd om kneuzingen te verlichten en wondjes te genezen.

In de Chinese fytotherapie is Polygonatum een veel gebruikt middel, vooral in combinatie met andere planten. De verkoelende wortelstok verlaagt koorts, helpt tegen een droge mond en verzacht chronische hoest. Tegenwoordig concentreert onderzoek zich op de eigenschap om hoge bloeddruk te verlagen.

Salomonszegel, een oud geneeskruid met toekomst, maar een plant die wel vraagt om een deskundig gebruik. Voor eigen gebruik zou ik alleen de geplette wortelstok als kompres tegen een onzuivere huid inzetten En misschien kunnen we, net zoals vroeger, de wortelstok als amulet dragen of in onze rechter broekzak stoppen, 'want wie haar in den rechterzak draagt, kan door stoot noch schot gewond worden'.




Polygonatum verticillatum [L.] All. (Nooreallam) belonging to family Liliaceae or Convallariaceae possesses around 57 species and is commonly found in East Asia, China and Japan [1, 2]. In different traditional systems of medicine, Polygonatum is popular for its use in pulmonary disorders like asthma and inflammation [3, 4], in addition to its multiple other health benefits such as, antituberculant, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, diuretic, analgesic and antipyretic activities [4, 5]. P. verticillatum has also been studied for its analgesic [6, 7], antimalarial and antioxidant [8], metal accumulant [9], insecticidal [10], antibacterial [11] and antipyretic [12] activities.

A variety of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from different species of the genus Polygonatum; primarily: saponins, alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids and phytohormones. These groups of compounds show different types of activities. Long chain esters from this plant exhibit potent tyrosinase inhibition [13], alkaloid, homoisolflavanone, triterpenoid and steroidal saponin show profound antimicrobial and anticancer properties [14, 15, 16, 17] and emodin from Polygonatum has shown ameliorating effects on the memory consolidation [18]. Several compounds have also been isolated from the rhizomes of P. verticillatum including lectins [19], 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde and diosgenin [8]. There is no study to the best of our knowledge reporting its usefulness in hyperactive airways disorders or inflammation. This study describes the tracheorelaxant and anti-inflammatory activities of P. verticillatum to provide a scientific background to its medicinal use in hyperactive airways complaints like asthma or inflammatory conditions. The in-vivo and in-vitro experimental studies have been designed, followed by bioactivity-guided isolation of its secondary metabolites.



SOLOMON'S SEAL — RESTORATIVE QUALITIES Matthew Wood

The use of the root of the herb Solomon’s Seal (polygonatum biflorum or multiflorum) dates back over 3,500 years ago to the era of King Solomon. He was so impressed by the plant's diverse healing qualities that he proclaimed it a gift from God, and thus named it after himself. Its more “modern day” acknowledgement was by Dioscorides and Pliny in the 1st Century, A.D. Asian medicine considers it one of the ten top healing plants. Ancient Europeans and North American Indians considered it a “workhorse” herb of wide value. Today, there is increasing interest in the health values of the plant.

ssplant1Just a partial list of its historical uses demonstrates Solomon's Seal's wide restorative potential. Whereas, the full scientific evidence is not available to make the following claims (China has extensive research unavailable to the Western World), for hundreds of years, the literature has shared benefits people have experienced.

Solomon's Seal claims:
  • Aids in restoration of damaged cartilage & connecting tissue
  • Aids in easing general inflammation
  • Aids healing of bruises, wounds and skin irritations
  • Hastens recovery from bone injuries (broken, stressed) and associated connective tissues
  • Encourages the production of synovial fluid to reduce grinding in joints
  • Addresses and aids restoration of too tight or too loose tendons, ligaments, joints & attachments associated with repetitive stress, injury & inflammation
  • Soothes upset stomach
  • Encourages loosening of mucous in lungs
  • Improves women's reproductive health
The question remains, however, what makes Solomon's Seal work so well? What are its constituents that, when processed into a tincture, salve, tea or herbal spray, or when combined with those of another herb, empower its healing qualities?
I have finally come to view Solomon's Seal as the single most reliable, useful and foolproof remedy that I have ever come across.   Matthew Wood — herbalist, author, teacher

