Part Used: Dried processed root
Ho Shou Wu (Fo ti) (Polygonum multiflorum) is a plant native to China, but also found in Japan and Taiwan. It is a perennial climber growing up to 4.5m. The medicinal part of the plant is the root. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often boiled in a liquid made with black beans. It is also known as red fo-ti. White fo-ti is the unprocessed root. It is also occasionally grown in American gardens as an ornamental. The name “Fo-Ti” of the herb was given by a marketer in the early 1970s for the American herb business. In China, it is known as Ho Shou Wu. In Chinese medicine, Fo-Ti is a longevity tonic that is used for greying hair, premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharge, and erectile dysfunction. There is evidence that it can lower serum cholesterol, decrease hardening of the arteries, and improve immune function.
The processed root of Ho Shou Wu is used to strengthen the blood, invigorate the liver and kidneys, and supplement vital energy (qi). It is one of the more widely used tonics in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which employs it to enhance longevity, increase vigor, and promote fertility. It is also an ingredient in TCM formulas for premature gray hair, low back pain, angina pectoris, low energy, and other conditions. The root contains lectins, which appear to help prevent cholesterol accumulation in the liver and fat retention in the blood. Fo-ti also inhibits the growth of bacteria, increases laboratory animals' ability to adapt to cold temperatures, and promotes the formation of red blood cells. An extract of the processed root has also shown antitumor, antioxidant, and immunostimulant effects in animals. Unprocessed roots lubricate the bowels, producing a laxative effect. Several clinical studies in China suggest the processed herb is useful in treating high cholesterol, heart conditions, and chronic bronchitis. Mounting evidence supports Fo-ti's traditional use as a tonic. The lectins in processed 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. Plaques are accumulations of fat and other cells that restrict the size of blood vessels and limit the flexibility of their walls.
Alternative Medicine. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/FoTi.htm
All Natural. http://www.allnatural.net/herbpages/fo-ti.shtml