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Uses

Toxic parts

Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked.

Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize[2]. Flowers[3]. No more details are given.

Root - cooked[4][5]. It should be washed several times in order to leech out the bitterness[3]. This process will also remove many of the vitamins and minerals from the roots[K]. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[2].

Flowers

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Polygonum multiflorum.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

He Shou Wu is considered to be one of the most important of the Chinese herbal tonics and is widely used in that country[6]. It is said to restore vitality and virility[7], working especially on the liver and the reproductive, urinary and circulatory systems[1]. Some care should be exercised, however, since excessive doses can cause skin rash and numbness of the extremities[1].

The roots and stems are antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiotonic, demulcent, depurative, hypoglycaemic, laxative, sedative, tonic[8][9][7][10][1][11]. The roots are taken internally in the treatment of menstrual and menopausal complaints, constipation in the elderly, swollen lymph glands and high cholesterol levels[1]. They are very effective in reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood and increase blood sugar levels[12]. Externally, they are used to treat ringworm, bleeding wounds and sores[1]. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 3 - 4 years old, and are dried for later use[1]. The leaves and roots tonify the liver and kidneys, fortify the blood, strengthen the muscles and prevent premature greying of the hair[6]. The stem is deobstruent and sedative[6]. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia and neurasthenia whilst it is applied externally to ringworm[10][1]. The stems are harvested in late summer or early autumn and are dried for later use[1].

Extracts of the plant have shown antipyretic, antitumour, hypoglycaemic and sedative activity[6].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, 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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Polygonum multiflorum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[13] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[14]. Repays generous treatment[13].

This species is hardy to at least -15°c[1]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[15].

There is a suggestion that this plant might be dioecious[16], in which case male and female plants will need to be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Polygonum multiflorum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Polygonum multiflorum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Polygonum multiflorum
Genus
Polygonum
Family
Polygonaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.001.011.021.031.041.051.061.071.081.091.10 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    8. ? 8.08.1 Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    14. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    15. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    16. ? Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    17. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    18. ? [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)