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Solomon's Seal - Biblical Herb  RSS feed

 
                          
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I didn't know much about this herb polygonatum biflorum , other than my family used to eat it every spring by boiling it for two minutes in salted water then we'd just eat it like spinach in mild saltwater and the  herbs still tasted great.  After the snow has gone  I've seen bears munch it too but only until it starts showing leafs.  Some get quite high and are tender right through until they start opening up showing leafs; they grow by rhizome. Its lovely when it grows up as well for covering a shaded to mild light area instead of hosta.  With a alternate leaf, it has little white fragrant flowers, grows to 2.5 feet at max. 

This is my first post, thanks.
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Jami McBride
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Thanks for the post/pictures.  This useful plant is good to know about.... 

Here is some more info I found on it -



Habitat
Perennial native herb found growing in moist sandy, loamy or rocky woods and thickets, N. America from New Brunswick to Michigan, south to Tennessee and Florida. Cultivation: a very hardy plant, it prefers a light soil and a shady situation. Seeds, or transplants, if taken up with plenty of soil. The creeping root, rhizome, or underground stem, is thick and white, twisted and full of knots, with large circular scars at intervals, these scars give Solomon's Seal it's name. Stems grow to a height of from 18 inches to 2 feet, or even more and bend over gracefully. Large, light green, and broad ovate leaves grow alternately on the stem, clasping it at the bases. The flowers are tubular, succulent and thick, light yellow- green, and hang in little drooping clusters of two to five, growing from the leaf axils. Flowers bloom April to June. The fruit is a small berry about the size of a pea, blackish-blue, fruit is not edible, said to be poisonous. Gather roots in fall as flows fade, dry for later herb use.

Properties
Solomon's Seal is edible and medicinal, the young edible shoots are an excellent vegetable when boiled and eaten like Asparagus. The root is edible after boiling in three changes of water or sun baked, and is a good source of starch. This herb has a long history of use in alternative medicine dating back to the time of Dioscorides and Pliny.  The main constituents are saponins (similar to diosgenin), flavonoids, and vitamins. A medicinal infusion of root or rhizome, is used in alternative medicine as an astringent, demulcent, and tonic. The dried herb is taken as a laxative and restorative, and is good in inflammations of the stomach, indigestion, profuse menstruation, lung ailments, general debility, bowels, piles, and chronic dysentery. A medicinal poultice of the fresh roots is said to fade bruises, also applied to cuts and sores.

Folklore
Once believed to have aphrodisiac properties, and used in love potions. More than likely due to its ability to stop profuse menstruation. 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 falls or women's wilfulness in stumbling upin their hastie husband's fists, or such like.'

Recipe
"Medicinal" tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep for 10 min. sweeten to taste, take in the morning as laxative.

Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron


 
                    
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Beautiful pictures.  Some seeds are coming my way soon.....I haven't seen photos of the young shoots before, thank you!
 
Lisa Paulson
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Thank you for this insight, I grow solomon seal as an ornamental .  Now I can enjoy a harvest of it as it spreads.
 
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