He Shou WuPolygonum multiflorum
• Fo Ti
The name of this herb literally means "Black-haired Mr. He," in reference to an ancient story of a Mr. He who restored his vitality, sexual potency, and youthful appearance by taking the herb now named after him. He shou wu is widely used in China for the traditional purpose of restoring black hair and other signs of youth.
What Is He Shou Wu Used for Today?
He shou wu is widely marketed today as a general anti-aging
Finally, He shou wu has a traditional reputation as a mild
A typical dose of He shou wu is 3 g of the raw herb 3 times daily, or according to the label for processed extracts. For most purposes, the processed or "red" fo ti is said to be superior. However, the raw herb is said to be more effective for constipation.
Detailed modern safety studies have not been performed on this herb. Immediate side effects are infrequent, primarily limited to mild diarrhea and the rare allergic reaction. Safety for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe kidney or liver disease has not been established.
Case reports relate use of a popular He shou wu product to liver inflammation.
However, it is not clear whether He shou wu herb itself was responsible;
4. Yim TK, Wu WK, Pak WF, et al. Myocardial protection against ischaemia-reperfusion injury by a Polygonum multiflorum extract supplemented 'Dang-Gui decoction for enriching blood', a compound formulation, ex vivo . Phytother Res. 2000;14:195-199.
8. National Toxicology Program. NTP technical report on the toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of emodin. Research Triangle Park, NC: National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services; June 2001. NIH publication 01-3952.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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