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Fo-Ti Root Powder

  • Polygonum multiflorum
  • Origin: China
Fo-Ti Root Powder


Common Name

Standardized: fo-ti
Other: fleeceflower, zhi he shou wu

Botanical Name

Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.
Plant Family: Polygonaceae



In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fo-Ti is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. It has red stems, heart shaped leaves and either white or pink flowers. The literal English translation of its name is "vine to pass through the night." With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste, fo-ti was thought to unblock the channels of energy through the body, allowing the escape of the pathogenic influences that cause generalized weakness, soreness, pain, and fatigue. Depending on the method of processing, there are four different types of Fo-Ti on the market: raw, cured, wine, and steamed. Raw and cured are the most used, and the ones mostly imported into the US. The plant is also used as a wash for itching and skin rashes. Another use of the herb is bringing color back to graying hair. The Chinese nickname for the herb, ho shou wu, literally means "Mr. He's Black Hair," Mr. He being a man of Chinese legend who restored his youth and sexual potency by taking Fo-Ti tea. Chinese tradition teaches that the herb should be used by itself or cured in the water used to cook black beans for this purpose. The curing of Fo-Ti has been found to increase the phosphates (presumably lecithin) by close to 30%, also increasing the sugar content. The production of traditional Fo-Ti root according to traditional Chinese medicine is revered and is keep as a close secret, however the basic process involves curing raw Fo-Ti roots in a soup of black bean sauce and wine. Those with gluten sensitivities may want to avoid using this product.


Chrysophanic acid, chrysophanol, emodin.

Parts Used

Two varieties are predominantly used. Traditional Chinese medicine call for a Fo-Ti which is cured in a traditional black bean sauce, however there is also a form known as "White Fo-Ti" which is the uncured and raw root which is firm, coarse, and light brown or beige in color. The variety stocked by Mountain Rose Herbs is cured in the black bean sauce according to traditional Chinese standards.

Typical Preparations

Teas and tinctures. Traditionally combined with jujubes and/or biota to treat insomnia. Sometimes found in capsule form.


Specific: Excessive use may cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.