“The root of immortality”, He Shou Wu.
Polygonum multiflorum, aka He Shou Wu, has long been revered as one of the most vital longevity tonics within the Chinese and Daoist pharmacopeia. It has been highly sought out after since it was recorded as one of the most optimum vitality tonics by Daoist monks. Not only was it sought out for its longevity chemistry, it was regarded an important “jing” tonic, loosely translating to vitality tonic. There are extensive writings within ancient Daoist medicine that speak on herbs, like He Shou Wu, that enhance not only our ability to thrive, they often share the ability to unlock our psyche, stimulating primordial awareness.
Technically this root was found by this old and weak man that had fallen asleep in the forest after a long night of drinking. He woke up next to a giant He Shou Wu vine that was curling around a tree. Something about the shape of the plant struck him as unique, so he began to dig out the root. He took it to the village to see if anyone knew about it, coming to see that no one had ever seen it before. A local healer suggested he consumed it to see the effects for himself. He prepared it by cooking for a long time, preparing like a stew along with black beans. He consumed daily as a food, coming to see that he began feeling better than ever. He became strong, his hair turned from gray to black, and he managed to father a child after technically being impotent and sterile for centuries! Some sources say he became father of many more children, and lived up to 160 years old! The mans name was He Tianer, for which the herbs was named He Shou Wu, meaning “Mr. He’s Black Hair.” alluding to its potent capacity to rejuvenate!
A POTENT REJUVENATION TONIC
This root is a deeply nourishing and rejuvenative super tonic. In Chinese Medicine its considered a kidney jing tonic – kidneys being the battery packs of the body and jing being the primary essence in Oriental medicine. For those of us that live a stressful lifestyle (physical +/or emotional) this root is said to replenish and tonight the kidneys, meaning it restores our life’s essence. Its deep purifying action on the kidneys, and other organs - particularly the Liver, it is associated to cleanse the body to access intuition. On an external level, the root has long been reputed to strengthen the nails and restore natural hair color, boost collagen receptors, clear the skin, and more.
TOP 6 CLINICALLY PROVEN HEALING BENEFITS
1. Abolishes Free Radicals
He Shou Wu is an excellent source of iron and zinc and is believed to raise the SOD (super oxide dismutase) levels in the body, which assist in clearing free radicals from the system. [R]
2. Protects the Bones from Oxidative Stress
Hot water extract of Fo-ti prevents bone loss (osteopenia) from mice with that lose bone mass from having their ovaries removed [R].
3. Neuroprotective + Sexual Health
Like many adaptogens, this powerful tonic can be potent yet gentle. It stimulates and harmonizes adrenal function promoting balance to the endocrine system. As mentioned above, its restorative action on the kidneys, is what is known in Daoist medicine as “vital essence” — refering to the primordial energy that fuels life, sexuality and drive in general. He Shou wu increases kidney and adrenal jing which is what is believed to be the reservoir for our energy. This is where its magic essentially lies as an adaptogenic powerhouse, making He Shou Wu an excellent conductor to our endocrine system, along with its balancing action on our nervous system. [ R,R ]
4. Promotes good immune function
The sugars (rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, and glucose) and anthraquinone glycosides found within Fo-ti can improve immune response and overall immune system function (immunomodulatory effect).
Fo-ti boosts the immune system by increasing the production of T and B cells, and improving the activities of the immune cells, as well as increasing the secretion of the inflammatory tumor necrosis factor.
5. Promotes hair, nail, skin and bone health
This traditional benefits that please our aesthetic-based desired have been substantiated by many studies, one being a study conducted in mice showing that P. multiflorum extracts promote hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in resting hair follicles [R]. Along with the bone strengthening abilities it has as mentioned above. Torachrysone-8-O-β-D-glucoside, a compound found in P. multiflorum, can significantly increase the number of dermal papilla cells which play a role in hair growth and hair fiber length [R].
Due to its longevity promoting nature, including the superoxide dismutase, which is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants to the human body, its precisely the anti-oxidant that has been credited for reversing dis-eases, increasing immune protection and lifespan [R]
6. Help prevent Cancer
These anthraquinones induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells and activate the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways which are abnormal in many human cancers [R,R].Emodin and aloe-emodin can inhibit cell growth (by inhibiting apoptosis) of human cervical cancer cells, human tongue cancer cells, neuroblastoma cells, and melanoma cells [R].
It all depends the kind of He Shou Wu you have. Personally I wouldn't recommend the un-cured product as it tends to loosen the stools too much. Be sure to only use the traditionally cured root powders. 1/2-1tsp of the regular powders you find in the market is whats suggested.
Potential Side Effects:
The most known toxicity is how overuse could cause hepatoxicity [R]. The main chemicals responsible for the hepatotoxicity of P. multiflorum are free anthraquinones such as emodin and physcion [R]. Kidney and Lung toxicity has been observed after long term use, also in very high doses. It's not recommended during pregnancy as it may interfere with embryonic development.