Invasive Plant Medicine: Japanese Knotweed

Uploaded by brattleborovideo on 03.09.2010

Hi, I'm Timothy Scott
the author of Invasive Plant Medicine
and I'm here to talk about
my favorite plant here - Japanese Knotweed
This is really my favorite plant
and it's the plant that instigated this whole journey into writing a book
and I got to know Japanese Knotweed many years ago
when I first started treating lyme disease
and learned from Stephen Buhner that
that this was the most important herb
to use in the treatment of lyme disease
Since then I've learned many things about the plant -
not only how it's helping humans heal from disease
but also how it helps rehabilitate lands
where it lives and helps clean the environment for us
and helps protect these areas that have been
disturbed by human development and pollution
So it's a very important plant and there's a good reason why it grows here
and flourishes where it does
It's a warrior plant and it has no fear of shovel or poison
or extreme environments - you can see it growing in basically
any environment throughout the United States
and various soil compositions,
different elevations
Polygonum cuspidatum is the Latin name for it
Studies in England have found that the plant is primarily a female plant
and the Japanese Knotweed Alliance has called Japanese Knotweed the largest female in biomass terms
and with this
it does not spread so much by seeds - it spreads more by roots and fragments of roots
and that's what we see here mostly in America
These plants spread mostly by root fragments
Any little piece of the root that is
broken free from the plant can set up whole colonies by themselves
What most likely happened here is that down the river a ways
just a little bit broke off and over time they've been able -
The roots have spread throughout the land and into this area
and have created huge stands of this plant
And if you take a look over here you can also see
that some folks have tried to really...
tried to get rid of this plant
And in fact this is the second cutting they've done this year and it's still coming back in -
and really, the cuttings don't do much to keep it in check -
it just cuts them back and it still flourishes here
The root is where we find the medicine
I learned about six years ago from Stephen Buhner -
when he was writing the book "Healing Lyme"
that Japanese Knotweed was the most important herb in treating lyme disease
and since that time I -
in my herbal practice it has been the mainstay herb that I've been using
and with really great success with folks
Now the plant has been used for thousands of years in far east medicine
and is only now being sought after in the west for herbal medicine -
and mainly with the work that Buhner has done with lyme disease
The roundabout way we've learned more and more about Knotweed
is through the compounds that are found within the root
The most notable compound in Japanese Knotweed root is resveratrol -
resveratrol is an antioxidant that gained notoriety with the "French paradox" -
the study that found resveratrol to be the active component in preventing heart disease
and other degenerative diseases
and that was through looking at the diet of Europeans who ate
a rich, fatty diet, with the all-important red wine
And in that red wine was found resveratrol
and so that was the component that they found that was
helping prevent heart disease and other degenerative diseases
Not only does Knotweed have resveratrol, but it has many other compounds in it
that address various aspects of the body and healing
The most important piece of Knotweed for medicine is the root
and what I have done is harvest the root and cut it into pieces and dry it
and then further powder that and put it into capsules
That has been the easiest way for me to provide that for folks
Some people do make tinctures out of it -
though Buhner does not recommend that in the treatment of lyme disease -
so I haven't pursued that much
And you can always use it in it's raw form and make teas and decoctions out of it
by taking some of the roots, you know...
a few ounces at a time and adding that to a pot of water and boiling for a good twenty
or thirty minutes to extract these compounds from it
Another great potential for Japanese Knotweed
is it being a potential source for biomass for electricity and energy needs
and as you can see here grows prolifically
and often grows right along roadsides so it's easy to harvest
It grows inches a day and the potential of harvesting a few times a year is there
With simple alterations in equipment that's available already 0:06:33.129,06:38.499 these plants could be harvested and made use of for our energy needs -
and that is another potential for communities with this plant