Ho shou wu (Fo Ti)

HO SHOU WU (Polygonum multiflorum)

Family: Polygonaceae

Parts commonly used: Root.

Properties/energetics: Rejuvenative tonic, alterative, diuretic, laxative/Warm, moist; bitter, sweet, astringent.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, kidneys, musculoskeletal, reproductive, cardiovascular.

Uses: This herb helps normalize the action of the kidneys and liver. It restores energy, maintaining strength, vitality, and fertility in those individuals advancing in years. Ho shou wu is a renowned rejuvenating tonic that can be taken over a long time and is best used this way to help retain youthfulness. Its recurrent use builds healthy blood and sperm, strengthens the lower back and knees, and alleviates insomnia, nocturnal emission, and impotence, while strengthening bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. As well, the long-term use of Ho shou wu counters the effects of aging, preventing prematurely graying hair, withered skin, and blurred vision, and it moistens the intestines, helping relieve constipation caused by dryness.

Affects on specific body types: Ho shou wu (also referred to as Fo ti and He shou wu) is a safe, nontoxic herb that helps prevent and relieve symptoms of physical deficiency. This quality, coupled with its moistening, laxative effect on the colon, positions it an ideal tonic for the Seer constitutional type. Its eccentric properties that counter premature aging are obviously appropriate for all types. However, among its repertoire of longevity-supportive talents, it has the ability to increase blood circulation through the heart, which ultimately mobilizes cholesterol, preventing its deposit as plaque along the arterial walls. This action suggests that Ho shou wu is a particularly effectual tonic for the Warrior cardiovascular system.

Preparations/dosage: Decoction: 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water simmered in a glass (not steel) container; take 1/2 to 1 cup two times a day. Tincture: 30 to 50 drops three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition