Herb: Small Solomon's Seal

Latin name: Polygonatum biflorum

Synonyms: Convallaria biflora

Family: Convallariaceae

Medicinal use of Small Solomon's Seal:

A tea made from the roots is laxative. It has been used in the treatment of indigestion, profuse menstruation, lung ailments, general debility etc. It is a folk remedy for piles, rheumatism and skin irritations. A poultice or a decoction of the fresh roots is applied to cuts, bruises, sores etc.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Dry to moist sandy, loamy or rocky deciduous woods and thickets, usually in upland areas.

Edible parts of Small Solomon's Seal:

Young shoots - raw or cooked. An excellent vegetable when boiled and used as an asparagus substitute. Root - cooked. The flavour is somewhat bitter, to counteract this the root is sliced crosswise, cooked in alkaline water and the water changed during the cooking process. When steamed and sun-dried nine times the root is delicious. The roots are rich in starch, this can be extracted by beating or grinding the dried root, the starch can then be used to make bread or can be mixed in other foods such as soups.

Other uses of the herb:

The root has been burnt as an incense. It is said that when the root is burnt in the bedroom just before going to sleep, the person would sleep soundly and awaken refreshed, rested and feeling young.

Propagation of Small Solomon's Seal:

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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry to moist sandy, loamy or rocky deciduous woods and thickets, usually in upland areas.

Known hazards of Polygonatum biflorum:

The fruit and seed are possibly poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.