Fo-Ti is available either raw and dried or cooked in a black soybean broth. It is one of China’s most common blood tonics. It strengthens the bones and muscles, moistens the intestines, builds bone marrow, and calms the spirit.

Cooked Fo-Ti root is used to treat anemia, atherosclerosis, blurred vision, constipation (due to dry intestines), diabetes, dizziness, exhaustion, goitre, hair loss, high cholesterol, infertility, high cholesterol, hot flashes, hypertension, hypoglycemia, infertility,  knee weakness, low sperm count, lumbago, scrofula, insomnia, malaria, menopausal complaints, numbness, premature aging, premature gray hair, premature menopause, rickets, schizophrenia, spermatorrhea, spleen weakness, tinnitus, tuberculosis, vaginal discharge, and vertigo. Raw Fo-Ti root is used to treat carbuncles and swollen lymph glands or nodes.

Botanical Name

Polygonum multiflorum

Part Used


Common Names

He Shou Wu—roots, shou wou teng– stems (Chinese), jiao teng, Flowery Knotweed; fleeceflower root, Chinese cornbind, mountain slave

Brief History

Polygonum multiflorum

The Chinese common name for fo-ti, he-shou-wu, was the name of a Tang dynasty man whose infertility was supposedly cured by fo-ti; in addition, his long life was attributed to the tonic properties of this herb. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine has used fo-ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and impotence.


Anthraquinones, tannins, phospholipids (lecithin), trace elements, tetrahydrostilben glycoside.

Therapeutic Properties

Hypolipidaemic, Nervine tonic, hypocholesterolaemic, anti-ageing, antioxidant, bitter tonic/digestive

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Warm

Moisture: Dry

Therapeutic Indications

Neurasthenia especially with insomnia, high cholesterol, ageing, connective tissue weakness, tinnitus, dizziness, blurred vision, possibly in nervous system disorders such as epilepsy, neuritis and schizophrenia

Primary Uses

High Cholesterol

Fo-Ti contains a natural form of lecithin, which could be helpful to reduce arterial plaque and blood pressure. In laboratory tests, it reduces blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. One chemical found in this herb has been found to prevent cholesterol from forming blood-vessel plaques in test animals fed large amounts of dietary cholesterol.


Although Fo-Ti is not the earliest tonic herb listed in Chinese herbal medicine (it is first mentioned in AD 713), it has become one of the most widely used. It is taken regularly by millions of people in the East for its rejuvenating and toning properties and to increase fertility in both men and women.

Nerve and Blood Tonic

Fo-Ti is given in Chinese herbal medicine to people with symptoms, such as dizziness, weakness, numbness. and blurred vision, which indicates inefficient nerves and “blood deficiency.

Clinical Research

  • Dosages of 12g per day significantly lowered serum cholesterol in 62% of patients.

Dosage (Divided Daily)


  • None known

Side effects

  • None known

Interactions with other drugs

  • None known


  1. Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.
  2. Bone, K. (1996). Clinical applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs: monographs for the western herbal practitioner. Warwick, Qld.: Phytotherapy.
  3. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
  4. Herbalpedia (2013)
  5. Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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