A traditional Chinese herb He shou wu, otherwise known as Fo-ti, is a magickal mythical herb. The story around how the herb began to be used as a medicinal herb centres around a middle aged Chinese man that finds, love, rejuvenation and a reinvigoration for life in the root of a heart shape leaved vine, he shou wu.
Basically, the premise is of a young man who finds he is infertile and becomes depressed which leads him into alcoholism, he ages prematurely, his strength, hearing and vision fade and his hair starts to go grey. One day he stumbles home drunk and falls asleep in the forest, only to wake to see a twined vine with heart shaped leaves. He digs up the vine and takes it back to his village where a monk advises him to prepare and eat the root as he thinks it will restore his vitality and fertility.
To cut an already long story short, after taking it for a few weeks he got back his vigour, hearing and vision and he marries a local widow and they have 19 children. His hair turns black and stays that way until his death at 160 years old.
So this sums it up really – He shou wu is one of the original longevity tonics and is used even now to promote a reduction in age related conditions and yes, even greying hair!
These mythical magickal actions can somewhat be explained with the use of science. It seems that He shou wu stimulates the production of some of the body’s own antioxidants, in particular, super oxide dismutase which is shown to have a potent antioxidant action which reduces oxidative and degenerative changes thereby slowing down the ravages of time!
It is also thought to promote red blood cell production, strength and blood circulation. Which of course has benefits for physical performance, brain function and energy levels. This may also be where the hair revitalization comes in, as improved circulation may help to get nutrients to the hair follicles, thereby “feeding them” the root is also incredibly high in zinc, which is known as a hair revitaliser.
As for the increase in fertility and libido, this is where he shou wu really hits its stride! It is shown to improve testicular function and sperm count and its actions in increasing circulation and those zinc levels for hormone synthesis mean that it is a bona fide aphrodisiac and pleasure enhancer – for both sexes!
Of course, a tonic is not a tonic without having at least some action on the nervous system and he shou wu is no different – it is shown to have an adaptogenic action which aids in creating harmony and balance to a stressed mind.
He Shou Wu is a yin herb, which means it correlates to and encourages feminine/receptive energy. Many people feel calmer and more balanced both in mind and body with this herb. “Traditional Chinese Medicine also relates how He Shou Wu can stimulate our intuitive abilities, inspiring spiritual awareness, creativity, and heightened intuitive guidance.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any medical conditions consult your healthcare practitioner before use.