Polygonum Root - He Shou Wu
Products Featuring This Herb:
Polygonum Root Extract Powder 200 grams
Polygonum Root Extract Powder 1 kilogram
Polygonum Root Extract Powder 5 kilograms
Gecko Rockclimber Drops
Hair & Nails
He Shou Wu
Shou Wu Formulation
Super Pill No.2
Super Yang Jing Drops
Seven Treasures for Hair
Shen Classic Tea
Positive Energy Capsules
Other Common Names
Polygonum, Shou Wu and sometimes erroneously as Fo Ti
Page # In Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs
Radix Polygoni Multiflori
He Shou Wu
Essence and blood
Bitter, sweet and pungent
Organ Meridian Systems
Liver and Kidney
Part Used and Form
As a tonic to the kidney and liver functions, toning up the vital essence and blood, fortifying the muscles, tendons and bones and to prevent premature aging, maintaining the youthful condition and color of the hair, strengthening sperm and ova, fortifying the back and knees and as the premier longevity herb of Chinese tonic herbalism.
Prepared Polygonum is one of the most important and widely used Chinese tonic herbs. It shares the position as the primary essence tonic of Chinese herbalism with Goji.
Constant consumption of this famous “longevity herb”, also known as He Shou Wu, is said in the Orient to help return an aging person to youthfulness. It is a classic Yin essence (Jing) tonic, as well as a major blood tonic. It is said to increase energy and to clean the blood. Polygonum is believed to be a powerful sexual tonic when consumed regularly. Polygonum is widely believed in China to increase sperm production in men and to increase fertility in women. Polygonum is used in almost all tonics that are believed in the Orient to nurture the hair and teeth.
Polygonum is tonic to the kidney and liver functions. It is a potent and sure fire yin essence tonic. As such it strengthens the tendons, ligaments and bones and prevents premature aging. It reputedly has the capacity to return gray hair to black. This is one of its most popular attributes and is used throughout Asia for this purpose.
It is also capable of increasing sperm and making the ova more vital. It is therefore considered to be a primary fertility-enhancing herb. Many men have claimed that consuming Polygonum has noticeably increased their sperm production. One client of mine, who was trying to impregnate his wife, told me that after taking Polygonum for one month that his sperm count had tripled, according to lab tests. Polygonum is likewise famous for increasing the fertility of women. Traditionally this herb is said to increase essence and blood. This combination of attributes indicates that it would increase fertility in a woman, since essence and blood are the two necessary qualities required to bare a child. Both men and women attempting to have children take Polygonum.
Another attribute of the herb, associated with its Kidney and Liver tonic effects, is its ability to strengthen the lower back, the knees and tendons, ligaments and bones throughout the body. Therefore Polygonum is not only useful for maintaining youthfulness but also for providing added strength to the body. It is also used to strengthen muscle. Polygonum is therefore very widely used by athletes and martial artists in Asia. It is a perfect essence tonic for the athletically inclined, providing strength, resilience and stamina to the body. Alone, or properly combined with other tonic herbs, Polygonum is an ideal longevity-promoting, anti-aging tonic herb.
Polygonum multiflorum had a calming effect on the hearts of various laboratory animals. Laboratory animals who were fed Polygonum multiflorum showed fewer atherosclerotic lesions and lower blood cholesterol levels than animals of the control group fed with cholesterol only. Clinical evidence supports the moderate anti-hypercholesterolemia effect of Polygonum multiflorum.
Because of Polygonum multiflorum’s reputation as an anti-aging and longevity herb, various studies have been conducted to determine the nature of this activity. Studies have demonstrated that various laboratory animals fed Polygonum multiflorum in their diets lived longer than control animals.
Research has demonstrated that Polygonum multiflorum can very significantly increase superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. SOD is a powerful natural antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been demonstrated to have powerful anti-aging benefits in humans. Polygonum multiflorum also inhibits bmonoamine oxidase (bMAO). Both of these factors contribute to the anti-aging effects of this herb.
Polygonum multiflorum has been demonstrated to help strengthen the membranes of erythrocytes (red blood cells) and to promote the growth and development of erythrocytes. Polygonum multiflorum has been found to induce the production in human beings of g-interferon.
Polygonum multiflorum is being used clinically in China for patients suffering from Schizophrenia. It is generally combined with Shen stabilizing herbs such as Ziziphus and Polygonum stem. Reportedly, results have been good.
The tuberous root, the part of the plant used herbally under the name Polygonum multiflorum, contains lecithin and anthraquinones, free or conjugated. The tuberous root also contains more than 1.2% of a substance known as 2,3,5,4-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-0-b-D-glucoside, which is considered to be the principle active constituent.
Preparation and UtilizationPolygonum is found in a very large variety of products. It is most commonly the primary herb in essence-building, blood tonifying longevity formulas. Remember that there are different grades of this herb and the quality of a product is dependent upon the selection of raw material.
Polygonum is one of the rare herbs that is often consumed by itself. However, it is still better used by combining with other tonic herbs such as Ginseng, Acanthopanax (Siberian Ginseng), Goji, Dang Gui, Astragalus, etc.
- Ginseng Root and Dang Gui to build blood, tonify yin and yang and to increase Qi
- Goji Berries and Cornus fruit to tonify the kidney, strengthen the sexual organs and calm the nerves
- Goji Berries, Cuscuta Semen and Achyranthes root to tonify the Kidney and Liver, strengthen the bones and prevent spermatoria
- Eucommia bark, Ligustrum fruit and Rubi fruit to strengthen the Kidneys, nourish Jing and blood, strengthen and relieve pain in the lower back and knees, to turn the hair dark and to prevent spermatoria
- Acanthopanax to build energy, blood and Jing
Varieties and Grading
There are two varieties of Polygonum sold on the Chinese market: prepared and unprepared. Prepared Polygonum is tonic, with the properties described above. Unprepared Polygonum has a mild atmospheric energy and functions quite differently from the prepared variety. Unprepared Polygonum is a laxative which is also used to treat sores. It is therefore used to treat constipation, acne, etc. It is not to be confused with the prepared Polygonum. Unprepared Polygonum is unmistakably an excellent cleanser of the body.
Polygonum is prepared by boiling it in a soup of black beans. This preparation changes the characteristic of the herb.
The older the tuber, the higher the quality of the herb. Typical Polygonum is not very old these days. Good Polygonum should be at least four years old. Older Polygonum, however, is available to those who seek it and this older stock is far superior. Older Polygonum not only tastes much better, but it is a much more potent tonic. It is invariably prepared much more carefully. Generally, it is sliced thinly and laid out neatly for sale. Befriend your herbalist so that he or she gives you the old Polygonum. The older Polygonum is fairly rare and therefore will cost more. But Polygonum is an inexpensive herb and even the old stuff is cheap relative to its value as a life-enhancing tonic.
Rare cases of gastrointestinal disturbance are the only side effects associated with Polygonum multiflorum. Soft stool is the result. However, moderate doses of Polygonum multiflorum rarely result in such an effect. The effect can be corrected by combining with herbs that remove dampness through the urinary pathway, such as Poria and Atractylodes (red or white).