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      Fo-Ti: (Polygonum multiflorum)  Native to China, where it continues to be widely grown. It also grows extensively in Japan and Taiwan.  The unprocessed root is sometimes called white fo-ti and the processed root red fo-ti.  The Chinese common name for fo-ti, he-shou-wu, was the name of a Tang dynasty man whose infertility was supposedly cured by fo-ti; in addition, his long life was attributed to the tonic properties of this herb. 

The Chinese believe that fo-ti is a longevity tonic that can even keep your hair from turning gray.  It has a reputation as an aphrodisiac.  Traditional Chinese medicine has used fo-ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and impotence. It is believed to restore energy and strength.  It is good for your blood, liver and kidneys.  Fo-ti is also considered to be beneficial as a digestive aid. 

The active constituents of fo-ti have yet to be determined. The whole root has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, according to animal and human research, as well as to decrease hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.2 3 Other fo-ti research has investigated this herb’s role in strong immune function, red blood cell formation, and antibacterial action.4 The unprocessed roots have a mild laxative action.

The typical daily intake is 4–8 grams.5 A tea can be made from processed roots by boiling 1/2–1 U.S. teaspoons (3–5 grams) in 250 ml (1 cup) of water for ten to fifteen minutes. Three or more cups are drunk each day. Fo-ti tablets (500 mg each) can be taken in the amount of five tablets three times per day.

The unprocessed roots may cause mild diarrhea.6 Some people who are sensitive to fo-ti may develop a skin rash. Taking more than 15 grams of processed root powder may cause numbness in the arms or legs.

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