The fo-ti plant, or he-shou-wu (as known by the Chinese), while originally from China, can also be found growing throughout Japan, Tawain and few other locations in the orient. The root of the fo-ti plant is used medicinally in traditional Chinese medicine in connection with premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, a variety of infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and erectile dysfunction.What give Fo-ti its medicinal properities?
The primary chemical compounds found in the fo-ti herb are phospholipids, anthraquinones, tannins, and tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside. It is the combination of these substances in the root of the fo-ti that appears to be responsible for the herb's cholesterol lowering effects. Additional research indicates that this herb also may help to eliminate fatty deposits in the blood and assist in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
Studies have suggested that fo-ti can stimulate immune function, increase red blood cell formation, and exert an antibacterial effect in the body. However, these effects have not been proven via human studies. The roots of fo-ti also produce a mild laxative action when taken properly.
Other unverified applications of the fo-ti herb include dizziness, blurred vision, insomnia, nocturnal emission, deep skin infections, sores, abscesses, goiter and neck lumps, and sore knees and back. Side Effects
Some individuals have reported mild side effects from taking fo-ti including mild diarrhea and skin rash. If more than 15 grams of processed fo-ti root are taken in a day, numbness may be experienced in the arms and legs. Overall, very few side effects have been reported from fo-ti supplementation.Dosage and Administration
While there is not an official recommended dosage the follow are typical dosages:
- Tea: three or more cups per day
- Tablets: 5 of the 500-milligram tablets or capsules 3 times daily
Since the strength of commercial preparations may vary, follow the manufacturer's instructions whenever available.Supporting LiteratureBone K. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs. Warwick, Australia: Phytotherapy Press, 1996, 49-51.
Foster S. Herbal Renaissance. Layton, Utah: Gibbs-Smith Publisher, 1993, 40-41.
Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992, 79-85.