Herb: Solomon's Seal

Latin name: Polygonatum odoratum

Synonyms: Polygonatum anceps, Polygonatum officinale, Polygonatum vulgare

Family: Convallariaceae

Medicinal use of Solomon's Seal:

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 antiperiodic, antitussive, cardiotonic, demulcent, diuretic, energizer, hypoglycaemic, ophthalmic, resolvent, sedative and tonic. It is used in the treatment of, dry throat, dry coughs and coronary heart disease. The plant is only used in domestic medicine. An infusion is used as a diuretic and stimulant to the metabolism, though no more than 3 cups per day should be taken and only over short periods. It can also be applied externally as a poultice to treat bruises, small wounds etc. It has also been used to remove freckles. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use. It should not be used internally except under expert supervision.

Description of the plant:


85 cm
(2 feet)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Limestone woods and rocky places.

Edible parts of Solomon's Seal:

Young shoots - cooked. They can be used as an asparagus substitute. Root - cooked. Rich in starch.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Solomon's Seal:

Limestone woods and rocky places.

Known hazards of Polygonatum odoratum:

The fruits are poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.