He Shou Wu, also known as Fo-ti, and scientifically called Polygonum multiflorum, is legendary in Chinese medicine. For this reason, He Shou Wu (Fo-ti) is a highly revered herb in large part due to its vast spectrum of health benefits.
History of Ho Shou Wu
You may not be familiar with why He Shou Wu is the tales of legend in Chinese medicine. He Shou Wu has a rich and mystical history that illustrates how it grew to such stature and fame. Accordingly, this history hints at a few of its more exotic and highly sought after benefits. An old man discovered Fo-Ti around 812 AD, according to Ancient Daoist texts.
The Legend of Ho Shou Wu Benefits
The legend begins when a frail, weak, sterile old man who had fallen asleep in the forest after a night of heavy drinking. He awoke next to an exceptionally long He Shou Wu vines intertwined as if making love. Something about the vine struck him as unusual. Intrigued as he was, he proceeded to collect the roots for further research. He was unsuccessful upon inquiring in his community about the plant. No one was familiar with the properties of this herb. Finally, a local hermit suggested he ingest it to discover the effects for himself.
Hermits Were Highly Regarded in This Cultural Time
Taking the advice of the hermit, the man prepared the He Shou Wu roots in the traditional Daoist manner and began taking it regularly. Within a week, he became quite virile and managed to father a child a few months later after decades of impotence and sterility, which was a miracle in itself. He continued to consider He Shou Wu every day, and his vigor and vitality came back despite his later years. Eventually, his head of hair color returned, nearly magically shifting from gray to a wealthy, lustrous black through the years that applied, he continued to father more children and resided very well into his hundreds. He Tianer was this man’s name. Consequently, the herb was called He Shou Wu, indicating “He’s BlackHead of locks,” alluding to its legendary origin story.
(Fo-ti) He Shou Wu Benefits
You may be aware that He Shou Wu exhibits a broad spectrum of pharmacological benefits to include: Boosting Immune System, anti-aging, immunologic, neuroprotective, anticancer and anti-inflammatory.
However, you have to take a lot of the benefits on faith. You are likely also aware that few double-blind studies have been carried out to evaluate the legendary therapeutic claims or to understand the medical potential of its bioactive substances better. Regardless of the amount of documented research, many people take He Shou Wu and experience a diverse amount of benefits.
Boost Immune System
Your body needs the sugars (rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, and glucose) and anthraquinoneglycosides found within He Shou Wu. Accordingly, your body uses these sugars to improve immune response and overall disease fighting capability.
Additionally, He Shou Wu (Fo-ti) boosts your disease fighting capability by increasing your production of T and B cells. Therefore your increased blood cells enhance your bodies immune cell activity. Further, He Shou Wu raises the activity of your natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells are a lymphocyte able to bind to certain tumor cells and virus-infected cells without the stimulation of antigens and kill them by the insertion of granules containing perforin.
Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
He Shou Wu can decrease your inflammation and help you if you suffer from colitis. A He Shou Wu extract was shown to reduced nitric oxide, COX-2 enzyme, and inflammatorycytokines. Emodin found in He Shou Wu can protect the microglia cells in your brain from inflammation.
Has Anti-Viral and Anti-Bacterial Properties
He Shou Wu can prevent viruses from entering lymphocytes. Specifically preventing the rapid spread of viruses through your body. As a result, your immune system can better concentrate and fight off the viruses. Emodin found in He Shou Wu can block binding of SARS coronavirus human cells. Consequently reducing the spread of infections. He Shou Wu can also provide you with some anti-bacterial properties. For instance, He Shou Wu benefits has also shown activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Thus, when a bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics it might be time to start taking He Shou Wu.
