Scientific Name:Polygonum cuspidatum
About this Herb:Japanese Knotweed is a large, herbaceous perennial plant, native to eastern Asia in Japan, China and Korea. In North America and Europe the species is very successful and has been classified as an invasive species in several countries.
Japanese Knotweed has hollow stems with distinct raised nodes that give it the appearance of bamboo, though it is not closely related. While stems may reach a maximum height of 3–4 m each growing season, it is typical to see much smaller plants in places where they sprout through cracks in the pavement or are repeatedly cut down. The leaves are broad oval with a truncated base, 7–14 cm long and 5–12 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, cream or white, produced in erect racemes 6–15 cm long in late summer and early autumn.
Common Names:Fleece Flower, Himalayan Fleece Vine, Monkeyweed, Tiger Stick, Hancock's Curse, Elephant Ears, Pea Shooters, Donkey Rhubarb, Sally Rhubarb, Japanese Bamboo, American Bamboo, Mexican Bamboo
Uses:Both Japanese Knotweed and Giant Knotweed are important concentrated sources of resveratrol and its glucoside piceid, replacing grape byproducts. Many large supplement sources of resveratrol now use Japanese Knotweed and use its scientific name in the supplement labels. Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi.
The young stems are edible as a spring vegetable, with a flavor similar to extremely sour rhubarb. In some locations, semi-cultivating Japanese Knotweed for food has been used as a means of controlling Knotweed populations that invade sensitive wetland areas and drive out the native vegetation. Some caution should be exercised when consuming this plant because it is similar to rhubarb, it contains oxalic acid, which may aggravate conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyper-acidity.
The roots of Japanese Knotweed are used in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbal medicines as a natural laxative. However, the greatest benefit from this plant stems from its source of resveratrol. Resveratrol boasts a long list of benefits including cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory properties, the prevention of joint disease, the ability to lower blood sugar levels, improved athletic endurance, and even the possibility of preventing and eliminating certain types of cancers.
Research by the Harvard Medical School has found that resveratrol increases the production of a protein called SIRT1, which may increase the human lifespan.
By increasing blood flow, resveratrol may protect not only the heart and arteries, but also the brain. Recent studies in the United Kingdom suggest that resveratrol may help prevent or reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. [Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition].
A study by the University of South Florida suggests that resveratrol may not only prevent, but might even reverse the dangerous build-up of fat in the liver caused by alcohol abuse.
Applications:Capsule: There is no recommended daily dosage of resveratrol. However, a daily dosage of 250-1000 mg (resveratrol) is sufficient to provide cardiovascular protection, improve athletic endurance and continued general health maintenance.
If resveratrol is being taken with the objective to address certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, joint disease, cancer tumors, high blood sugar, high liver enzymes, or high alcohol intake, higher dosages are typically indicated.
The dosage used in the "Harvard Study" was equal to 23 mg per kg or about 500 mg per 50 pounds of body weight. For example: A person that weighs 150 pounds would take 1500 mg daily. This is just a suggestion based on the "Harvard Study", not a rule. Consult your health-care provider before taking resveratrol or any dietary supplement.
Eating: The young shoots and young leaves are used. The shoots look like asparagus but are extremely sour; the fibrous outer skin must be peeled, soaked in water for half a day raw or after parboiling, before being cooked.
Warnings:Using knotweed when pregnant or nursing is not advised.
The plant itself is very invasive and can be a danger to surrounding wildlife.