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Solomon's Seal

Scientific Name(s): Polygonatum cirrhifolium, Polygonatum kingianum, Polygonatum multiflorum (L.) Allioni, Polygonatum odoratum, Polygonatum sibiricum, Polygonatum verticillatum
Common Name(s): Eurasian Solomon's seal (P. multiflorum), Huangjing (P. sibiricum and P. kingianum), King Solomon's seal, Rhizoma polygonati, Solomon's seal, Yuzhu (P. odoratum)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 21, 2023.

Clinical Overview


Polygonatum is regarded as a yin-nourishing herb in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and other traditional medicine systems, with numerous traditional applications. In vitro and animal studies suggest potential applications in diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular risk factors, and CNS and immune disorders; however, clinical studies are lacking to recommend use for any indication.


Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing guidance.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Information is lacking.


Information is limited. Fresh rhizomes and plant parts are regarded as traditional foods, and limited studies suggest low toxicity after steaming/cooking processes.

Scientific Family


Polygonatum Mill. is a genus of at least 60 flowering plants in the Liliaceae (lily) family, distributed throughout temperate regions of North America and China, Japan, Korea, India, Russia, and Europe. Other sources place the genus in the Asparagaceae family.USDA 2019, WCSP 2019, Zhao 2018 Studies focus primarily on P. verticillatum and P. sibiricum species.


Polygonatum is regarded as a yin-nourishing herb in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and other traditional medicine systems. Rhizoma polygonati is a mix of Polygonatum species used in traditional Chinese medicine, while multiplant preparations containing P. sibiricum ("Huaiqihuang") and P. cirrhifolium are also described. P. sibiricum may be used as an "assistant" component to improve the effectiveness of a multiplant product.Cui 2018, Liu 2017, Xu 2017, Zhao 2018

In traditional medicine, Polygonatum species have been used for the management of fatigue, weakness, kidney stone, gout, rheumatism, diabetes, cough, indigestion, lack of appetite, sexual dysfunction, and backache, and for their rejuvenating, aphrodisiac, and tonic effects. Emollient, gynecological, and antifungal applications have been described for some species.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018 A comprehensive list of Polygonatum species and their traditional medicinal applications has been published.Zhao 2018

In addition to use of the rhizomes in cooking, teas, and wine, the seeds, leaves, or whole plants of some species are also used medicinally and as functional foods.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018


Published reviews have identified the chemical constituents of Polygonatum plants, with steroidal saponins, triterpenoid saponins, isoflavanones, polysaccharides, and lectins being the main active compounds.Khan 2016, Zhao 2018 Polygonatum polysaccharides are among the most important active compounds of the species.Cui 2018

Further chemical compounds with biological activity continue to be elucidated, including flavones, steroidal glycosides, and saponins. Chen 2018, Gvazava 2019, Khan 2015, Kumar 2018, Tang 2019, Wang 2016, Zhang 2018

Uses and Pharmacology

Anti-inflammatory activity

In vitro data

In limited in vitro studies of P. sibiricum rhizome extracts, anti-inflammatory markers such as nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor, and interleukins were inhibitedZhao 2019; inhibition of protein denaturation was also demonstrated by P. verticillatum rhizome extracts.Kumar 2018

Antimicrobial effects

In vitro data

Antimicrobial properties have been described in vitro, including antibacterial and antifungal effects of the rhizomes and aerial parts of P. verticillatum.Khan 2016, Khan 2015, Sharma 2018

Antioxidant activity

In vitro data

Antioxidant properties of P. verticillatum rhizome extracts have been described in vitro.Khan 2016, Kumar 2018


Animal and in vitro data

In vitro and in vivo experiments have demonstrated that extracts from Polygonatum plants can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells or growth of tumors through induction of both apoptosis and autophagy of cancer cells or through activation of the immune system.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018 In vitro studies have evaluated individual chemical constituents and whole rhizome extracts for activity against human cancer cells lines, including P. sibiricum extracts against breast, cervical, and liver cancers.Chen 2018, Ma 2019, Zhang 2018, Zhou 2019 In a study in tumor-bearing mice, P. sibiricum polysaccharides resulted in an immunoenhancement effect against lung cancer, mediated by TLR4-MAPK/NF-kappaB signalling pathways.Long 2018

