Photos of Reynoutria multiflora, synonyms: Fallopia multiflora, Polygonum multiflorum, Fo-ti, He-shou-wu, 何首乌.

Ask Chinese herbalists about “fo-ti” and they won't know what you're talking about. The name was given to the plant by a marketer in the early 1970s for the American herb business. In China, it is known as he-shou-wu. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the dried (unprocessed) root and the cured (processed) root are two different herbs. The unprocessed root is used to relax the bowels and detoxify the blood. The processed root is used to strengthen the blood, invigorate the liver and kidneys, and supplement vital energy (qi). Processed fo-ti is one of the more widely used tonics to enhance longevity, increase vigor, and promote fertility. It is also an ingredient in TCM formulas for premature gray hair, low back pain, angina pectoris, low energy, and other conditions.

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