Fo-Ti (Ho Shu Wu)


Also known as Polygonum multiflorumho shou wu, fleeceflower vine, and polygonum flower. 

Introduction  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fo-Ti is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. The literal English translation of its name is "vine to pass through the night." With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste, Fo-ti was thought to unblock the channels of energy through the body, allowing the escape of the pathogenic influences that cause generalized weakness, soreness, pain, and fatigue. The plant is also used as a wash for itching and skin rashes. Another use of the herb is bringing color back to graying hair. The Chinese nickname for the herb, ho shou wu, literally means "Mr. He's Black Hair," Mr. He being a man of Chinese legend who restored his youth and sexual potency by taking Fo-Ti tea. Chinese tradition teaches that the herb should be used by itself or cooked in the water used to cook black beans for this purpose. 

Constituents  Chrysophanic acid, chrysophanol, emodin. 

Parts Used  Two varieties are known. Traditional Chinese medicine call for a Fo-Ti which is cured in a traditional black bean sauce, however there is also a form known as "White Fo-Ti" which is the uncured and raw root which is firm, coarse, and light brown or beige in color. The variety used by Wondrous Roots, Inc. is cured in the black bean sauce according to Chinese standards. 

Typical Preparations  Teas and tinctures. Traditionally combined with jujubes and/or biota to treat insomnia. Sometimes found in capsule form. 

Summary Fo Ti is a remedy that is vitally important to Chinese herbology. In China, it is named ‘He Shou Wu’ (or ‘Black Haired Mr. He’), after a village elder who took it and was miraculously restored to youthful vitality. In Asian medicine it plays an important role in balancing all the systems in your body, with particular focus on the immune system. 

In modern herbology, Fo Ti has a variety of uses, including treatment for high cholesterol, constipation and erectile disfunction (ED). However, it is most important as a tonic for good health, vitality and youthfulness; hence in China it is very popular amongst the elderly.* 

The traditional indication for Fo-Ti is insomnia with nightmares. Fo-Ti is a mild stimulant to estrogen production in women, making it appropriate for treating a variety of undesirable symptoms in menopause. 

Precautions  Not to be used while pregnant. Excessive use may cause gastro-intestinal upset and diarrhea. 


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.   

This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. *