Helps Respiratory Functions and Reduces Asthma Symptoms
You may find that you can breathe a little easier when taking He Shou Wu. Additionally, Asthma sufferers may find some relief when He Shou Wu decreases airway allergic symptoms. Although, it is not that common for Asthma sufferers to use this He Shou Wu
Has Antioxidant Properties
He Shou Wu has anthraquinones and polysaccharides that can protect your liver by preventing fat oxidation, reducing inflammation, and increasing antioxidant effects. Using He Shou Wu can improve glutathione levels and other oxidative stress markers. You may get stronger bones when using He Shou Wu when it protects your bone-making cells (osteoblasts) from oxidative damage. Additionally, your bones may be stronger when He Shou Wu prevents the loss of bone mass.
Improves Brain Function and Memory
You may find it interesting that He Shou Wu is being used effectively by some against Alzheimer’s disease. Best of all there are studies being conducted both in the lab and with patients. Equally important a constituent of He Shou Wu Tetrahydroxystilbeneglucoside could slow down your age-related memory loss. Additionally, Emodin, which we discussed earlier, has been shown to reduce the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine and helps with brain function. Additionally, He Shou Wu might prevent your memory loss by protecting your brain cells from against glutamate toxicity.
Promotes Heart and Cardiovascular Health
When you are concerned about heart health, you are concerned about cholesterol. He Shou Wu could reduce your cholesterol and triglycerides if you are suffering from high cholesterol. Equally important, stilbene glycoside in He Shou Wu can protect you against cell injury from lack of oxygen or blood flow. Specifically, He Shou Wu benefits can increase the levels of cellular antioxidants. Specifically, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and the nitric oxide pathways are increased, protecting you circulatory cells.
Anti-Cancer and Tumor Properties
The Emodin along with aloe-emodin found in He Shou Wu can slow the growth rate of cancers cells. Specifically, if you are at risk for skin cancer, cervical cancer, mouth cancer orneuroblastoma, you should read this and maybe takes some He Shou Wu. Additionally, you may consider He Shou Wu as an additional treatment for reducing tumors as well. You may not be surprised that Emodin has also been attributed to increase tumor cell death.
Improves Sleep Quality
When you are looking for a better night sleep you shouldn’t take He Shou Wu for the first time right before bed. But He Shou Wu could help you get that deep sleep that you are craving to rejuvenate. Taiwanese routinely use He Shou Wu to treat insomnia. Similarly, He Shou Wu is being evaluated to ease anxiety and insomnia by people experiencing bipolar disorder.
Strengthens and Rejuvenates Hair
You may find it interesting that He Shou Wu is traditionally taken throughout East Asia to treat baldness and hair loss. Accordingly, there are studies that back up this hair growth by inducing the anagen phase in resting hair follicles or increasing the number of dermal papilla cells.
Increases Libido in Men and Women
You may recall that the legend of He Shou Wu describes an increase in fertility, sexual vigor. Many of these effects are attributed to the ability of this herb to raise red blood cell counts and improve circulation. In other words, you may increase blood flow to “all the right places” as a He Shou Wu benefit. The legend of He Shou Wu is all about Men, sorry ladies, but don’t be disheartened, because He Shou Wu is also shown to raise estrogen activity in women, increase there sexual vigor and alleviate symptoms of menopause.
Supports Digestive Health
You may find that taking raw and none extracts of He Shou Wu will help you reduce constipation and promote regularity. If you decide to eat this herb raw for digestive health, you will be consuming a high amount of He Shou Wu in a short time. Accordingly, if you are experiencing a laxative effect from He Shou Wu it is recommended that you do this for at most two or three days. Obviously, you shouldn’t take laxatives long term, so if you are experiencing a diuretic effect from He Shou Wu and that is not your goal, stop taking it and see a doctor. Of course, you may have just been consuming too much, but it is better to be safe.
Control Stress and Anxiety
We couldn’t consider He Shou Wu an Adaptogen if we didn’t discuss how it helps our bodies better handle stress. You may have heard of He Shou Wu called Jing, “經” in traditional Chinese Medicine which means imminent, essential or vital. Because He Shou Wu balances your kidney and adrenal vitality and activity. Accordingly, you get the benefits of balancing, harmonizing and calming your nerves. Thus you have better control over your bodies reaction to stress and anxiety.
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