The Main Constituents of Solomon's Seal

Perhaps the best known, and more commonly understood, components of Solomon's Seal are gum, sugar, starch, pectin, and
Vit. A. Responsible for Solomon's Seal's many health activities, however, is a unique phytocomposition, as if coming out of a laboratory:
  • steroidal saponins (Beneficial health effects include control of blood cholesterol levels, bone health, cancer, and building up of the immune system)
  • glycosides (Cardiac glycosides are an important class of naturally occurring drugs, available in plants, whose actions include both beneficial and toxic effects on the heart. Plants containing cardiac steroids have been used as poisons and heart drugs at least since 1500 B.C. Throughout history these plants or their extracts have been variously used as arrow poisons, emetics, diuretics, and heart tonics. Cardiac steroids are widely used in the modern treatment of congestive heart failure and for treatment of atrial fibrillation and flutter. Although their toxicity remains a serious problem if taken in large or sustained quantities, in very small doses, as used in tinctures and homeopathy, they are entirely safe)
  • polysaccharides (The form in which most natural carbohydrates occur. It accounts for the mucilagenous, soothing qualities of a root herb like Solomon's Seal)
  • alkaloids (A naturally occurring group of chemical compounds. Most of the known functions of alkaloids are related to protection from parasitic bacteria and fungi, as a neurotransmitter, and as a regulator for cell growth and metabolism)
  • anthraquinones (Anthraquinones are more likely to be present in plants as glycosides owing to the variety of sugar contents and this enhances the range of the compound. Usually anthraquinones are found in the form of aglycone. They are often compounded into a laxative with benefits for digestion and elimination)
  • flavonoids (Flavonoids, also referred to as bioflavonoids, are polyphenol antioxidants found naturally in plants. Recent research indicates that flavonoids can be nutritionally helpful by triggering enzymes that reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and age-related degenerative diseases.
  • asparagine (Asparagine is an essential component of those proteins that are concerned with neuronal development and signaling transmission across nerve endings. Asparagine is essential to all living cells for the production of many proteins)
  • allantoin (An anti-inflammatory. Allantoin is a chemical compound naturally produced by many organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria. It is a frequent ingredient in lotions and skin creams, as well as in oral hygiene products, cosmetics, and other toiletries. Allantoin is also used in medications for dermatological conditions. It is effective at very low concentrations, usually from 0.1% to 2%.)
  • convallarin (Broadly used in medicine as a heart regulator; it is a white, crystalline glucoside, of an irritating taste, extracted mostly from the convallaria or Lily-of-the-Valley plant, a relative of Solomon's Seal).

From looking at these phytochemical components of the root of Solomon's Seal, we can begin to understand the plant's broad health restorative application. Additionally, it helps explain why it has been used so broadly as a natural healing agent for thousands of years among many cultures.
We can now look at how these components play out in the various uses of Solomon's Seal, be it as a tincture, salve, tea or topical spray. That is, the general restorative properties of Solomon's Seal.

General Restorative Properties of Solomon’s Seal

The following information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose a condition nor prescribe a treatment. Presently, there is no significant body of scientific evidence that proves the efficacy of Solomon's Seal. The National Institutes of Health in the United States are researching numerous herbs (oregano, clove, rosemary, turmeric, garlic, dandelion, among others, including Solomon's Seal). Research in China about Solomon's Seal, primarily the odoratum and siberian genus (Asian equivalent of the North American and European biflorum and multiflorm genus) is generally unavaliable for study to the rest of the world.

By looking at the phytochemical composition of an herb, as we did with Solomon's Seal above, an interpretation can be made as to cause and effect, based upon science or observation over time. Many of the components of plants have been so well analyzed that they form the basis for laboratory research and the creation of drugs. Most pharmaceutical drugs begin their creation by integrating knowledge about the known, researched or observed effects of phytochemical chemicals in plants, including micronutrients, enzymes, etc.

Medicines, when prescribed by a doctor, can be characterized by their general and specific effects. Herbs can be seen in a similar way. Herbs, however, when well-prepared, can be more benign overall toward health disharmony, with fewer side effects. Below we have identified numerous restorative uses of Solomon's Seal, according to well-known categories recognized in medicine and herbalism.

