This is one of those holy roots that has a whole lot of documented uses since ancient times, as well as being revered by the modern scientific community. He Shou Wu, Polygonum multiflorum, is a popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine. Commonly known as He shou wu in China and Fo-ti in North America, studies have shown this herb to be beneficial in the treatment of cancer, supporting diabetes, hair loss, hardening of the arteries, and neurodegenerative diseases. Traditionally, it's also revered as a spiritual herb, known amongst monks and healers to boost spiritual potency.
Healing Benefits of He Shou Wu found in scientific studies:
*written by Joe Cohen:
- Anti-inflammatory: The TSG and emotion in Fo-Ti has been studied for its decrease in inflammation. Emodin protects microglia cells in the brain from inflammation due to lipopolysaccharides through AMPK/Nrf2 activation [R].
- Promotes Immune Function: The sugars (rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, and glucose) and anthraquinone glycosides found within Fo-ti can improve immune response and overall immune system function (immunomodulatory effect). Fo-ti boosts the immune system by increasing the production of T and B cells, and improving the activities of the immune cells, as well as increasing the secretion of the inflammatory tumor necrosis factor. Further, Fo-ti increases the activity of natural killer (NK) cells [R, R].
- Protects the bones from oxidative stress: TSG from Fo-ti extract protects the bone-making cells (osteoblasts) from oxidative damage in a cell-based study, suggesting that TSG may protect against osteoporosis due to oxidative stress [R].
- Protects tissue oxygenation in Diabetes: 2,3,5,4′-Tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-β-d-glucoside protects against kidney damage from high blood sugar in diabetic mice through SIRT1 and TGF-beta1 pathways [R, R].
- Neuroprotective effect: Studies show that it may help with Alzheimers Disease
Tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside helps slow down age-related memory loss in rats [R].In a cell-based study, treatment with a Fo-ti root extract reduced amyloid plaque that can cause Alzheimer‘s disease [R].
Potential side effects:
The best-known toxicity of P. multiflorum is the induction of hepatotoxicity (liver damage) when used in very high consistent doses.
Several cases of hepatotoxicity due to P. multiflorum have been reported in patients from Australia, China, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Slovakia who were taking the product for hair loss, chronic prostatitis or to boost the immune system [R, R, R, R].
The main chemicals responsible for the hepatotoxicity of P. multiflorumare free anthraquinones such as emodin and physcion [R].