Solomon’s Seal has become one of my favorite plants to use medicinally and to grow. Many springs ago, as I stood admiring the plants’ drooping whitish flowers, a hummingbird suddenly appeared and began feeding on the flowers. Being an admirer of the ruby throated hummingbird, I delighted in this moment. My solomon’s seal patch has continued to be visited by these magnificent pollinators for the past 6 springs. I have now added solomon’s seal to my list of medicinal plants which feed the ruby throated hummingbird.
True solomon’s seal and hairy solomon’s seal have a long history of use amongst Native Americans. The rhizomes were often cooked and eaten, made into poultices for healing wounds, bruises, inflammations of the skin, and sore eyes and taken internally to ease coughs and constipation. Refer to Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants for more information on Native peoples uses.
I use a fresh root tincture for people who are healing various muscular-skeletal traumas or weaknesses. When the tendons, muscles, ligaments or joints have been torn, bruised, overstretched, or have become too tight or inflamed, solomon’s seal tincture or tea is excellent to use, 2-3 times per day, for 1-6 months, or longer if needed. The root is mucilaginous and lubricating to connective tissues, bone, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Solomon’s seal, combined with boneset and teasel root, is my favorite herbal formula for healing broken bones or torn tissue. Solomon’s seal is remarkable at bringing more flexibility of movement to people who are suffering from a recent or old injury and for strengthening the muscular-skeletal system following an injury or surgery. Regular use of the root by people receiving chiropractic care can help keep an adjustment in place. Solomon’s seal root can be infused into a vegetable-based oil for 1-2 weeks (ideally at 100° F) and used topically as a massage oil for easing tendonitis and other types of joint and muscle pain.
The rhizome has a sweet taste and is cooling and moistening to the body. Its mucilaginous qualities soothe the mucus membranes of the digestive tract, lungs, and vagina. A root tea or powdered root drink assist the healing of an irritated or inflamed digestive tract or lungs. The roots are beneficial for a person who has a dry cough with sticky mucus that is difficult to expectorate. Because of its cooling and moistening nature, the root restores strength and vitality to a child or adult recovering from a high fever or for women experiencing hot flashes, fatigue, vaginitis or vaginal dryness.
For women, solomon’s seal root tea or tincture is excellent to use regularly for ensuring abundant reproductive secretions, for healing inflamed vaginal tissue and for easing vaginal dryness. It is an herb to consider adding into a fertility enhancing formula. Solomon’s seal root mixed with white pond lily tubers and green, milky oat seeds, is an effective combination for lubricating dry vaginal tissue and for soothing and healing any trauma or inflammation to the vagina. I consider this herb to be nourishing and building for women who wish to conceive, for new mothers, for women who feel overworked and stressed, for women going through menopause and for post-menopausal women.
I have come to regard solomon’s seal root as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body and mind adapt to various kinds of stresses, both personal and global. Adaptogenic herbs are safe to use over several months and can be used individually or in combination with other adaptogenic herbs such as Eleuthero (siberian ginseng) root, astragalus root, codonopsis root, licorice root, nettle leaf and sacred basil.
Roots and adaptogenic herbs help us through times of change. Herbalist Matthew Wood writes the following passage about roots, such as solomon’s seal, in his book The Book of Herbal Wisdom, “(They) usually have a ninety-degree angle in their construction, indicating an affinity to making profound changes or turns in life. They help bring a person to a transformative place or help them go through the change, or help them adapt to a change that has already occurred. The ninety-degree angle represents joints in the organism, and key-joints in the path of life.”
By Deb Soule, Herbalist and Founder of Avena Botanicals
Photo by Dr. JJ Pursell