If you've read my other blog Ruston Farm, then you know that we have been struggling with a yard partially overrun with Japanese Knotweed. Its long, brittle roots have spun out across our entire front yard. This non-native weed is tenacious, frustrating and incredibly difficult to get rid of. It is also a Chinese herb.

Well, it's closely related to a Chinese herb at least. Still, I have had difficulty reconciling my gardener's disgust for the weed and the wonder I feel towards a very effective herb.

He Shou Wu: Also known as the root of polygonum multiflorum. This is a wonderful herb that can nourish the blood and tonify the essence. Commonly used in formulas to help counteract hair loss or greying hair. Because of the rich nature of He Shou Wu, it can be difficult for some people to digest.

Ye Jiao Teng: Also known as the stem of polygonum multiforum. Tonifies the blood, moves the blood. This is a wonderful herb that helps manage pain by increasing the circulation of blood and qi. It is also commonly used to help with insomnia. I love this herb, perhaps even more the He Shou Wu because it is easier for people to digest and sleep is so important!

So, what do I think you should do if you have invasive knotweed in your yard? Get rid of it! I know, I just espoused all of its virtues, but this is one plant that I think is better off being cultivated in its native environment where it is less likely to take over. Our native plants have unique value too and having them be strangled out by knotweed limits our biodiversity and medicinal options.

If you need help with your knotweed problem, read this great handout from King County. You can also talk to the helpful folks at Pierce County Conservation . I met them a few weeks ago at the South Sound Sustainability Expo and they are very willing to give advice and help with your knotweed project.

Good luck!


Pulling up knotweed