Fo-Ti aka Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum multiflorum syn. Fallopia multiflorum ) is a trailing vine with small heart-shaped leaves native to China but also growing in Japan ,Taiwan and in areas of North Carolina. Western Herbalists call it “Fo-Ti” in Asia it is referred to as “Ho She Wu or Ho Shou Wu” which literally means “black haired Mr. He”.
In Chinese Medicine, the unprocessed root- referred to as “white fo-ti”- is sometimes used as a mild laxative and as a blood detoxifier. The processed root- referred to as “red fo-ti” is what is typically found in the US- is commonly used to strengthen the blood; tonify the liver & kidneys and as an overall vitality tonic. Fo-Ti has a warming energy with a bitter , slightly sweet & acrid taste.
The Chinese name for Fo-Ti, seen as either- Ho Shou Wu or Ho She Wu- is named after a Tang dynasty man who was reputably cured from infertility by taking Fo-Ti. His long life, thick black hair and vitality has been believed to be attributed to this herb. Chinese legends boasts that when Fo-Ti is taken for one year-the 50-year-old root restores black hair; the 150-year-old root causes new teeth to grow in the elderly and the 300-year-old root yields earthly mortality. Chung Yun, a famous Chinese Herbalist, supposedly lived to be 256 years old, was taking Fo-Ti on a daily basis.
So as far as current scientific studies are concerned, it has been shown that large doses taken over a long period of time can improve immunity and may decrease cholesterol levels. Unproven, at least scientifically, is that Fo-Ti has been used successfully in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an immune enhancing herb, as a longevity tonic and for numerous sexual dysfunctions (erectile dysfunction & infertility). Western Herbalists suggest it’s use as a rejuvenating tonic helping to restore energy & vigor; prematurely gray hair, senility, angina and as a strengthener for the blood, adrenals, liver and kidneys. Fo-Ti may also be helpful for those battling anorexia or drug addictions; dizziness / blurred vision and insomnia.
The daily dose of Fo-Ti ranges from 4-8 grams or 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons or 4-5 500 mg of capsules 2-3 times a day. Doses higher than 15mg can cause numbness in arms and legs. If you do not like taking capsules, the powdered herb can be added into smoothies, yogurt or other foods/liquids.
As with all herbs, there may be interactions with specific medications. Check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking. Or you can consult with an herbalist, like myself to see if this is an herb that may benefit you.
This article is for educational purposes only, not intended to treat or diagnosis any disease. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA.
University of Michigan http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2092003
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Prescriptions for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch.2012 2nd Edition, Avery. New York.