Mild Sedative
Best use: Tincture, Tea. Soothes nervousness, distress, excitement, or irritation. It can also ease pain or discomfort associated with joint, muscle and connective tissue injuries, bursae, menstrual cramps, bruises, etc.). Has a strengthening, tonic effect.

Vulnerary 
Best use: Salve (poultice), Topical Spray, Tincture. For external applications, aids wounds (open), cuts, burns, bruises. Aids skin conditions such as rashes. For issues related to tissues, it addresses sprains, strains, inflamed tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints.

Demulcent
Best use: Tea, Salve. As a mucilaginous herb, it is soothing, cooling, and moistening when applied to irritated, inflamed, or abraded tissue, especially mucus membranes, throat, lungs, and skin. Specific to the throat, Solomon's Seal coats it for relief of dry coughs.

Tonic
Best use: Tincture, Tea. Restorative by stimulating, invigorating, strengthening, and toning the kidneys, heart, and sexual organs, and soothing the digestive system. Also very beneficial for the skin.

Anti-rheumatic
Best use: Tincture, Tea, Topical Spray. Eases pain, inflammation, and infection in the joints. Connective tissue or joint problems which are not due to excess immune response or disease, but rather to stiffness, coldness, injury, overuse, underuse, excess weight bearing, lack of proper feeding and waste removal in the connective tissue, etc.

Adaptogenic
Best use: Tincture, Tea. Helps the body adapt to internal (injuries to bones, connective tissues, joints, etc.) and environmental stresses by strengthening the immune system. By feeding, nourishing, and cleansing irritated joints, bursae and synovial membranes, and damaged tissues, Solomon's Seal, in small doses, may help the excessive immune reaction to normalize. Solomon’s Seal works synergistically and is highly effective when combined with other specific herbs such as agrimony, vervain, and many more.

Diuretic & Mild Laxative
Best use: Tea. Gently increases the secretion, flow, and expulsion of urine. 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.

Anti-inflammatory
Best use: Tincture, Tea, Salve, Topical Spray. The allantoin in Solomon's Seal may help to reduce or counteract inflammations and infections associated with all types of injuries to the muscular-skeletal systems. It may act to produce cortisone in the body that stimulates the production and regulation of necessary synovial fluid in bursae and joints.

Expectorant
Best use: Tea, Tincture. May promote the discharge of mucus and phlegm from the lungs and throat by means of spitting or coughing. May reduce irritation in such organs. Among its many effects (and uses in Chinese medicine) as a traditional yin tonic for the body's mucous membranes, Solomon's Seal is theorized to moisten and provide energy (chi or qi) to the lungs, improving breathing and oxygenation to the blood. Better lung function leads to more abundant metabolic energy. Deficient lung qi is characterized by weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Therefore, Solomon's Seal may be helpful for dry coughs. Its immune stimulating and antibiotic effects may also aid in overcoming respiratory infections.

Cardiovascular Regulation
Best use: Tincture, Tea. 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 in regulating blood pressure. 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.

Tincture or Tea?
Solomon’s Seal, taken as a tea, may soothe irritation in the digestive tract, lungs, throat, vagina, and uterus. On the other hand, the tincture is generally superior to the tea for treating sports and repetitive use injuries, and injuries involving tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, attachments, cartilage, and bones. In fact, the tincture works to strengthen the entire muscular-skeletal system. However, Solomon’s Seal tincture is generally less effective than the tea in preserving the soothing demulcent quality discussed above. Use either the tea or tincture to speed recovery after surgery or the setting of a bone, to rebuild strength and well-being after a fever or the flu, or to aid in keeping a chiropractic adjustment in place.

Tincture
If you make your own, use a w/v ratio of 1:5. Fresh root is preferable but dry also works well. If at all possible, powder that dry root first. Tincture seems ideal for the musculoskeletal issues. Start with a 5 drop dose, up to 10 drops if you think you need it. Take three times a day. After a week or two, if you aren’t seeing results its ok to up your dose to 30 drops. Most people seem to get rapid relief right away at these low doses, but don’t be discouraged if it takes longer.

