Sep 14, 2023

Top Health Benefits of He Shou Wu

Top Health Benefits of He Shou Wu

Scientific/Latin name: Polygonum multiflorum

Also known as: Chinese climbing knotweed, Fo-ti or Fleeceflower

Native to: China, Taiwan and Japan

Parts used: Root 

Top benefits: Antioxidant-rich, longevity enhancing, anti-aging

Leaves of the He Shou Wu plant

He Shou Wu, the Longevity Tonic

Your anti-aging routine isn’t complete until you’ve added He Shou Wu. This potent herb contains bioactive compounds that help support healthy aging and prevent premature aging through the process of antioxidant protection. 

History of He Shou Wu

The origin of He Shou Wu is shrouded in legend. According to the Chinese myth, a monk gave Mr. Ho instructions to take this herb in order to address his old age. As the story goes, the old man’s gray hair turned black, and his youth returned. Supposedly, he lived to be 130 years old and never lost his head of black hair.

Also called Ho Shou Wu, He Shou Wu is officially listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia and is one of the most popular and highly revered superior tonic herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). HSW root is considered to act similar to a classic adaptogen, building the body’s defences against stress and supporting the balance between yin and yang energies.

While not a stimulant, it’s considered beneficial for lifting mood, and believed to positively impact the central nervous system and to be both energizing and calming at the same time. 

Sources of He Shou Wu

Prepared He Shou Wu root (the variety used in JOYÀ's Superblends), refers to the traditional method of cooking the raw roots in a special liquid made from black beans, and is considered a different and superior medicine than the raw variety. 

This process makes the herb easier to digest and is thought to bring out more of its strengthening qualities. JOYÀ sources wildcrafted He Shou Wu from remote areas in China, where it is natively grown, and submits it for rigorous testing against toxins and contaminants before and after it is blended into our products. 

*The summary presented here refers to prepared HSW.

Health Benefits of He Shou Wu

Ready to be wooed by the benefits of He Shou Wu? As your resident team of herbalists, we’re here to give you the down low on this rejuvenating herb.


Free radicals cause oxidative stress in our cells. Those cells can then become damaged, and that damage can replicate to new cells, causing premature aging in the skin and throughout the entire body. Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage by neutralizing free radicals, making them nature’s own unsung hero of anti-aging potions.

HSW has been shown to exhibit high activity of antioxidants, compounds which play a vital, health-protecting role in human life. Antioxidants have been shown to help protect against various metabolic diseases, heart disease, brain disorders and age-related syndromes, as they help the body combat cellular damage caused by free radicals (reactive chemicals containing oxygen).

HSW has also been shown to increase the body's level of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, two very important antioxidants that the body produces to fight free radical damage and maintain cellular balance. Of particular interest, some animal model studies suggest that HSW may have neuro-protective actions due to its antioxidant activity. (1, 2)


HSW is considered to be a powerful longevity herb that replenishes Jing (essence) to the body’s cells, and is revered more than any other herb in TCM for its ability to prevent premature aging and enhance longevity and youthfulness. Its main actions are nourishing the heart (believed to house the "spirit", referring to one's vitality), kidneys (which play a key role in growth and aging processes), and the liver (which regulates the movement of Qi (vital energy or life force) and body fluids). Thus, its strength comes from its ability to cleanse the body by cleaning the kidney and liver, and in turn the blood.

He Shou Wu Root

Side Effects of He Shou Wu

Although many people use He Shou Wu safely and experience no side effects, you shouldn’t use it if you have pre-existing liver disease, liver injury, or a medical condition or if your healthcare provider has advised you against it. It’s always best to get medical advice to make sure that any herbal supplement is a good fit for your body. 

The health research presented in this article is for informational use only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and should not be construed as a recommendation of specific products. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not provide dosage or format recommendations or possible drug interactions, and accordingly, should be used with the advice of a qualified health care practitioner.

Review of clinical studies of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. and its isolated bioactive compounds 
The Harmonious Energies of Yin and Yang - TCM World 
Antioxidant activity of stilbene glycoside from Polygonum multiflorum Thunb in vivo - ScienceDirect 
Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.: A Review on Chemical Analysis, Processing Mechanism, Quality Evaluation, and Hepatotoxicity - PMC 
Toxicity of raw and processed roots of Polygonum multiflorum - ScienceDirect 
Effect of sample preparation on components and liver toxicity of Polygonum multiflorum - ScienceDirect 
Ho-shou-wu | Institute for Traditional Medicine