Helps Manage Menopause Symptoms
Due to concerns over using hormone/estrogen replacement therapy, many post-menopausal women are driven to seek alternative sources of estrogen to reduce their symptoms, including herbal remedies. Fo-Ti provides a potential estrogen replacement source for menopausal women. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism confirmed surprisingly high oestrogen activity in Fo-Ti. The herb can help manage symptoms tied to decreased oestrogen like hot flashes, flushing, low sex drive and night sweats.
The primary essence of Fo-Ti is called Jing, and it's said to share many of the same properties as goji berry. While Fo-Ti is not a stimulant, it's beneficial for lifting one's mood and energy. It's believed to positively affect the central nervous system and to be both energizing and calming at the same time. Historically, it's also been said to cleanse the blood from toxins, relieve muscle aches, strengthen the bones and fight bacterial infections.
Both in vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated that anti-inflammatory effects of Fo-Ti's bioactive constituents occur by inhibition of the expression of pro-inflammatory signalling factors, including nuclear factor-κB, tumour necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide synthase and chemokines. Literally, Fo-Ti may have effects similar to prescription anti-inflammatory agents used to treat conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases and dyslipidemia. Additionally, daily Fo-Ti supplementation helps maintain the strength and stability of the lower back and knees by reducing aches associated with ageing and inflammation.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the kidneys are often referred to as "the root of vitality" since they are involved in essential life processes, including supporting our metabolism, reproduction, blood cleansing and waste removal. Fo-ti root is believed to absorb lots of toxins and nourish the kidneys, which helps increase Yin energy — or our "female energy" that represents allowing, opening, intuition, nourishing and receiving ("being versus doing"). Yin deficiency can contribute to accelerated ageing, fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety and aggression — all of which Fo-Ti supplementation helps decrease.
Promotes Immune Function
The sugars (rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, and glucose) and anthraquinone glycosides found within Fo-Ti can improve immune response and overall immune system function (immunomodulatory effect). Fo-ti boosts the immune system by increasing the production of T and B cells, and improving the activities of the immune cells, as well as increasing the secretion of the inflammatory tumour necrosis factor. Further, Fo-ti increases the activity of natural killer (NK) cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are effector lymphocytes of the innate immune system that control several types of tumours and microbial infections by limiting their spread and subsequent tissue damage.
Fo-ti prevented the HIV virus from entering lymphocytes in a cell-based study. Emodin, a compound in Fo-Ti, blocked SARS coronavirus' binding to human cells in test tubes. Fo-ti helps reduce airway inflammation and constriction.
Promotes Hair Growth and Reduces Gray Hair
In Asia, Fo-Ti is famed for helping reverse grey hair, prevent hair thinning or hair loss. It is thought to do this through its ability to restore melanin – the pigment that gives your hair and skin its colour. Fo-ti seems to significantly induce melanin synthesis, having a positive effect on hair pigment. Fo-Ti also acts as a natural remedy for other loss pigmentation-related diseases. Improved blood circulation and flow to the hair follicles are thought to be responsible for Fo-Ti's ability to prevent hair loss. In fact, because Fo-Ti is said to bring colour back to greying hair, the Chinese translation of He Shou Wu (the Chinese name of Fo-Ti) is "The Black-Haired Mr. He".
Improves Heart Health
Fo-ti contains beneficial dietary lectin compounds that have been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels. Lectins are protein-sugar complexes that attach to specific carbohydrates in the body, acting like antibodies but without the allergy symptoms. Through this mechanism, they can block the formation of plaque in blood vessels, preventing or delaying the onset of heart conditions such as heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Research has shown that the Fo-Ti root increases the production of the body's master antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD). Levels of this important antioxidant decline with age, leaving the body open to damage by one of the most dangerous free radicals – superoxide. Preventing this damage addresses the fundamental cause of ageing, damage to the DNA by oxygen-free radicals. To further boost the antioxidant activity of Fo-Ti root, it also contains the powerful antioxidants stilbene glycosides. Combining these with the increased production of SOD is possibly the most significant function that Fo-Ti has for enhancing longevity.
Supports Sexual Health
Increased fertility, sexual vigour and the ability to treat erectile dysfunction are other benefits you can expect to receive from Fo-Ti. Researchers believe these effects are due to this herb's proven ability to raise red blood cell counts and improve circulation – meaning Fo-Ti's power to increase blood flow to all the right places could be the key to its success in the bedroom. In TCM Fo-Ti is known as a "Jing" tonic, which loosely translates as "vital essence" and refers to the primordial energy that fuels all life and, by extension, sexuality and drive.
BOTANICAL NAME: Fallopia multiflora
OTHER NAME(S): Chinese Cornbind, Chinese Knotweed, Climbing Knotweed, Flowery Knotweed, Fo Ti, Fo Ti Tieng, Fo-Ti-Tient, He Shou Wu, Heshouwu, Ho Shou Wu, Ho-Shou-Wu, Multiflora Preparata, Poligonum, Poligonum Multiflorum, Polygonum, Polygonum multiflorum, Polygonum Multiflorum Thunberg, Racine de Renouée Multiflore, Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Radix Polygoni Shen Min, Shen-Min, Renouée, Renouée à Fleurs Nombreuses, Renouée de Chine, Renouée Multiflore, Rhizoma Polygonata, Shen Min, Shou Wu, Shou Wu Pian, Shou-Wu-Wan, Tuber Fleeceflower, Zhihe Shou Wu, Zi Shou Wu.