Fo-ti Root, also known as He Shou Wu is a perennial flowering vine native to southwestern China, Japan and Taiwan. Traditional Chinese Medicine employs root preparations both alone and in conjunction with many other herbs as a tonic for longevity and energy.
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.*
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.