He shou wu is a the prepared tuberous root of Polygonum multiflorum, a plant that grows in central and southern China. Based on Chinese medicine, it is considered a Jing tonic and is used to maintain youthful conditions, healthy hair, skin and liver.
This herb contains an alkaloid that has rejuvenating effects on the nerves, brain cells and endocrine glands. It helps to detoxify the body. Hair health, energy and sexual vigor are the products of this rejuvenation.
The lectins in fo-ti may affect fat levels in the blood, helping to prevent or delay heart disease by blocking the formation of plaques in blood vessels.
Note: Many Chinese herbs have legends that explain their names. The story of He Shou Wu is about a poor man, whose family name was “He”. He was quite sick during a time of famine and most of the people of his village had migrated to other regions where they could find temporary work. Mr. He was too sick to leave and there was little food left in his village, so he gathered and ate wild roots and plant material to keep from starving. One of these plants was Polygonum multiflorum, which had a bitter root not previously known by the villagers. Eating the root regularly, he regained his health and strength and gradually his complexion brightened and hair became black again, a sign of youthfulness. He went on to live a long life of vitality and the herb was named “He” (Mr. He) “Shou” (head) “Wu” (black or crow).
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