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Fo Ti Root

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Fo Ti Root(Polygoni multiflori, He Shou Wu)

Fo ti root is known as fleece flower in English. It has long been used as a remedy for many ailments in China. It is said to be the "Elixir of Life" and is credited with keeping a person vigorous and extending their life span. In China its most famous quality is that of a longevity herb. Over the centuries, it has acquired a reputation of being a rejuvenator, youth preserver and sexual tonic. In traditional Chinese medicine it is commonly used for vaginal discharges, infectious diseases, premature aging, angina and impotence.


This is a prolifically grown plant in Eastern Asia. It grows along streams and in the valley thickets in Malaysia, China and other countries in the region. Growing over 4 ½ meters in height, it flowers from September through October. It grows well in light shade or full sun and requires a moist soil.

Uses of Fo ti Root

Western medicine has adapted Fo ti Root for use in treating constipation, lymph node tuberculosis and cancer. When in tonic form, it is used for liver and kidney function. It is said to nourish muscles, bones and tendons as well as being a toner. Low back pain, knee pain and weakness, dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia and hyperlipidemia are among the other ailments used by Western Medicine. The antimicrobial properties act against malaria and other micro bacteria.

Often, the root is used in its unprocessed form. It is also commonly boiled in a liquid made with black beans. The unprocessed root ‘white Fo-Ti" differs from the "Red To-Fi" which is processed.

Although the whole root is credited with lowering cholesterol and is being investigated as to the benefits related to the immune system. Antibacterial qualities and red cell formation, the individual components have yet to be analyzed.

When used for the treatment of constipation, there are two types of the root that is used. One is processed, the other is not. The root is steamed for 12 hours, after which it dries in the sun for 8 hours. The process can be used for up to thirty-two hours later. The cured root is steamed for 32 hours, according to recent Chinese literature. Western literature does not distinguish between the unprocessed and the processed. Recent studies in China have also demonstrated liver protectant, antimicrobial and cholesterol reducing qualities in the root.

Benefits of Fo ti Root

According to the traditional Oriental herbalists, the benefits of the unprocessed root are very different from those of the processed root. They state that the processed root will provide a superior medicine as compared to the unprocessed. Another factor considered by the Chinese herbalists is the age of the root. They feel that the older roots are superior in their qualities to the younger roots. This makes the older roots more expensive and in demand.

More recent studies have indicated that one of the alkaloids in the rood have rejuvenating effects on the endocrine system, brain cells and nerves. By stimulating the adrenal gland it will help to detoxify the body, rejuvenate sexual vigor, hair health and energy. The value of increasing the energy makes it popular with athletes in China, especially body builders.

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