Ointment/Salve/Liniment
While you can make your own, I’ll provide a good source for ready-made products at the end. A liniment is very effective and super easy to make. Proceed as if you were making a tincture but use rubbing alcohol (NOT for internal use), or witch hazel or vinegar as your menstrum. Be sure to label that it’s for external use only. Just rub it into the affected area. The alcohol quickly evaporates leaving the herbal constituents behind to penetrate. Usually folks will want to use tincture, tea, or eat the rhizome alongside using it externally for musculoskeletal or skin conditions.

Hydrosol
Since the days of Galen (AD 130-200), the plant was revered in Europe as a cosmetic to keep the skin young looking and to remove blemishes. It was used as distilled water.  While you could use your decoction as a skin wash, why not see what happens by making your own Polygonatum hydrosol? Both the decoction and hydrosol can be used as above and also for poison ivy and other rashes.

Poultice
Great for bruises, wounds, swellings, and inflammations. Like comfrey and plantain, Polygonatum contains allantoin, the speedy wound healer. So be sure to use only on clean wounds so as not to cause skin to heal over dirt & debris resulting in sepsis.

Precautions
Solomon's Seal is safe for most adults when taken for short time periods. As with many herbs and medications, it may cause some side effects such as diarrhea, stomach complaints, and nausea when taken for long time periods or in large doses. The serving size suggested for taking the herb as a tincture or tea have very minimal risk. However, it is sensible to create a protocol that does not create a dependency, such as 6 days of ingestion to 1 day off, or 10-14 days ingestion and 2-3 days off.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of Solomon's Seal during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, as with taking any drug or medication, consultation with a medical practitioner may be appropriate.
  • Diabetes: Solomon's Seal might decrease blood sugar levels. There is potential that it might interfere with blood sugar control. If you use Solomon's seal and take diabetes medications, monitor your blood sugar closely. Again, medical consultation may be appropriate.
  • Surgery: Solomon's Seal might lower blood sugar levels. It might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.
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Potential Drug Interactions
Chlorpropamide (Diabinese) may interact with SOLOMON'S SEAL. Chlorpropamide is used to decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Solomon's Seal might also decrease blood sugar. Taking Solomon's seal along with chlorpropamide (Diabinese) might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your medication might need to be changed.

Insulin may interact with SOLOMON'S SEAL. Solomon's Seal might decrease blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking Solomon's Seal along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.

Medications for diabetes (Anti-diabetes drugs) may interact with SOLOMON'S SEAL. Solomon's Seal might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking Solomon's Seal along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed. Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Apr;10(4):683-8. Chemical constituents of the genus Polygonatum and their role in medicinal treatment.
Zhao X, Li J.
Polygonatum is a famous traditional Chinese medicine that is widely used in China, Korea and Japan. In the last decade, constituents of the genus have been reported including steroidal saponins, flavones, alkaloids, lignins, amino acids and carbohydrates, some of which show biological properties such as antiviral and antitumor activity, variable effects on the immune system and anticoagulant activity. In addition, some findings provide novel evidence that Polygonatum species may contain potential anti-tumor and anti-viral proteins for possible medical application and large-scale pharmaceutical production. In this review, we focus on the updated research of the chemical constituents of Polygonatum including polysaccharides, steroidal saponins, flavonoids and lectins, and their potential therapeutic roles.

Medicinal Chemistry Research
July 2012, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 1278–1282
Antimalarial and free radical scavenging activities of rhizomes of Polygonatumverticillatumsupported by isolated metabolites
DOI: 10.1007/s00044-011-9637-xCite this article as:Khan, H., Saeed, M., Khan, M.A. et al. Med Chem Res (2012) 21: 1278. doi:10.1007/s00044-011-9637-x
Antimalarial activity of the crude extract of Polygonatum verticillatum rhizomes and its sequentially partitioned fractions were investigated against Plasmodium falciparum. The crude extract possessed notable activity (IC50: 21.67 μg/mL) that enhanced reasonably upon fractionation. The antiparasitic potency of the n-hexane fraction was maximum (IC50: 2.33 μg/mL) followed by chloroform (IC50: 4.62 μg/mL). However, the remaining fractions showed insignificant activity in the assay. The extracts of the plant showed marked scavenging activity on stable free radical, DDPH. The most potent antioxidant was the chloroform fraction (IC50: 90 μg/mL) followed by ethyl acetate (IC50: 93 μg/mL) and n-butanol (IC50: 95 μg/mL) fractions. In the brine shrimps lethality test, the extracts were found nontoxic with the exception of ethyl acetate fraction (LD50: 492.846 μg/mL). The bioactivity-guided isolation resulted into 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde (HMF) and diosgenin which strongly supports the present experimental findings.

