What is He Shou Wu?
He Shou Wu is a Chinese herb, which is quite commonly used in Chinese medicine to fight anti-aging effects and promote longevity. He Shou Wu is being obtained from the roots of Polygonum Multiflorum. In addition to China, He Shou Wu is also being found in Taiwan and Japan. This herb was named after elderly man in China who took this herb in order to restore his vitality and youth. The result of this experiment was that a man noticed that his hair returned to its natural color – black. There are a few different legends told surrounding this herb and hair color restoration is probably one of the most famous attributes of He Shou Wu.
In traditional Chinese medicine this herb is also being used to treat conditions like Erectile Dysfunction, Constipation, Athlete’s Foot and Acne. TCM uses this herb in two different versions – White Fo-ti (unprocessed & raw) and Red Fo-ti (processed). White Fo-ti is being used for conditions like constipation, Athlete’s Foot and Acne. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine use processed He Shou Wu herb (Red Fo-ti) for restoring hair color, treating erectile dysfunction and fighting effects of aging.
When it comes to nutritional composition, He Shou Wu contains large quantities of Zinc, Iron and also Lecithin. Zinc is important mineral for muscle growth, neurological functions, immune system and cellular metabolism. Getting sufficient amounts of Iron is beneficial for circulatory system, energy production and functions of muscles. Licithin is good for cognitive function and it also helps to maintain proper cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Today products containing this natural herb are usually being promoted as being able to provide the following benefits: hair health improvement (thicker and faster growing hair), reversal of natural hair color, enhanced energy levels, improved health of kidneys and liver, boost in libido (for both men and women), lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and better hormonal balance.
He Shou Wu and Grey Hair.
Traditional Chinese medicine suggest that He Shou Wu is able restore natural hair color by benefiting kidneys and liver. Based on them the cause of gray hair can be poor health of liver and kidney. He Shou Wu is known to be able to minimize hepatic fat and enhance red blood cells quality in the body. All these effects help to enhance blood circulation to the scalp, which leads to better nourishment of hair. Once hair follicles are able to receive more nutrients this results in enhanced production of Melanin.
The number of scientific studies on He Shou Wu and its effectiveness for reversing hair color is very limited. One study in particular tried to investigate this herbs ability to restore natural hair colors. 36 participants in this study were given Shou Wu liquor and even up to 89% of them noticed some improvements in their hair color. Other than that He Shou Wu was tested on animals and it showed potential in increasing lifespan and slowed down aging of some vital organs in the organism. Even though scientific studies on this natural herb shows some promising results, the number of studies done is certainly not sufficient. Due to this it can be said that more research is definitely needed in order to support this herbs effectiveness for reversing natural hair color.
If you want to try this natural herb for grey hair there are many companies offering He Shou Wu in a form of supplement or extract. This natural herb can be also found CatalaseNow, so it might be worthwhile trying this supplement if you want to get benefits of other anti-greying herbs & essential vitamins too.
Are there any Side Effects?
Prior to considering taking He Shou Wu as a tonic herb it is important to acknowledge that it can be prepared in two different ways and potential side effects can vary based on that. Adverse side effects are more common when unprepared He Shou Wu is being used. Raw or unprepared He Shou Wu has laxative effect and it is slightly toxic. It is associated with side effects like diarrhea, liver problems, numbness and skin rash. Due to these effects raw He Shou Wu is being used more frequently as a laxative in China.
When this herb is being prepared these mentioned adverse effects are less common. During the preparation the roots of He Shou Wu are being sliced, stewed (in the red bean soup) and then dried. During this process elements causing laxative and toxicity effect are being minimized. Since prepared He Shou Wu has less toxins and emodin it becomes friendlier to be used on a daily bases and previously mentioned side effects are less likely.
So if you are planning to take this herb for gray hair, you should look for properly prepared He Shou Wu. While many sources suggest that taking He Shou Wu (not raw) is completely safe it might be best to avoid using this herb for some people. Since not sufficient studies are done on He Shou Wu it is not considered to be safe to use for pregnant & breastfeeding women and children. Also if you have any sort of liver disease, diabetes and hormone related conditions it is best to consult your doctor prior to taking this herb.