Solomon’s seal; (polygonatum) is a pretty plant of the lily family, a close relative of the smaller lily of the valley. Found these days mainly in gardens; however it appears that it may have once been a woodland plant, of late spring. The plant forms a thick creeping knotted rootstock, with many circular scars left by the leaf stems of previous years. These scars bear a mark, said to resemble the Seal of Solomon.
The Latin polygonatum means, ‘many angles’ and according to Mrs Grieve ‘is supposed to be derived either from the many knots or swellings of the roots or from the numerous nodes or joints of the stem.’
Solomon’s Seal is placed under the authority of the planet Saturn. Saturn, it is said, governs those plants that are primarily used for their root. And it is the root of this plant that invites most attention.
As regards Saturn, Gustav Holst places Saturn in his ‘ Planet Suite’ as the bringer of old age, which should, also, in theory, bring with it wisdom
Kat Yronwode indicates that Solomon’s Seal is named after King Solomon of the Bible, who, it is said, kept demons in a jar by means of a miraculous seal. Due to these associations, this seal is said to be a powerful protector used to ward off evil, increase wisdom and break jinxes
Culpeper says ‘Of Solomon’s Seal’, ‘Stamped and boiled in wine, it speedily helps, (being drank) all broken bones, and is of incredible virtue that way; as also being stamped and applied to the place, it soon heals all wounds, and quickly takes away the black and blue marks of blows, being bruised and applied to place, and for these, I am persuaded there is no better medicine under the sun.’
He also says ‘Saturn owns the plant, for he loves his bones well. The root of Solomon’s Seal is found by experience to be available in wounds, hurts and out ward sores, to heal and close up the lips of those who are green, and to dry up and restrain the flux of humours of those that are old. It is singularly good to stay vomiting and bleeding wheresoever, as also all fluxes in man or woman; also to knit any joint, which by weakness uses to be often out of place, or will not stay when it is set:’ in fact, according to Culpeper there are very few complaints that Solomon’s seal can't be used as a remedy for. .
Scott Cunningham indicates that Solomon Seal is; Feminine, governed by Saturn, its element being water; and is said to possess the powers of protection and exorcism. He also says that it has magical use when ‘The root is placed in the four corners of the house to guard it, it is used in exorcism and protection spells of all kinds. And an infusion of the roots sprinkled about clears the area of evil. Solomon’s Seal is also used in offertory incenses.’
According to Mrs Grieve; ‘Gerard maintained that the name Sigillum Solomons was given to the root partly because it bears marks something like the stamp of a seal, but still more because of the virtue the root hath in sealing and healing up green wounds, broken bones and such like, being stamp't and laid thereon.' Mrs Grieve adds that ‘The name Lady's Seal was also conferred on the plant by old writers, as also St. Mary's Seal’ ‘(Sigillum Sanctae Mariae). No surprise there.
Kat Yronwode adds Solomon’s Seal as one of the ingredients added to ‘wisdom oil’ it appears to me that I need to get to know this very pretty plant rather better, Wisdom is something I always need lots more of.