Unraveling the Intrigues of Japanese Knotweed: What You Need to Know

Japanese knotweed is a perennial herb that’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It’s also believed to contain bioactive compounds that benefit human health. This article covers what you need to know about Japanese knotweed, its compounds, and the research on its potential health benefits.

What Is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a perennial plant native to Asia that was first introduced to the United States in the 1800s as an ornamental plant. Despite its invasive nature, it has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries.

What Compounds Does It Have?

Japanese knotweed contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols and antioxidants. It is also high in resveratrol, a compound associated with antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and heart-protective benefits.

Beyond this, the most notable compounds in Japanese knotweed include:

● Phenolic acids
● Stilbenes
● Flavones

Does Japanese Knotweed Have Health Benefits?

Japanese knotweed has been used for centuries to treat different ailments, including:

● Inflammation
● Jaundice
● Hyperlipidemia
● Skin burns

It also contains compounds believed to have pharmacological effects, such as flavonoids, stilbenes, and anthraquinones. However, research on the possible medicinal benefits of Japanese knotweed is extremely limited. This is because studies have been primarily conducted in laboratory settings rather than on humans. While these studies have been helpful, human research is still necessary before Japanese knotweed can be recommended as an effective alternative medicine.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Japanese knotweed is used for treating certain viral infections. However, there is no sufficient scientific evidence to support this.

Is Japanese Knotweed Safe?

Japanese knotweed is generally safe, but it can cause side effects, and specific precautions need to be taken. Due to very few human trials, there is insufficient information on the herb’s safety. That said, it’s reassuring that it has been used for several years in TCM with no reports of adverse effects.

However, some of the compounds in Japanese knotweed have known potential side effects. For instance, resveratrol does not cause side effects with short-term use, but long-term use can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.


Japanese knotweed is a perennial herb that might have medicinal benefits. However, there is no sufficient scientific evidence to support this claim. The plant is mainly considered safe, but you may need to avoid it as some compounds can cause specific side effects. You must consult your doctor before using Japanese knotweed to know if it’s right for you.