He Shou Wu

Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Fleece-flower Root

Dosage

Decoction 10-20g can be orally taken.

Toxicity

LD50: 50g/kg (mice/oral-feeding/alcohol-based raw herb percolate); 2.7g/kg (mice/abdominal injection/alcohol-based raw herb percolate); processed, the herb has a much lower toxicity. (1)

Chemical Composition

Phospholipid (lecithin, 3.7%); Chrysophanol; Emodin; Physcion; Emodin-1-6-dimethylether; Questin; Emodin-citrosein; Questinol; 2-acetylemodin; Chein; Chrysophanol anthrone; Rhapontin; Emodin-8-I-a-D-glucoside; 2-methoxy-6-acetyl-7-methyjuglone; Tricin; N-transferuloyltyramine; N-transferuloyl-3-methyldopamine; 2, 3, 5, 4’-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-I-a-D-glucoside. (2) , (3) , (4) , (5)

Precautions

Potential adverse effects of this herb are mainly digestive canal reaction, with thin stool seen in the majority of cases, and occasional light abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. (6) , (7) , (8)

Pharmacology

Delaying the aging process

1) Protecting superoxide dismutase (SOD): the herb can arrest bupleurum or cortisone-induced decrease in SOD in mice’s blood, and restore it to the normal level. (9) 2) Affecting monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity: MAO-B, one of two types of MAO, is closely related to the aging process, and researchers have found that among a number of herbs that affect MAO activity, this herb is the greatest inhibitor of MAO activity, with the inhibiting rate reaching as high as 82% when the concentration is at 248mg/ml. (10)

Enhancing immunity

This herb is found to: 1) increase the weight of mice’s thymus gland and delaying the gland’s atrophy process; (11) , (12) , (13) , (14) 2) enhance the phagocytic function of mice’s abdominal macrophage; (15) and 3) enhance the immunological function of T and B lymphocytes. (16)

Enhancing adrenocortical function

This herb is found to: 1) increase mice’s adrenal gland, and 2) increase the hepatic glycogen content in hungry mice whose adrenal gland has been removed. (17)

Effects on hematopoietic cells

He Shou Wu promotes hematopoietic stem cells. (18)

Effects on the cardiovascular system

Injecting this herb to the isolated frog heart decreases the rate of heartbeat, an effect that intensifies with the increase of dosage. This herb also counteracts the heartbeat rate increase induced by isoproterenol, and to some extent it prevents myocardial ischemia. (19) , (20)

Lowering blood fat

Taking the herb orally at the dosage of 5g/kg by patients of high cholesterol can lower cholesterol to the normal level - after 7 consecutive days of treatment, the total cholesterol level in the treatment group has been lowered to 88 ± 11mg% (compared to the control group’s 188 ± 12mg%; p

Protecting the liver

In experiments on mice, both the raw and processed versions of this herb lower the hydroprednisone acetate-induced hepatic fat buildup, and lessen the hepatomegaly induced by carbon tetrachloride poisoning. (21) Furthermore, researchers have found that this herb can stabilize liver cells by way of membrane mechanism. (22)

Antibacterial effect

Experiments indicate that both the raw and processed versions of this herb inhibit a number of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus albus, Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, typhoid bacillus, Bacillus paratyphosus, Bacillus diphtheriae, and beta hemolytic streptococcus. The mean inhibitory concentration invariably falls between 0.08 and 0.5g/ml. (23)

References

  1. Shen Dao Xiu, et al. Journal of Chinese Patent Formulas. 1982;(1):21.
  2. Wang Yu Sheng (ed). Pharmacology and Application of Chinese Medicine. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House; 1983.
  3. Li Jian Bei, et al. Chinese Materia Medica. 1993;24(3):115.
  4. Hu Shi Lin (ed). Genuine Chinese Materia Medica. Heilongjiang: Science and Technology Press; 1989.
  5. Li Zeng Xi, et al. Chinese Materia Medica. 1986;16(12):15.
  6. Wang Yu Sheng (ed). Pharmacology and Application of Chinese Medicine. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House; 1983.
  7. Zhu Tong, et al. Hubei Journal of TCM. 1992;4(1):17.
  8. Li Xiao Heng. Jiangxi Journal of TCM. 1992;23(3):4.
  9. Yao Ming Chun, et al. Journal of Chengdu College of TCM. 1983;(4):49.
  10. Dai Yao Ren, et al. TCM News. 1985;(1):12.
  11. Yao Ming Chun, et al. Journal of Chengdu College of TCM. 1983;(4):49.
  12. Wang Wei, et al. Journal of Combining TCM and Western Medicine. 1988;(4):228.
  13. Yao Ming Chun. Pharmacy Bulletin. 1984;(11):28.
  14. Ye Ding Jiang, et al. Chinese Medicine Bulletin. 1987;(3):21.
  15. Ye Ding Jiang, et al. Chinese Medicine Bulletin. 1987;(3):21.
  16. Zhou Zhi Wen, et al. Journal of TCM Pharmacology and Clinical Application. 1989;5(1):24.
  17. Shen Dao Xiu, et al. Journal of Chinese Patent Formulas. 1982;(1):21.
  18. Zhou Zhi Wen, et al. Journal of TCM Pharmacology and Clinical Application. 1991;7(5):19.
  19. Wang Yu Sheng (ed). Pharmacology and Application of Chinese Medicine. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House; 1983.
  20. Liu Kai Ming. Journal of TCM. 1981;22(2):109.
  21. Liu Cheng Ji, et al. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1992;17(10):595.
  22. Deng Wen Long, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1987;18(3):42.
  23. Zhen Han Chen, et al. Chinese Medicine Bulletin. 1986;(3):53.