Cardiovascular effects

Animal data

In a rabbit model, modulation of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and lipoprotein(a), but not triglycerides or high-density lipoprotein was demonstrated with rhizome-derived P. sibiricum polysaccharidesCui 2018, Yang 2015; P. sibiricum polysaccharides were similarly protective against hyperlipidemia-induced atherosclerosis in hamstersCui 2018 and rabbits.Yang 2015 In rats with induced heart failure, P. sibiricum polysaccharides improved cardiac function (increased left ventricular systolic pressure and decreased left ventricular end diastolic pressure) and serum biochemical indices (including superoxide dismutase and nitric oxide levels).Zhu 2018

In rats with dyslipidemia, steamed, decocted P. kingianum rhizome extract improved serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as other metabolic biomarkers.Yang 2018

CNS effects

Animal data

Limited studies report on potential applications for polygonum polysaccharides in diseases of the CNS.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018 In rats with induced Alzheimer disease, beta-amyloid peptide accumulation was decreased with a P. sibiricum decoction,Zhang 2015 and improved learning and memory have been shown in similar studies.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018 Tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside from P. multiflorum reportedly influenced neural insulin signalling in another rodent study, with implications in senescence theorized.Zhou 2015

A water extract of the P. sibiricum rhizome exhibited gamma-aminobutyric acid-benzodiazepine receptor binding in rodent and drosophila models, resulting in an increase of non–rapid eye movement (non-REM) and decrease of REM.Jo 2017, Jo 2018, Jo 2018


Animal data

Studies in rodents suggest potential applications for Solomon's seal in the management of diabetes and its sequelae.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018 A study evaluating the effect of a phenolic compound extracted from P. sibiricum on streptozocin‑induced diabetic mice reported increased serum fasting insulin and pancreatic insulin levels, possibly via antioxidative effects.Zhai 2018 Similarly, increased insulin levels and reduced fasting blood glucose levels occurred in a study evaluating supplemental P. kingianum total saponins and polysaccharides in diabetic rats.Yan 2017 In another study, total saponins from P. kingianum in diabetic rats reduced fasting blood glucose levels at a rate similar to the metformin-treated group, with modulating effects on glucose transporter subtype 4 and glucose-6-phosphatase insulin signalling pathways suggested.Lu 2016 Administration of an ethanol extract of P. sibiricum rhizome improved insulin resistance and lipid profiles of mice fed a high-fat diet.Ko 2015 Extracts of P. odoratum have also been studied in diabetic models.Zhao 2018

After 12 weeks, progression of diabetic retinopathy and cataract in diabetic rats was slowed with administration of P. sibiricum polysaccharide, possibly due to observed decreased hyperglycemia and oxidative stress.Wang 2019, Wang 2017

GI effects

Animal and in vitro data

Antispasmodic and antidiarrheal effects in isolated rabbit jejunum and in rats with castor oil–induced diarrhea have been demonstrated with rhizome extracts of P. verticillatum. Activity is postulated to be via adenosine triphosphate–sensitive potassium channels.Khan 2016 Alterations in the gut microbiome have been described following intake of P. kingianum saponins and polysaccharides in diabetic rats.Yan 2017

Immune function

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro studies and studies conducted on senescent mice report reversal of declines of thymus and spleen weights and enhanced numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by P. sibiricum polysaccharides. Modifying effects on various immune markers have also been reported in vitro and in rodents.Cui 2018, Liu 2018, Ni 2019, Yelithao 2016, Yelithao 2019, Zhao 2018


Animal data

A limited number of studies in rodents suggest that P. sibiricum polysaccharides promote osteoblast formation and block osteoclastogenesis, resulting in increased bone mineral density. Effects are suggested to be mediated through increased nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin.Cui 2018, Du 2016, Li 2019, Peng 2018, Zong 2015


Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing guidance.

Adulteration of Ayurvedic Polygonatum preparations, due to scarcity of the P. verticillatum plant, has been documented, and a method of identification and quantification described.Virk 2016

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Clinical studies are lacking; based on animal studies, adjunctive effects with hypoglycemic agents are possible.

Adverse Reactions

Information regarding adverse effects is lacking.


Fresh rhizomes and plant parts are regarded as traditional foods, and limited studies suggest low toxicity after steaming/cooking processes.Zhao 2018 Consumption of the crude rhizome reportedly causes death in rodent studies.Zhao 2018 An estimated no observed adverse effect level of the ethanol extract of P. sibiricum has been reported to be more than 2,000 mg/kg. Ko 2015

Polygonatum extracts are known to induce both apoptosis and autophagy in cancer cells; however, effects on normal cells are unclear.Cui 2018, Zhao 2018



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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