Ho Shou Wu: Benefits and Uses

Ho Shou Wu (He Shou Wu) is a medicinal plant that is so-named for its unique and most famous use: to prevent and treat premature hair loss and graying hair. Translated literally, it means Mr. Ho’s black hair. The history of its medicinal properties goes way back to ancient Chinese medicine. Its other names include Polygonum multiflorum, Foti, and Radix Poltgoni multiflon. It is usually ingested daily as a tonic to maximize its anti-aging properties and its ability to provide youthful energy.

Popular Uses and Benefits of Ho Shou Wu

Following are the common applications of the herb:

For Hair Color and Hair Loss

The herb is said to help prevent hair loss and premature graying. This is brought about by the improved health of internal organs such as the liver and kidney which are vital for maintaining ideal hair growth and color. To maximize the effect I would recommend combining it with a synergizer like shilajit.

For Kidney and Liver Health

As mentioned previously, the herb supports the functions, and improves the health of, the kidney and liver by enhancing their strength.

As a Reproductive Tonic

Ho Shou Wu is popularly used as a tonic to enhance reproductive functions. It helps increase fertility by providing nourishment to the reproductive system. The supplement keeps the reproductive system healthy and strong by balancing and controlling the production of hormones. It is also used as a treatment for menstrual and menopausal disorders.

Treatment for Constipation

The supplement contains emodin, a substance that softens stool. Thus, it can be used as a laxative to get rid of constipation.

For Excessive Bleeding

The supplement can maintain a healthy menstrual flow in women as it reduces excessive bleeding.

For Detox

The supplement has potent antibacterial qualities that help eliminate toxins from the body by cleansing the liver, kidneys and urinary tract.

As an Immune System Booster

He Shou Wu increases the production of red blood cells that strengthen the immune system, while stimulation is provided by its emodin content. The supplement is particularly beneficial for people afflicted with autoimmune diseases. Another great immune booster is Lingzhi.

For Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Management

When used as a tonic, it is extremely effective in balancing and controlling blood pressure. It naturally reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It can also help prevent stroke and various types of heart diseases by effectively keeping the cholesterol and blood pressure at manageable levels.

Contraindications and Side Effects


Emodin, a laxative substance that protects the liver, can cause diarrhea because of its stool softening properties, for people who are sensitive to it.


Excessive consumption can result to numbness in the arms and legs; and it can also cause headaches.

Liver Disease

A person with liver disease or one who is hypertensive to the supplement, may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, jaundice, abdominal and stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, tiredness, and weakness.

Skin Rashes

Ingestion of high doses may lead to skin rashes.

Estrogenic Effect

The herb is contraindicated for women afflicted with cancer as it is known to raise the level of estrogen. By extension, it can also increase a woman’s risk for cancer growth.

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