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Fo ti (he shou we)
What is fo ti? What is it used for?
Fo ti is the name of a plant native to China, which is also
grown in Japan and Taiwan. The Chinese common name for the
plant, he shou wu, is attributed to a man from the Tang dynasty
whose infertility was supposedly cured after taking fo ti.
Fo ti root is used in herbal preparations. Unprocessed root
is called white fo ti. However, fo ti root is sometimes boiled
in a liquid derived from black beans, giving the root different
(and possibly superior) medicinal properties. Processed fo
ti root is called red fo ti root.
In traditional Chinese medicine, fo ti is used to combat
aging, treat infections and chest pain, and correct erectile
dysfunction. It is also widely praised as a rejuvenative tonic
and is believed to be capable of preventing gray hair and
other signs of aging.
Research conducted on the root has shown it to lower blood
cholesterol levels and decrease the symptoms of atherosclerosis.
Studies in China have investigated its use in enhancing the
immune system and promoting the formation of red blood cells.
How much fo ti should I take?
Many herbalists and TCM practitioners recommend 4-8 grams
of fo ti per day, which can be taken either in capsules or
in tea form.
What forms of fo ti are available?
Processed and powdered fo ti root can be found in many health
food stores. Most stores also sell fo ti tablets and capsules.
What can happen if I take too much fo ti? Are there any interactions I
should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
Taking more than 15 grams of processed fo ti root powder
may cause numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. Unprocessed
root may cause mild diarrhea in some individuals.
There are currently no known drug interactions with fo ti.
However, patients should consult with a health care provider
before taking fo ti supplements.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
Bone K. Clinical Applications of
Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs. Warwick, Australia: Phytotherapy
Press, 1996, pp. 4951.
Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese
Herbs to the West. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press,
1992, pp. 7985.
Foster S. Herbal Renaissance. Layton, UT: Gibbs-Smith
Publisher, 1993, pp. 401.
Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO:
Interweave Press, 1996, pp. 401.
Xiao PG, Xing ST, Wang LW. Immunological aspects of
Chinese medicinal plants as antiaging drugs. Journal of