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Solomon's Seal A Modern Herbal Mrs Grieve
Botanical: Polygonatum multiflorum (ALLEM.) 
Family: N.O. Liliaceae

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent, demulcent and tonic. Combined with otherremedies, 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.

A strong decoction given every two or three hours has been found to cure erysipelas, if at the same time applied externally to the affected parts.

The powdered roots make an excellent poultice for bruises, piles, inflammations and tumours. The bruised roots were much used as a popular cure for black eyes, mixed with cream. The bruised leaves made into a stiff ointment with lard served the same purpose. Gerard says:
'The roots of Solomon's Seal, stamped while it is fresh and greene and applied, taketh away in one night or two at the most, any bruise, blacke or blew spots gotten by fals or women's wilfulness in stumbling upin their hastie husband's fists, or such like.'
A decoction of the root in wine was considered a suitable beverage for persons with broken bones, 'as it disposes the bones to knit.' On this point, Gerard adds:
'As touching the knitting of bones and that truly which might be written, there is not another herb to be found comparable to it for the purposes aforesaid; and therefore in briefe, if it be for bruises inward, the roots must be stamped, some ale or wine put thereto and strained and given to drinke . . . as well unto themselves as to their cattle,' it being applied 'outwardly in the manner of a pultis' for external bruises.
Parkinson says, 'The Italian dames, however, doe much use the distilled water of the whole plant of Solomon's Seal' - for their complexions, etc.
In Galen's time, the distilled water was used as a cosmetic, and Culpepper says:
'the diluted water of the whole plant used to the face or other parts of the skin, cleanses it from freckles, spots or any marks whatever, leaving the place fresh, fair and lovely, for which purpose it is much used by the Italian ladies and is the principal ingredient of most of the cosmetics and beauty washes advertised by perfumers at high price.'
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.
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.

Dosage of the decoction: 1 to 4 OZ. three times daily.

As a remedy for piles the following has been found useful: 4 OZ. Solomon's Seal, 2 pints water, 1 pint molasses. Simmer down to 1 pint, strain, evaporate to the consistence of a thick fluid extract, and mix with it from 1/2 to 1 OZ. of powdered resin. Dosage: 1 teaspoonful several times daily

Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.



http://www.herbcraft.org/solseal.html Jim Mcdonald about Smooth Solomon's seal / Polygonatum biflorum

Without doubt, Solomon's Seal is the most useful remedy I know of for treating injuries to the musculoskeletal system. I've used it to treat broken bones, sprains, injured tendons and ligaments, tendonitis, arthritis, dryness in joints and "slipped"/herniated discs (including mine - that sure did hurt...). Solomon's Seal has the remarkable ability to restore the proper tension to ligaments, regardless of whether they need to be tightened or loosened. This makes it a valuable remedy for sports & activity related injuries, used either before resorting to or along with conventional surgical procedures. I know of several instances when use of Solomon's Seal prevented the need for surgery, and also have seen it speed recovery time for people who have had surgery. One person I worked with who was taking a blend of Solomon's Seal, Mullein Root and a wee bit of Comfrey reported that his doctor told him with some surprise that his crushed kneecap had healed remarkably between his initial X-rays and his two week follow up; even the cartilage had begun to repair itself. 

