HE SHOU WU,SHOU WU, polygonum multiflorum Thunb, Complementary and Alternative Healing University

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HE SHOU WU 何首烏,  ye jiao teng 夜交藤,   SHOU WU  首烏   

Edited by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu         (in English and Chinese 中英文)

See picture of he shou wu plant here. 按此看圖。.

He shou wu is the root of polygonum multiflorum Thunb. It is harvested during fall and winter after the leaves become wilted. The plant is called ye jiao teng  夜交藤, which literally means "vines that tangle at night".

Pharmaceutical name:

英 文 藥 名 ﹕

Radix Polygoni Multiflori

Latin botanical name﹕

拉 丁 學 名 ﹕ :

Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.

Cynanchum Welfordii Hemsl. (The variety found in Korea )

Pron. in Japanese﹕

日 語 發 音 ﹕


Pron. in Korean﹕

韓 語 發 音 ﹕


Pron. in Cantonese

粵 音 ﹕

ho4 sau2 wu1

Common Name﹕

英 文 名 稱 ﹕

fleece flower root, fo-ti (a made up name in Hawaii, for commercial purposes)

英 文名為 fleece flower root。 有某夏威夷商人最先把何首烏叫 做 fo-ti。 按此看fo-ti 名稱的來源。


分 佈 ﹕

Henan, Hubei, Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Sichuan

河 南 ﹐ 湖 北 ﹐ 廣 西 ﹐ 廣 東 ﹐ 貴 州 ﹐ 四 川 。

Properties (characteristics):藥 性﹕

sheng shou wu (raw): astringent with some sweetness, mildly warm.

sheng shou wu (raw):bitter and with some sweetness, neutral.

制 首烏:甘﹐ 澀,微溫。

生 首烏:甘﹐ 苦,平。

Channels (meridians) entered:


zhi shou wu (prepared): enters liver and kidney channels.

sheng shou wu (raw): enters liver, heart and large intestine channels.

制 首烏:歸肝﹐ 腎經。
生首烏:歸心﹐ 肝﹐ 大腸經。

Actions & Indications﹕

主 治 ﹕

For yin deficiency or blood deficiency, treatment of hyperlipemia, neurasthenia, split personality, premature white hair, nerve injuries, skin wind rash,   and constipation.

For relieve of heat toxicity (re du), treatment of eczema, sores, carbuncles, goiter, scrofula and inflammation of lymph nodes.

Secure essence (jing), treatment of spermatorrhea, vagina discharge, vulvovaginitis.

For qi deficiency (qixu) and blood deficency, treatment of chronic malaria.

Leaves (ye jiao teng) for external use on boils to expel pus.

Ye jiao teng can be used in decoction for calming effect.

陰 虛  或 血 虛 而 有 高 血 脂﹐  神 經 衰 弱 ﹐精 神 分 裂 症 ﹐  鬍 鬚 頭 髮 早 白﹐ 神 經 受 傷 ﹐風 疹 ﹐ 便 秘 。

去 熱 毒 。 治 各種瘡癰﹐ 皮膚癢﹐ 蕁麻 疹 ﹐ 甲狀腺腫 ﹐ 淋巴結核﹐ 淋 巴 腺 發 炎 。

固 精 ﹐ 治 遺精﹐ 帶下﹐陰 戶 發 炎 。

 氣虛血虛 而 有 長 期 瘧疾。 
葉 外 用 治 瘡 腫 。 排 膿 。 
夜 交 藤 煎 劑 有 鎮 靜 作 用 。 

Medical Function﹕

藥 理 ﹕

anti aging, improving immune system, alleviating serum cholesterol, reversing hardening of arteries, improving bowel movements, stimulating adrenal cortex, regulate epinephrine and norepenephrine, regulate blood sugar, protecting liver function, improving the development of red blood cells, inhibiting TB, diarrhea, influenza.

抗衰 老,提高免疫系統,減輕血清膽固醇,逆轉硬化的動脈血管,改善腸蠕動,刺激腎上腺皮質,規範腎上腺素和副腎線上素,調節血糖,保護肝臟功 能,提高紅血細胞生成,抑制結核,腹瀉,流感。

Chemical ingredients﹕

化 學 成 份 ﹕




大黄 酚

tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside










chrysophanic acid





 β-谷 甾醇


2,3,5,4-四羟 基對苯乙烯-2-0-β-D-葡萄糖甙







3.1% of fat

脂肪 3.1%

45.2% of starch

澱粉 45.2%


用 量 ﹕

9 to 30 g

9~30克 。

Samples of formulae:


  1. For split personality: he shou wu 90g, ye jiao teng 90g, hong zao 2-6 pieces. Boil with water and use as tea.

  2. For premature white hair: zhi he shou wu, shu di huang 30g each, dang gui 15g . Soak in 1000cc of rice wine for 10-15 days. Use 15-30 c.c. per day.

