Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners
No author cited
Spring 2021

Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) has the unfortunate reputation of “invasive species” which means that there has been a concerted effort to eliminate it. In the process, we may be losing a valuable source of medicine.
Not only that but Japanese knotweed has been a food source for both human and animal foragers alike, and its tall, bamboo-like stalks make a dependable hedge. If it hasn’t been noticed before, it will surely be noticed in late summer when its profuse, lacy and fragrant flowers attract bees and other pollinators.
I first heard of its medicinal possibilities, especially in treating Lyme disease, when I read Stephen Buhner’s book “Healing Lyme: Natural Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections,” published in 2005. (An updated version is now available.) Native to Japan, Taiwan and Korea, knotweed, Buhner says, was introduced as an ornamental in 1825 to Britain and in the late 1800s to the U.S. It has naturalized in many parts of the world and is now known to be exceptionally hard to eradicate.

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