He Shou Wu Top 8 Benefits [UPDATED]

Are you interested in experiencing the fantastic anti-aging benefits of He Shou Wu?

He Shou Wu Slices
Slices of He Shou Wu

He Shou Wu can keep you young, healthy and vibrant while preventing the not-so-friendly side effects that naturally come with the passing of time.

He Shou Wu is named for it’s most famous and unique use: it can be used to treat and prevent prematurely graying hair and hair loss.

He Shou Wu literally translates as Mr. He’s black hair. That being said, it is a tonic herb that can protect your vital organs and body in every way.

The History of He Shou Wu

He Shou Wu’s past goes back thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine where it is known by a number of different names, notably Foti and prepared Foti.

It also is known under the Latin names Polygonum multiflorum, and Radix polygoni multiflori and you might even hear it called PMT (Polygonum multiflorum Thunb), Shou-Wu-Pian or Shen-Min.

It is taken as a daily tonic for its numerous anti-aging qualities and its ability to imbue your body with youthful energy by increasing Jing energy and energizing your Liver and Kidney meridians. Chinese Pharmacopoeia lauds its many and varied health benefits.

Benefits of He Shou Wu

I personally take this He Shou Wu from Lost Empire Herbs and recommend it based on its superior quality and value. Click on the link to see how their extraction process is superior and get 15% off your first order.

1. Hair Loss and Hair Color

You can use He Shou Wu in the treatment of hair loss and to prevent premature graying. Its positive effects come from improving the health of internal organs, like the kidney and liver.

The health of the kidney and liver plays a major role in the growth and coloring of hair. By promoting the health of these internal organs, He Shou Wu works on the root causes of premature graying and hair loss; slowing it’s aging and improving overall scalp health and conditions such as alopecia.

Will you get rid of gray hair or regenerate hair growth with He Show Wu? Many users promise so!

2. Liver and Kidney Health

He Shou Wu benefits the health of your kidney and liver and supports the function of these internal organs. Strengthening the liver and kidney, two of the core organs in your body that keep your blood healthy, is critical to expel the toxins and free radicals that attack your body every day.

3. Reproductive Tonic

Health Benefits of He Shou Wu - Menopausal womanHe Shou Wu is a popular reproductive tonic. It nourishes the reproductive system and increases fertility and sexual vitality. By controlling and balancing hormone production, He Shou Wu keeps your reproductive system strong and full of youthful energy. In later life, it is often used by women as an easy remedy for menopausal and menstrual symptoms.

4. Regularity, End Constipation

He Shou Wu has a substance called emodin that is a stool softener. Unprepared Fo-Ti has more emodin in it and is used short term as a laxative to treat constipation. (See side effects below for more information on why and how He Shou Wu is prepared.)

5. Detox

He Shou Wu has a powerful antibacterial effect; it helps remove toxins from your body by cleansing the kidneys, liver and urinary tract. Can you say “daily detox”?

6. Immune Booster

Health Benefits of He Shou Wu - Immune systemHe Shou Wu boosts your immune system by increasing red blood cell production in your body. The substance emodin stimulates the immune system.

Specifically, it is effective for people suffering from autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Psoriatic Arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Arthritis (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis).

7. Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

He Shou Wu is an extremely effective tonic when it comes to balancing your blood pressure. It reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels naturally.

It’s also used by alternative health practitioners and herbalists to prevent atherosclerosis, stroke and many forms of heart disease by maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

8. Excessive Bleeding

He Shou Wu helps in healthy menstrual flow in women by reducing excessive bleeding.

He Shou Wu Infographic

And before we move on, you’ll probably be interested to know that several pharmacological and clinical studies have investigated these benefits.

Side Effects and Contraindications of He Shou Wu

Health Benefits of He Shou Wu - Dried foti rootFoti as a raw dried root is actually slightly toxic to the liver and a really effective laxative. Because of this, ancient Chinese medicine practitioners developed a method of preparation for the Foti root that is popularly called He Shou Wu.

This preparation is done by putting the roots in a red bean soup and slow cooking it for multiple days to remove some of the emodin and toxins from the root making it safe and friendly for daily tonic use.

If you have poorly-prepared He Shou Wu these unprepared Foti side effects can still be present in the extract.


Foti has a laxative substance called emodin which is a liver-protective agent. If you are sensitive to it, this agent can cause diarrhea because it acts as a stool softener.


If you consume too much He Shou Wu, it can cause headaches and numbness in the legs and arms.

Liver Disease

Health Benefits of He Shou Wu - Sick liverIf you have liver disease, your liver may be hypersensitive to this herb. In cases of liver disease, it is possible that poorly-prepared He Shou Wu can cause symptoms of jaundice, vomiting, nausea, stomach and abdominal pain, dark urine, loss of appetite, weakness, and tiredness according to this study.

If you have any of the herbal hepatotoxicity side effects even slightly, stop taking the He Shou Wu you have and throw it in the trash.

Estrogenic Effect

Contraindicated for women who have disease. It is known to increase estrogen levels (a hormone that is found in higher levels in young women and decreases with age). By extension, there is a risk that, especially bad he shou wu, can promote disease growth in women.

Skin Rash

Consuming extremely high doses of this herb in any form cause skin rashes for some users. This is often referred to as a detoxifying effect or healing crisis, but do you really want to push it?

