What Are the Benefits of He Shou Wu?


Quick Answer

The proposed benefits of he shou wu, also known as fo-ti, include anti-aging properties, protection against heart disease and laxative effects, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Many of these proposed benefits have not been substantiated by Western medicine. The roots of the plant are used to make herbal remedies.

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Full Answer

He shou wu is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. The herb derives its name from a story of an aging man who regained his youthful vigor after taking the herb. In the legend, the impotent old man became a potent man with many children. This tale inspires some seeking a solution for infertility issues to use the herb. Others take the herb to turn aging, gray hairs back to their original youthful color.

The herb comes in a white and black version, according to Mountain Rose Herbs. The white version is raw and uncured. This raw root supposedly has more laxative effect than the black version. The black version gets its color from curing the root in black bean sauce. Very few clinical studies involving he shou wu exist, explains the NYU Langone Medical Center. Because of the dearth of evidence regarding the benefits and detriments of the herb, caution is advised, particularly for pregnant women.

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