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Pharmaceutical name: Radix Polygoni Multiflori

Latin botanical name: Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.
Cynanchum Welfordii Hemsl. (The variety found in Korea )


Common Name: fleece flower root, fo-ti (a made up name in Hawaii, for commercial purposes)


Distribution:Henan, Hubei, Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Sichuan


Properties (characteristics):sheng shou wu (raw): astringent with some sweetness, mildly warm.

sheng shou wu (raw):bitter and with some sweetness, neutral.

Channels (meridians) entered: zhi shou wu (prepared): enters liver and kidney channels.

sheng shou wu (raw): enters liver, heart and large intestine channels.


Actions & Indications:

For yin deficiency or blood deficiency, treatment of hyperlipemia, neurasthenia, split personality, premature white hair, nerve injuries, skin wind rash, and constipation.

For relieve of heat toxicity (re du), treatment of eczema, sores, carbuncles, goiter, scrofula and inflammation of lymph nodes.

Secure essence (jing), treatment of spermatorrhea, vagina discharge, vulvovaginitis.

For qi deficiency (qixu) and blood deficency, treatment of chronic malaria.

Leaves (ye jiao teng) for external use on boils to expel pus.

Ye jiao teng can be used in decoction for calming effect.


Medical Function:

anti aging, improving immune system, alleviating serum cholesterol, reversing hardening of arteries, improving bowel movements, stimulating adrenal cortex, regulate epinephrine and norepenephrine, regulate blood sugar, protecting liver function, improving the development of red blood cells, inhibiting TB, diarrhea, influenza.

Dosage:9 to 30 g


Samples of formulae:

For split personality: he shou wu 90g, ye jiao teng 90g, hong zao 2-6 pieces. Boil with water and use as tea.

For premature white hair: zhi he shou wu, shu di huang 30g each, dang gui 15g . Soak in 1000cc of rice wine for 10-15 days. Use 15-30 c.c. per day.

For nerve injuries: 30 g of he shou wu. Boil in water. Take in the morning and at night for one month.

For malaria: he shou wu 12 g, gan cao 12 g. Make into decoction.

For blood deficient : ren shen yang rong tang


Modern Research:

He shou wu powder can lower the blood cholesterol, triglyceride, b-lipoprotein (LDL) of high lipid animals. They were lowered by 89%, 42%, and 54% respectively. The triglyceride of the liver was lowered by 52%.

The ingredient of he shou wu, 2,3,5,4'-tetrahydroxystibene-2O-b-D-glucoside possesses a strong inhibiting effect on fatty liver formation, and liver damage of rats caused by oxidized corn oil. It also inhibits the elevation of serum ALT, AST and lipid peroxydation (LPO), and the damaging of the liver.

He shou wu can lower serum free fatty acid and lipid peroxydation.

In vitro studies showed that he shou wu can protect liver, anti fatty liver formation because it can inhibit lipid oxydation and the destruction of liver cells.

He shou wu is being used in improving the function of the liver, in fatty liver, and in viral hepatitis.

Among the the 4 different kinds of prepared he shou wu, raw he shou wu possesses the strongest property in eliminating free radicals. The strength of the different preparation in eliminating free radicals is in the the following order: raw he shou wu, soy bean prepared he shou wu, steamed he shou wu, and soy plus alcohol prepared he shou wu.


Use caution in cases of spleen deficient (pixu). Not to use in presence of phlegm or diarrhea due to shenyangxu.

There are report that this herb has cause liver inflammation in some patients.



"Ben he shou wu" sold along the roadsides in Taiwan is huang yao zi, not he shou wu and is toxic. It cannot be taken frequently. Most locally grown products are usually added a prefix of "ben".

Toxicity of huang yao zi (not he shou wu)

The roots of huang yao and ling yu zi (the pearly sprouts under the leaves) contain toxin.

Over- consumption can cause burning sensation of the mouth and tongue, dripping of saliva, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constriction of pupils; if serious, cardiac paralysis, difficulty in breathing, coma and death.

Antidode: empty stomach, promote diarrhea, take egg white, or ge gen starch porridge, and activated carbon; drink cane sugar solution, or intra venous feeding of glucose solution. Taking mug bean soup or boil gang mei gen 250 grams with 5 bowls of water and simmer till 2 bowls and use as tea.


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