Please take a minute to watch this quick, informative video on the science behind He Shou Wu and it’s top health benefits.

Lastly, I want you to know that I personally get almost all of my herbs from Lost Empire Herbs. Their sourcing is the best in the business and many of their herbs are grown in the USA. Click here to learn about their patented Full-Spectrum Extraction process and get 15% off your first order! Tip: Be sure to sign up for their newsletter at the top.

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39 thoughts on “He Shou Wu Top 8 Benefits [UPDATED]”

    • I would definitely recommend you speak with a doctor about this. I am not qualified to speak to your specific conditions.

    • I believe the disease issues are from unprocessed “Fo-ti” root that is the main reason they do the processing with red beans is to pull that liver damaging toxin from the root.

  1. How can I use he shou wu directly from the plant … I have it growing in my plant house … It is trying to take over the whole house .

    • The fo-ti root straight or made into tea has liver toxins in it. To prepair fo-ti into the liver tonic he shou wu you want to take the roots and slow cook them with black beans on the lowest heat setting for 3 days after that you can slice the roots and make a hot water extract. Basically you make a pot of tea with the sliced roots over 2-3 hours. Best of luck to you! and again don’t use the roots straight it is not safe to take more than once a week.

  2. I have been taking it for a few weeks and I have been getting diarrhea along with stomach pain when the diarrhea acts up. But the moment I defecate I feel much better. Other than that I am getting random erections, especially in the mornings. So should I stop taking it immediately or will the diarrhea stop once I’m cleared out (so to speak). I usually suffer from constipation.

    • It sounds to me like you might be taking to much. He Shou Wu is used as a stool softener (especially unprepared foti) so you are taking far to much or just lack fiber in your diet. The fact that you previously suffered from constipation would make me think that it is helping you but ultimately I would strongly suggest you seek out a practitioner and use your best judgement.

  3. Can you take he shou wu if you have low blood pressure? I really want to take it, but am concerned to if it infact lowers blood pressure.

    • He Shou Wu is a tonic herb it has a balancing effect in the blood it would not have a harmful effect on low blood pressure. To the contrary, it is possible it might bring benefit.

  4. I’ve been taking fo ti daily from solaray vitamin company… I feel like I’m breaking out a little from it but I’m not sure… Is ho Shou wu totally different from fo ti? I don’t want the liver toxins :/
    Please help 🙂

    • It isn’t at all uncommon for people to label He Shou Wu as Foti or vise versa it really comes down to the company you buy from and if they prepare it properly. If it is not an extract it is most likely just foti root so long term it does have toxicity.

  5. Hi I first experience he shou wu from a herbalist and it had chinese herbs in combination with it and had chinese or japan packaging. It had a great effect on my reproduction organs because I was having problems here, would you no what form of product I may have used or who I can get in contact with to get this form of he shou wu again. The herbalist I used is no longer in practice. The he shou wu was in pill form and you take it with warm water. Thank You

    • I personally take Luz He Shou Wu I do not know what the one you are referring to is but I take that and add it to warm water and drink it as a tea. It actually tastes nice as far chinese medicine goes.

    • If it is properly processed it is a tonic herb and can be taken daily long term. If it is just extracted Fo-Ti root it should only be taken for 1 week a month at the absolute most.

  6. hi,
    i bought He Shou Wu Slices (Polygonum Multiflorum, Fo-Ti Root)pls tell me how shd i boil it and how shd i drink it as i want to black my gray hair

  7. Hello…..I am currently taking he-should-wu but I only had a small amount from my brother who visited China,please tell me where I can get it I am in South Africa. Thank you

  8. I have been taking He Shou Wu (3 pills a day) for the past month, and only just read that it may interact with birth control pills? Should I stop taking them and if so, how long before they are out of my system?

  9. I’m looking for information regarding the safety of using while pregnant. Are you able to direct me to any further reading about this? Do you know of any herbs that support adrenals/kidney’s that is safe to take during pregnancy? Thanks!

    • Typically most herbs that haven’t specifically been studied during pregnancy are contraindicated, this includes He Shou Wu.

  10. Hi,

    We bought the foti root in slices in a chinese herb shop. My friend asked to mold it into powder for direct consumption.
    Should we have left it in slices and cook it in black bean stow like mentioned above?

    Is this molded powder consumable? It gave me diarrhea. Can we still use the powder to make tea?

    Fortunately I found this article. I will be waiting for a response.


  11. Thank you very interest just about to try the herb, would be nice if it turns my hair back to it natural colour, and I have in quite a stressful time, and need extra energy so hope it helps with that, plus it may help with the hot flushes, in the change of life, lets help, regards Linda

  12. Does this raise estrogen enough to cause uterine lining in post-menopausal women to grow? I had severe bleeding before menopause and the last thing I need is to start that system up again now.

  13. 1. I also want to know if the increased estrogen production in women is counter productive for men, like soy is for example.

    2. Is the advice to use it for up to a month, but no longer than a month, correct? If so, when can you repeat the process of a month use? Would it make sense to only use it once a week to extend the safety of use over long periods or routine?

    Thanks for any help others here.


  14. “Foti has a laxative substance called emodin which is a liver-protective agent” ~ quote from side effects section under Diarrhea

    In the blue section under Preperations it says…”…to draw the emodin (that is toxic to your liver) out of the roots.”

    • Emodin is not toxic to the liver and that’s not what is said under Preparations. Please re-read the statement.

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