When I "slipped" or herniated my disc, the formula I came up with to address strengthening the actual disc itself was 7 parts Solomon's Seal, 5 parts each (or was it three?  I never quite remember...) Mullein Root and Horsetail, and 1 part Goldenseal tinctures.  I took this in 7 drop doses, and could literally feel the pain and sensitivity in the disc diminishing; which is too say that when the top half of my body felt waaay to heavy to be perched all atop that disc, the tincture created a notable easing of that sensation.  This formula doesn't address the muscular/nerve involvement often accompanying such injuries, but is more specific to the connective tissues, strengthening them, equalizing tension and restoring alignment.  Saint John's Wort is probably the ideal herb to address attendant nerve pain, and muscle spasms and tension can indicate a plethora of distinct remedies (Lobelia, Black Cohosh, Arnica, Prickly Ash...) or more general ones (Cramp Bark, Kava Kava, Valerian...).  I still use the disc formula when I overdo it and feel that sensitivity creep back into the disc; it often takes care of the problem in a few doses.  I've had consistent good results in clients using it in formulas for disc injuries as well.  Remarkable stuff.  

Even more complicated situations can benefit dramatically from the use of Solomon's Seal. I've consulted a man with achondroplasia (a form of "dwarfism") whose entire musculoskeletal system is tight, enflamed and bowing.  He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, leaving him debilitated and unable to straighten the leg out at all.  His wife gave him a blend of Mullein flower and Horsetail tincture, and applied Mullein leaf poultices, and he was, after 2 days, able to bend his leg "ever so slightly".  About three weeks later, she added Solomon's Seal tincture, and by the next morning the results were marked: "He puttered in his shop all day, without his walker, only his cane. He was beyond thrilled, he was ecstatic."  To put this in perspective, she said that "The last time this happened to him, they operated on day 8, with no improvement or relief whatsoever UNTIL surgery."    He's continued to use the Solomon's Seal, along with some other herbs to address the numerous other complications arising from the achondroplasia, and his wife says that he "swears he can feel it working, not just in his joints and tendons, but he says even in his bones? Is that normal? He's thrilled about it, so even if it's not normal, I doubt I could get him to stop taking it."

I consider Solomon’s Seal an invaluable connective tissue anti-inflammatory. Several people I know swear by Solomon's Seal as their preferred treatment for arthritis, but its certainly not a universal remedy in this condition.  I use it frequently to address tendonitis and repetitive stress injuries; its much more clearly indicated here.  This is also something I've dealt with first hand.  I've "nipped it in the bud" before, but one time wanted to how well it would work on a case of longer standing, so let the condition develop a bit to where it pretty much hurt all the time, and was quite painful in certain positions.  I took 7 drops of Solomon's Seal tincture a few times a day and sting my arm from wrist to elbow with fresh Nettles in the morning and evening.  After three days, the condition resolved entirely.  I know other people who have used it (without the Nettles) and it worked for them as well, though not as quickly as with the Nettle sting.  Some years ago now, I used Solomon's Seal and Black Cohosh to help a man with Lupus, an autoimmune disorder causing severe inflammation of the connective tissue. Initial results were remarkably good, but he had a flare up resulting from some shifting around of his medications, which resulted in their prescribing even more meds, and after that the Solomon’s Seal, I think, just couldn’t cut through the powerful drugs. Sigh… I used a similar combination, with the addition of Saint John’s Wort, for a woman who had developed severe muscle weakness as a side effect of statin drugs. She recovered entirely upon using the remedy in 10 drop doses twice daily.  On another occasion I combined it with Mullein Root and Saint John's Wort for a man with sciatica-like pains resultant from an enflamed SI joint.  Literally one 5 drop dose improved the condition by 90% (I think the residual 10% was from the injured disc that caused the SI inflammation).  It also seems specific when there is inadequate lubrication in the joint (which can be felt and sometimes even heard), and I've seen it resolve this right quick on a number of occasions.

