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Resveratrol in Japanese Knotweed (polygonum cuspidatum)

Updated on September 5, 2011
Japanese knotweed (P. cuspidatum)
Japanese knotweed (P. cuspidatum)

If you look at the labels on most resveratrol supplements, you will not find grape or wine extracts, despite these beverages' association with the anti-aging, healthful compound. Instead, you'll see a curious source for resveratrol: Japanese knotweed ( Polygonum cuspidatum).  Huh? Not a common part of your daily diet? Never finished off a plate of braised knotweed with a swig of 2008 knotweed wine?

Well, you're not alone, but there's nothing to worry about. Japanese knotweed is a common plant (some might even say invasive plant, or weed) that is exceptionally cheap to cultivate but which is very high in naturally-occurring resveratrol

Grapes, grape juice, and wine, the last especially, are generally far more expensive sources of resveratrol than knotweed, which, if processed properly, produces the exact same natural resveratrol (including the bioactive trans-resveratrol) as the sweet, red fruit and wine.

Are there any drawbacks to getting your resveratrol from knotweed? There is one, possibly: knotweed also has a high concentration of a substance called emodin, a natural laxative. So, along with your resveratrol, unpurified Japanese knotweed extracts will also help you "stay regular." In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, knotweed is called hu zhang, and is prescribed for constipation.

Otherwise, knotweed is used by beekeepers as a great source of nectar for honeybees, and its stalks can even be eaten much like rhubarb, although its high levels of oxalic acid (a natural substance, in spinach and other foods as well, that can aggravate kidney stones) and emodin should caution anyone to consume it in moderation.

So, is there any reason to avoid resveratrol from Japanese knotweed in favor of wine, grapes, or other sources? Absolutely not, unless you have a very sensitive stomach and don't need anything with an even mild laxative effect added to your diet.

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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Excellent information that I did not know. Thanks for this good hub.

    • Life at DrTom's profile image

      Life at DrTom's 

      8 years ago from Ithaca, NY

      Geesh, don't encourage people to cultivate this pest. It has taken over the banks of major rivers in the Northeast, and it is extremely aggressive. There is so much of it out there, simply harvest that.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      They are trying to eliminate this plant as an invasive weed in the UK. I never knew it had this use though. A very informative hub!

    • profile image

      Vita 

      8 years ago

      Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) is very invasive. l would suggest you find it growing locally rather than planting it. l live in upstate NY and it is everywhere once you learn to recognize it. l have eaten the young shoots and juiced them, they have a rather lemony flavor.

    • Medical Writer profile image

      Medical Writer 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Can this grow anywhere.

    • Louis Taylor profile image

      Louis Taylor 

      8 years ago from UK

      Any source how to grow the knotweed? Im a gardener, wouldnt mind trying it :)

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      sounds like a win win situation here. . I think I am just going to have to try some Japanese Knotweed. Thanks for sharing this. . great info!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      Cool hub! I learned a lot about what I should and shouldn't be consuming. Thanks for some great information.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Pcunix: Yes, they are - good point.

      Jstankevicz: Maybe not so appealing...but who knows! I'm waiting to see it on a menu somewhere...

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 

      8 years ago from Cave Creek

      "eaten much like rhubarb..." hmmm, I'm picturing a slice of strawberry/knotwood pie ... thanks for the resveratrol insights!

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      8 years ago from SE MA

      Peanuts are an inexpensive source of resveratol and many, many other important nutrients/micro nutrients.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Nothing wrong with that! ;-)

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 

      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks for the info....of course, I would rather drink wine. Oh well.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      You're quite welcome!

    • scla profile image

      scla 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you for pointing out additional products that contain Resveratrol. Good to know additional sources of this anti-aging product.

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