Fo ti root (polygonum multiflorum), or also called Ho (He) Shou Wu, is one of the most important traditional Chinese "longevity herbs", classified under the system of major Chinese tonic herbs.
Ho Sho Wu is a famous tonic adaptogen that modulates the hormone system and tonifies the kidneys. It is #1 “Jing” herb/root, one of the 3 treasures in TCM considered to be the "root of our vitality." It provides deep nourishment, via Jing essence, to the body, especially working through the kidney and liver systems.
Polygonum multiflorum is one of the main ingredients in the patent longevity herbal formula, Shou Wu Chih, originally developed by the well known herbalist Moo San Do Sha.
Fo ti root is known for its ability to concentrate tremendous amounts of life-force into its root system. When these roots are consumed, it provides high portions of "Chi" to kidney, liver and blood, reviving and replenishing on deep levels.
Fo ti root is specific for building strength in the kidneys and is essential for those with "kidney yin deficiency" or those who suffer from fatigue and weakness. The root is also well known for its effects at strengthening the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Fo ti, or Ho Shou Wu, is calming to the mind and relaxes kidney stress associated with the premature graying of hair. It is a famous restorative root and anti-aging tonic herb for transforming hair color back to its natural state. Ho Shou Wu literally translates as "Black Haired Mr. He."
The liver is the "master detoxifier", constantly filtering the blood of physical and environmental toxins. It is the major organ responsible for the state of the blood in the body.
The blood that runs through our bodies is like the system of rivers that nurtures and feeds the earth. When it is running clean and unobstructed it, in turn, feeds and nourishes our body.
Polygonum multiflorum provides a gentle liver detox, purifies, builds the blood and is known to clear redness from the eyes (a sign of liver stagnation). Research indicates that it raises SOD (superoxide dismutase) levels, a powerful natural antioxidant. In addition, one of the active ingredients in Fo-ti is a glucoside called TSG, which also provides potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.
Ho Shou Wu Benefits:
My favorite way to use the root is to decoct it by simmering it for 20 minutes or more in water, usually with other herbs.
It is important to get "prepared" fo ti when purchasing the dried root. This ensures you get all the benefits when making a tea. You can purchase 1 lb dried root at Mountain Rose Herbs by clicking the banner to the right. They are the best prices for high quality herbs. I recommend buying your herbs by the pound. It is cheaper in the long run to buy in bulk quantities and it gives you a large supply to keep up your tea making habits.
Side Effects: The only known side effect from taken larger quantities of Fo-ti extract or tea is that is can have laxative effects and in some cases cause loose stools. This is extremely rare, but if so, cut back on dose and consider adding other herbs for the formula.
You can also use powdered herbal extracts or tinctures. The best company in my opinion for high quality tonic extracts is Dragon Herbs. You can purchase a bottle by clicking the image link to the left.
Let your intuition, as well as logic, be your guide in choosing to bring this powerful herb into your life. Perhaps there are other herbs better suited for your needs and health goals. From my experience, however, most people could use more fo-ti running through their cells. Its not on the top 10 superfood list for nothing!