So how does it work? Long years ago, I believed that the gooey mucilage in the roots finds its way to the enflamed tissues and coats and lubricates them, which reduces friction and irritation and soothes the tissues themselves. But this certainly can’t be, as it wasn't long before I Iearned that a.) mucilages aren’t extracted by alcohol very well, and the dosage of tincture is far too small for it to be working on a physical level and b.) mucilages don't get into the blood stream and thus into joints. Matthew Wood speculated that Solomon's Seal might stimulate the body to produce cortisone, and my current belief is that it acts on the synovial glands, improving the production or quality of synovial fluid in some way and thus lubrication in the joints.  Often you can clearly perceive a notable lessening of friction in the joint shortly after a dose is taken.  On a few instances I've seen this friction cease entirely for a short period after the dose.  But who knows exactly what’s going on; what is clear is that it works, and if that’s the case, understanding why isn’t entirely necessary (though it can be nice).  In regards to the aforementioned use of helping tendons/ligaments tighten or loosen as needed, I think this has to do with its moistening effect.  Dry tissues loose their pliability; they're "stiff"... think of an old dried out piece of leather.  It doesn't want to stretch, but if you do stretch it, it doesn't want to go back to its original shape.  But, moisten that leather and its pliability is restored.  It can stretch out or tighten back to its natural length.

So the key indication for its use is inflammation associated with dryness.  Maybe the dryness causes the inflammation, or maybe vice verse... it doesn't seem to matter.  Solomon's Seal seems to moisten connective tissues and lubricate joints, and in so doing ease attendant inflammation.

Equally remarkable is the dosage needed to obtain such results. I've recommended as little as three to five drops a day, as this is what I learned from Matthew Wood, who is responsible for bringing this obscure herb into popular knowledge. If significant results aren't seen within a week or two, the dose can be upped as needed up to 30 drops three times daily, though I don't know of anyone who's needed to take that much... usually between five and fifteen drops will do the trick; 5 and 10, really.  I usually take 7 drops, as I've always been rather fond of that number.  Concerning "how long it takes to work", let me say this.  I've personally seen many remarkably fast resolutions, and I know of many more.  But, these instances, cool as they are, can lead to problematic expectations.  Just because someone I worked with took 5 drops and was "Wow! Healed!" doesn't mean that the next person isn't gonna need to take 10 drops 5 times a day for a month or three.  It's all individual.  If that person were to discontinue usage because they thought it would just make them better in a day or two, they'd miss out on what it can offer with more consistent use.

Solomon's Seal is perfectly suited as a "base" upon which to blend formulas, and well crafted combinations potentiate its effectiveness.  Saint John's Wort is indicated if there is nerve involvement (numbness, tingling, shooting or searing pains), Mullein Root if there is a misalignment involved (either in the way bones are healing together or in cases of spinal curvature & subluxations), Horsetail to aid the healing of bones & cartilage, Black Cohosh for dull, achy, inflammatory pain in the muscles or for whiplash, a teeny tiny bit of Goldenseal for injured discs (learned, as well, from Matt Wood), Arnica for pain from injury, Teasel for muscle injuries and tears, Blue Vervain if there's a lot of tension in the nape of the neck & upper shoulders (especially if it results from rigid, self imposed idealism), Yarrow if there is bruising, blood stagnation or, conversely, bleeding, Lobelia is there are severe muscle spasms, fresh Nettle, applied (yup, stung by) externally for tendonitis... pant pant pant... well, you get the picture.  It combines well.    

I’ve also used an oil infusion of the root as an external remedy for joint injuries. It has proven quite useful for sprains, and others I know have also found that it’s helped with sprains, a baker’s cyst, and a suspected heal spur to boot (heh heh… I love puns).  Combine it with the usual blend of Saint John's Wort, Arnica, and maybe some Yarrow and I think you'll be impressed.


The berries are considered "toxic" and should not be eaten, though I've never really heard it explained in what manner they're toxic.  Nevertheless, because of this, the entire plant is sometimes listed as "toxic" in some herbals.  The root, which is the part used medicinally, is certainly not toxic to any degree, and was used by Native Americans as a food source, and is used as a wild food by numerous people nowadays who are into that sorta thing.  I have used the plant extensively, and never seen nor heard of any negative reactions, and so (allowing for the rare exceptions that always exist) encourage you to scribble out any such claims in any books you have or may in the future find.  Of course, care should also be taken to distinguish the plant from False Solomon's Seal and Bellflower, both of which look similar to "True" Solomon's Seal.
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