You, Me, Fo-Ti and Mr. He

The legend of Fo-Ti's discovery is both a sweet story and testament to the ‘doctrine of signatures’ - the concept that a plant resembles the condition or part of the body it will benefit.

He Shou Wu is the root of the Ye Jiao Teng plant, whose name translates as "vines that tangle in the night". The unlikely hero of the Fo-Ti story is ‘He Tianer’, a weathered, frail and aging man; childless at 58 years old. One morning he saw the vines intertwined like lovers and was intrigued (sweetly, male and female plants grow separately and unite at night).

Perhaps hoping for a change in circumstances, or as the legend states, prompted by the village jester to try the root in case it was a divine drug for the impotent man, Tianer dug up the plant's root and started taking it. It is said, after a short while, vitality awoke within him and he “recognized clearly the principles of human life”; feeling unburdened, strong, full of energy & sexual desire. His snow-white hair darkened, his vision improved and the re-emergence of youth was present more and more. His depression & loneliness faded away and he soon married - going on to father many children! 

Laboratory studies and clinical practice have demonstrated that Fo-Ti possesses various biological and therapeutic actions, including:

  1. Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
  2. Can Improve Skin Health
  3. May Promote Hair Growth and Reduce Gray Hair
  4. Relieves Constipation
  5. Can Help Improve Sleep Quality
  6. May Help Increase Estrogen and Manage Menopause Symptoms
  7. May Fight Age-Related Memory Problems
He Shou Wu is said to build the body’s defenses against stress, and also supports the balance between yin and yang energies. The kidneys are often referred to as “the root of vitality” in Eastern Medicine, since they are involved in essential life processes, including supporting our metabolism, reproduction, blood cleansing and waste removal. Fo-Ti root is believed to absorb lots of qi (energy) and nourish the kidneys, which helps increase yin energy — or our “female energy” that represents allowing, opening, intuition, nourishing and receiving (“being versus doing”). Yin deficiency can contribute to accelerated aging, fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety and aggression — all of which Fo-Ti may be able to help decrease.  
 
While Fo-Ti is not a stimulant, it’s been shown to be beneficial for lifting one’s mood and energy. It’s believed to positively affect the central nervous system and to be both energizing and calming at the same time. Historically, it’s also been said to relieve muscle aches, strengthen the bones and fight bacterial infections.
 
In its processed, modern form, Fo-Ti has protein and sugar molecules in it that are called lectins. Lectins can help to cut down on fat levels in our blood. It may also have substantial enough benefits to support better sleep. Most importantly, studies show an increased number of certain cells that contribute to better natural hair growth.