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The Way of The Witch Newsletter | Plant Focus: He Shou Wu

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Plant Focus: He Shou Wu

AKA: Fo-ti, flowery knotweed

Scientific Name
Polygonum multiflorum

Planetary Correspondence: Mars/Saturn

Corresponding Element: Fire/Earth

Description: A long vining plant with tiny leaves on dozens of small branches.

Parts Used: Root

Habitat: Native to central and southern China. It grows extensively in Japan and Taiwan. It is also found in the U.S. growing in uncultivated areas of North Carolina.

History & Folklore: Li Ao from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) wrote a book called “The Legend of He Shou Wu” documenting in detail the herb's discovery and uses. The herb itself was named after the man who discovered it. According to the story as well as numerous accounts through the ages, it has the ability to restore vitality and reverse signs of premature aging, with many reporting their grey hair returning to its natural color. The large old roots of the he shou we plant are revered by many and are believed to have remarkable powers.

Medicinal uses: One of the oldest Chinese tonic herbs, He Shou Wu provides a number of important benefits. In a clinical trial, the herb reduced cholesterol levels in over 80% of patients. It has also proven beneficial in countering infections including tuberculosis bacillus and malaria. In China, it is considered a most important herb for strengthening both the liver and the kidneys, making it an excellent blood cleanser as well.

He shou wu is often prescribed for those showing signs of premature ageing and grey hair. Long term use of the herb may purportedly return grey hair to its natural color. It is widely used as a tonic to increase vitality and encourage longevity, as well as help symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, numbness and blurred vision. It is a calming herb that has also been shown to help the body produce more of the critical enzyme superoxide dismutax, which protects against the dangerous free radical superoxide. This, along with its antioxidant content (including stilbene glycosides), is believed to be the reason for its amazing anti-aging properties.

Magical/Energetic Uses: Use this herb in ritual or as an amulet to bring about strength and longevity.  Its energy is also beneficial in promoting fertility. Though not taken internally, the leaves and vine of this plant may be employed in ritual as a representation of intimacy and connectedness and can also be used effectively to bind negativity.

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