Fo-ti or fallopia multiflora, is a herb that offers rejuvenating effects on one’s nerves, endocrine glands, and brain cells. It is known to stimulate the adrenal gland, helping to detoxify the body. It is often used to treat a long list of health conditions, including fatigue, constipations, inflammation of the lymph nodes, nerve damage, and atherosclerosis while increasing sexual vigor.
What is Fo-ti?
This species of plant belongs to the buckwheat family and is native to southern and central China. This perennial vine grows up to four meters tall. Fo-ti is the root of this plant, often used to treat a number of medical conditions. It got its western nickname in the 1970s and is most commonly recognized by this name today. In Chinese culture, it’s referred to as He Shou Wu, which roughly translates to Mr. Wu’s hair stays black, based on its anti-aging effects.
Fo-ti is a popular tonic herb in Chinese medicine, dating back thousands of years. It is still considered to be one of the country’s great four tonics, which include panax, angelica, and lycium. Fo-ti is known as a rejuvenating plant, preventing aging and increasing longevity. According to folk legends, the older the root, the more powerful it is.
Benefits of Fo-ti
There are several stories within folk medicine, of legends who lived hundreds of years based on the effects of Fo-ti. This herb is infamous regarding its ability to reverse gray hair pigmentation. One herbalist, in particular, was said to have lived 256 years and was known for his sexual prowess. The accuracy of these folk legends is debatable, however, modern science has been able to identify key benefits when consuming this herb.
Processed Fo-ti offers lectins, which are protein-sugar complexes. Since they attach to specific combinations of carbs on cells, they are able to act as antibodies without the allergic reactions. Fo-ti may also influence fat levels in the blood, preventing heart disease and reducing plaque. Plaques are simply accumulations of fat, restricting the flexibility of blood vessel walls. When studied in animals, Fo-ti reduced the amount of fat deposited within the liver, boosting liver and overall immune function.
When studying Fo-ti in animals, studies have shown clear positive benefits regarding life expectancy. When giving fruit flies a decoction of Fo-ti root at 0.5% strength, researchers were able to prolong their lives by 12.03 percent. Aside from longevity benefits, Fo-ti also supports:
Kidney and Liver Health
Fo-ti root is known for its ability to strengthen kidney function, especially those who suffer from severe fatigue, cortisol depletion, weakness, and adrenal exhaustion. In Chinese medicine, yin and yang refer to the balance of energy. All yin energy is sourced from the kidneys and influences water metabolism, reproduction, and the waste removal from our blood.
When it comes to yin deficiency, clear signs are dry skin, thinning hair, and issues with tissues in the body. Contributing to this deficiency are environmental factors, such as the consumption of a poor diet, pollutants, alcohol, and smoking. Fo-to extracts and teas have long been used to restore kidney function. Based on our modern diet and lifestyle choices, consuming adaptogens, like Fo-ti on a regular basis supports optimal health.
While focusing on the liver, it’s critical to maintain optimal function as the master detoxifier. The cleaner your blood is, the more it will feed and nourish your body. Prepared Fo-ti contains antioxidants which act a liver tonic, protecting liver cells and overall liver function.
Hair and Pigmentation Loss
As we age, our hairs thins and we begin to lose pigment. Fo-ti is known to reduce stress that’s associated with the premature graying of hair. Within China, not only as it seen as a preventative measure but also as a possible reversing agent, helping restore hair color.
In terms of baldness, Fo-ti impacts imbalanced hormones, while strengthening organs of elimination (liver and kidneys). This helps to boost circulation and blood flow to one’s hair follicles, stimulating growth and thickness. In one study, Fo-ti extract was shown to promote hair growth in vivo.
Fo-ti is known to enhance sexual libido, supporting both the male and female reproductive system. Not only does it support fertility, but Fo-ti also protects the liver. Since one’s liver is in charge of the building blocks needed for hormone production, it can assist in maintaining a healthy and strong reproductive system.
Side Effects of Fo-ti
Fo-ti is potentially unsafe when taken orally based on concerns that it may contribute to liver damage in both children and adults. Liver damage in a five-year-old was linked to Fo-ti consumption. It’s critical that you always follow the recommended dose as directed by the manufacturer and your doctor.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it could be unsafe to take Fo-ti as it contains chemicals that produce strong laxative effects. When breastfeeding, this laxative effect can pass into breast milk and cause diarrhea in infants.
If you suffer from a hormone sensitive condition, such as uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer, as well as endometriosis or uterine fibroids, Fo-ti could act as estrogen. If you have any condition that could be made worse due to increased levels of estrogen, then please do not use this supplement.
If you have diabetes, speak to your doctor before using. Fo-ti can affect blood sugar levels, increasing your risk of hypoglycemia. Based on concerns with blood sugar, please stop taking Fo-to two prior to any surgery. There are also various medications that interact with Fo-ti, so speak with your doctor if you’re currently taking any medications or supplements.
There are numerous ways in which you can take Fo-ti. When consuming a Fo-ti extract, as long as you source your supplements from a reliable source, it’s believed to be safe for long periods of time. The standard dosage for a powder extract would be 1 tsp, two times daily or between 6-12 capsules. With that being said, you should always follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.