Fo-Ti a.k.a. Ho She Wu

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.

References:

University of Michigan http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2092003

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra. 1998. Pocket Books, New York.

The Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra. 1997.  The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA.

Prescriptions for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch.2012 2nd Edition, Avery. New York.

HerbWisdom.com http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-fo-ti-root.html

Astragalus

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a traditional Chinese herb used as a powerful immune enhancer and energy booster. Astragalus is a member of the pea family native to China, Asia and parts of the U.S. The root is used as a Qi replenisher (Qi is our life force or vital energy), to prevent illness and aids in the recovery of infections.

The Chinese consider Astragalus as a “warming” tonic herb that works without adding heat to the body, it actually can cool a fever. Astragalus is a valued digestive tonic (good for the spleen),diuretic, adaptogen (helps us handle stress) and can heighten our immune system. Great for colds and flu as it also works as an antiviral by boosting our bodies own natural defenses. Many studies have been done with this herb’s ability to protect the liver by reducing the side effects of many drugs, chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus extracts have been shown to restore immuno-compromised cells from cancer patients and can even extend the lifespan of human cells in vitro.

Astragalus is sold as teas, capsules and tinctures. In Asia, it is usually made into a soup or broth along with other vegetables and herbs. It is fairly non-toxic, safe and very mild, tasty too! Drink this root as a decoction tea and combine with other herbs such as Licorice, Ginger, Ho shou wu (Fo-Ti) and Don Shen (Codonopsis).

If you are looking for energizing, restorative tea blends you can find them at Ubiquitous Journey www.ubjourney.com in Puyallup, WA or online at blog.thepondpad.com.

See my other blogs on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or take one of my free herbal classes.  Call Ubiquitous Journey at 253-445-6128 or email herbalelements@comcast.net for more details and to sign up.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.