Japanese knotweed, which is native to eastern Asia and recognized by the International Plant Names Index as “Polygonum cuspidatum”, has been used in traditional medicine systems for thousands of years.
It’s known as Zhuyang plant in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is often prescribed in combination with other TCM plants as an herb to treat a variety of health conditions, including coughs and liver issues.
While it may offer a few health benefits, little conclusive evidence is known about its safety or potential side effects. This article tells you everything you need to know about Japanese knotweed, from its nutrition to its potential health benefits.
Table of Contents
What is Japanese knotweed?
Japanese knotweed also goes by different names, such as Fallopia japonica, Reynoutria japonica (R. japonica), and Polygonum cuspidatum (P.cuspidatum). This plant native to Japan, China, North and South Korea, Europe, the U.S., and Canada is threatening the environments of those regions because it is highly invasive and hard to control.
This concern has led to it being designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Invasive Alien Species as one of the top 100 most invasive alien species in the world.
Compounds found in Japanese knotweed
TCM practitioners prescribe the roots of Japanese knotweed because they provide concentrated sources of therapeutic plant compounds. For example, Japanese knotweed has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and neuroprotective qualities. The most studied compounds of Japanese knotweed rhizomes are emodin and resveratrol.
Research shows that these two compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as other benefits such as reducing inflammation and offering neuroprotection. Additionally, extracts from various parts of the Japanese knotweed plant may also offer therapeutic benefits.
Does Japanese knotweed have health benefits?
Japanese knotweed is a plant which has been used in traditional medicine to treat both physical and mental conditions for centuries. It has also been suggested that this may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol, which is found within the plant’s leaves.
When looking at human studies, most of them are either incidental (i.e. a single person took Japanese knotweed supplements one time and observed any noted benefits), or are used in small populations of people with certain health problems like ulcerative colitis, inflammation and vascular injury where people have taken Japanese knotweed supplements as a treatment in the past without any notable changes in the number of inflammatory markers — so far, no conclusive evidence supports its use as an anti-inflammatory compound.
Is Japanese knotweed safe?
There’s currently no research investigating the effects of Japanese knotweed supplements, but the toxicity or safety of Hu Zhang granules — a type of prescription medication that includes Japanese knotweed as well as other ingredients including angelica and notopterygium which may help with inflammation in gouty arthritis and may identify side effects related to the ingestion of Japanese knotweed — is currently being researched in Shanghai by scientists.
The study will investigate the efficacy and safety of the treatment, so it could lead to recommending an appropriate dose for individuals with formulary-covered symptoms.
To reiterate, there haven’t been any serious side effects reported when taking products containing Japanese knotweed, despite limited human evidence that supports this claim.
However, it is important to note that few studies have been conducted on human subjects, so it is risky to take without doing some research into possible risks associated with this herbal supplement.
If you decide that you want to take a supplement such as Hu Zhang granules containing Japanese knotweed though, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider first and get more details about possible risks from their perspective before making a personal decision.
There is currently no research investigating either the safety or toxicity of Japanese knotweed supplements. In fact, a study in progress investigating the effects of Hu Zhang granules in people with gouty arthritis is coming soon. Hu Zhang granules is a TCM prescription that contains Japanese knotweed and 11 other ingredients including Angelica and Newopterygium.
The study will investigate the efficacy and safety of the treatment and may help identify side effects from ingestion of Japanese knotweed. It’s important to note that Japanese knotweed has been used in TCM for thousands of years without serious side effects (including those from supplementation), but it hasn’t been associated with serious side effects yet, so you should consult your healthcare provider first before taking it.
If you’re interested in taking Japanese knotweed, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider first before taking it. If you do decide to take Japanese Knotweed, there are some potential risks, including medication interactions and adverse side effects.
There are also not enough studies on dosage and side effects to let you know if it can be safely consumed by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, children under 13 years old, or those with conditions that could affect their reactions to this
The bottom line
Thousands of traditional medicines have used Japanese knotweed for its medicinal properties. Though some evidence suggests that it provides anti-inflammatory benefits, there have been no studies to fully understand its effects on your health. If you’re interested in using Japanese knotweed supplements, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider who has experience helping with herbal remedies. Their advice can help determine whether Japanese knotweed is safe, effective and healthy for your diet and lifestyle.
Japanese knotweed has been used for thousands of years as a treatment in traditional medicine systems. Although the evidence from human, rat and test-tube studies suggests that it provides anti-inflammatory benefits and other therapeutic effects, more research is needed to fully understand its safety and effects on your health.
If you’re interested in using Japanese knotweed products, you’ll want to check with a healthcare provider familiar with herbal supplements. They can help determine whether Japanese knotweed supplements are safe, effective, and healthy additions to your diet and lifestyle.