  3. For nerve injuries: 30 g of he shou wu. Boil in water. Take in the  morning and at night for one month.

  4. For malaria: he shou wu 12 g, gan cao 12 g. Make into decoction.

  5. For blood deficient    : ren shen yang rong tang


  1. 精神分裂症﹕何首烏 90 克﹐ 夜交藤 90 克﹐紅 棗 2 至 6 枚。 水服 。

  2. 按此看看 少年白髮 藥方

  3. 神經受傷﹕何首烏30克。水煎。分為二 份。早晚各服一次。一個月為一療程。

  4. 瘧疾﹕何首烏 12 克﹐甘草  12 克。水煎服。
  5. 血虛: 按此看 人參養榮湯

Modern Research:


  1. He shou wu powder can lower the blood cholesterol, triglyceride, b-lipoprotein (LDL) of high lipid animals. They were lowered by 89%, 42%, and 54% respectively. The triglyceride of the liver was lowered by 52%.

  2. The ingredient of he shou wu, 2,3,5,4'-tetrahydroxystibene-2O-b-D-glucoside possesses a strong inhibiting effect on fatty liver formation, and liver damage of rats caused by oxidized corn oil. It also inhibits the elevation of serum ALT, AST and lipid peroxydation (LPO), and the damaging of the liver.

  3. He shou wu can lower serum free fatty acid and lipid peroxydation.

  4. In vitro studies showed that he shou wu can protect liver, anti fatty liver formation because  it can inhibit lipid oxydation and the destruction of liver cells.

  5. He shou wu is being used in improving the function of the liver, in fatty liver,  and in viral hepatitis.

  6. Among the the 4 different kinds of prepared he shou wu, raw he shou wu possesses the strongest property in eliminating free radicals. The strength of the different preparation in eliminating free radicals is in the the following order: raw he shou wu, soy bean prepared he shou wu, steamed he shou wu, and soy plus alcohol prepared he shou wu.


  1. 何首烏粉劑可使高脂動物血中膽固醇﹐ 甘 油 三酯和β-脂蛋白分別 下降89%﹐ 42%和54%,肝中甘油三酯下降52%。

  2. 何首烏所含均二苯烯成分對過氧化玉米油 所致大鼠的脂肪肝和肝功能損害﹐ 肝臟過氧化脂質含量上升﹐ 血清谷 丙轉氨酶及谷 草轉氨酶升高 均有顯著對抗作用。

  3. 何首烏能使血清游離脂肪酸及肝臟過氧化 脂質顯著下降。

  4. 何首烏在體外試驗中也更進一步証明,其 保肝﹐ 抗脂肪肝作用是在於抑制過氧化脂質的產生及其對肝細胞的破壞。

  5. 何首烏有改善肝功能之功效,常用於各種 脂肪肝﹐ 病毒性肝炎。

  6. 中國人民解放軍總醫院藥劑科藥師等人利 用1,1-二苯基-2-三硝基苯肼法(DPPH法)對4種何首烏炮制品清除自由基的能力進行了 研究。結果表明, 4種何首烏炮制品 的抑制率由高到低排序為:生品>豆制品>清蒸品>豆加酒制品,生何首烏清除自由基的能力最強。(來源 ﹕中國醫藥報﹐2005﹐ 3月1日)




Use caution in cases of spleen deficient (pixu). Not to use in presence of phlegm or diarrhea due to shenyangxu.

There are report that this herb has cause liver inflammation in some patients.

脾虚須 小心應用。陽 虚而痰多者不宜用。有用何 首烏病患發生肝炎的告 。



"Ben he shou wu" sold along the roadsides in Taiwan is huang yao zi, not he shou wu and is toxic. It cannot be taken frequently. Most locally grown products are usually added a prefix of  "ben".

在 台灣常見路邊販賣的本何首烏,常是黃藥子。不是何首烏。黃藥子有相當的毒性,不能常服。在台灣有人稱黃藥子為本首烏。在台灣土產的常會加一個 "本" 字。  請參考另一網 站黃藥子

Toxicity of huang yao zi (not he shou wu)

The roots of huang yao and ling yu zi (the pearly sprouts under the leaves) contain toxin.

Over-consumption can cause burning sensation of the mouth and tongue, dripping of saliva, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constriction of pupils; if serious, cardiac paralysis, difficulty in breathing, coma and death.

Antidode: empty stomach, promote diarrhea, take egg white, or ge gen starch porridge, and activated carbon; drink cane sugar solution, or intra venous feeding of glucose solution. Taking mug bean soup or boil gang mei gen 250 grams with 5 bowls of water and simmer till 2 bowls and use as tea.

解救方法:洗胃,導瀉,內服蛋清或粉 糊及活性炭;飲 糖水或靜脈滴注葡萄糖鹽水,亦有用綠豆湯內服;或用岡 梅50克 ,用清水5碗 煎至2碗 飲服。

 [1] doi:  10.5009/gnl.2011.5.4.493


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Last update: Mar 9, 2013; 10:06  p. LAH  polygonum_multiflorum.htm  he_shou_wu.htm  he_shou_wu____.htm