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Polygonum (Fo-Ti)

Polygonum (Fo-Ti)

Cured Polygonum

(Polygonum multiflorum; 250 mg/ml)

Used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to prevent and treat premature greying of the hair and to prevent and treat thinning hair

Used in TCM adjunctively with dietary change to lower cholesterol

Polygonum is a traditional herb of China, used over the centuries to help combat heart disease and for its unique and astonishing ability to make grey hair revert to its original natural colour.

The Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China states that polygonum replenishes the liver and kidney’s vital essence and strengthens tendons and bones. Among its traditional use indications for this herb, it suggests premature greying of the hair and beard and high cholesterol.

TCM herbal authority Subhuti Dharmananda, PhD explains the mechanism whereby polygonum (which he refers to by its common name) restores growth and normal colour to the hair: "The ability of ho-shou-wu to prevent premature greying-and hair loss-is attributed, in part, to its tonic effects on the kidneys and liver. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, the condition of hair (on the head) is governed by the kidneys and nourished by the liver blood (in fact; the hair is often said to be the excess of the liver blood)". Dharmananda goes on to quote traditional Chinese medical writer Dan Bensky: "For the more complete analysis, here is what Bensky reports about liver and kidney deficiency: ‘Healthy hair depends on the sufficiency of blood stored in the liver. When the liver blood is deficient, it is unable to rise and nourish the head; the hair then turns grey or falls out. The health of the kidneys is expressed in the hair of the head, and greying or loss of hair is a sign of kidney deficiency’."

Dharmananda also points to a number of studies that demonstrated a restoration of hair growth by way of various traditional formulas containing polygonum. Notably, a double-blind placebo-controlled study of an anti-aging mixture containing astragalus, dan shen, and polygonum conducted with 507 persons was reported in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine in 1986. The herb treatment group had nearly 77% of patients showing improvements in parameters ascribed to aging, including a re-growth of hair during the 3-month trial.

A more recent trial notes that polygonum shows promise as a hair and colour restorative and is capable of inducing terminal hair to grow instead of vellus hair (the fine baby hair growth associated with use of minoxidil).

Herbal researcher Dr. Albert Y. Leung explains that, "Cured (polygonum) is regarded by the Chinese as one of the most important anti-aging herbs and is extensively used in tonic formulas". He emphasizes that it is the cured polygonum rather than raw that is medicinally potent.

Both the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China and a World Health Organization (WHO) monograph confirm that polygonum is used in China traditionally to lower plasma cholesterol.'

A review of TCM herbal treatments for high cholesterol levels illustrated a three-month single-blind trial that used polygonum along with hawthorn and Cassia, which noted a highly significant average fall in total cholesterol levels of 2 mmol/L. Zhou also related that over 80 percent of TCM formulas for lowering cholesterol contained polygonum.

Herbalist Ron Teeguarden explains that laboratory animals fed polygonum showed fewer atherosclerotic lesions and lower blood cholesterol levels than control animals. "Clinical evidence supports the moderate anti-hypercholesterolemia effect," he adds.

Administration: 25-40 drops (0.8-1.3 ml) two to four times daily in a little water on an empty stomach.

Contraindications and Cautions:

Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not take this product if you have been diagnosed with liver disease or if you suffer from diarrhoea.