Fo Ti: How to Use
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Alanda Greene
Posted on: March 7, 2000

I recently bought some Fo Ti herb from you, seeing it in your catalogue. Can you tell me the most effective way to use this herb and the quantities for preparation?

Fo ti, or "he-shou-wu" in Chinese, is a popular Chinese tonic herb used by millions to develop the chi energy. It helps to strengthen the blood by stimulating the formation of blood. As Ron Teeguarden says in his book, "Chinese Tonic Herbs" (Japan Publications, 1985), it is an "extremely important herb in the Chinese tonic system."

Teeguarden says that he shou wu is usually taken in combination with other herbs in formulas such as "Longevity Herbal". But he says it can also be taken as a "simple" – a preparation made with a single herb. The roots can even be eaten raw.

Raw he-shou-wu causes certain toxins to be released in the body. It also helps to stimulate the intestines. For this purpose, you can make a tea with boiling water or you can eat it cooked in soup with meat.

Teeguarden recommends making a decoction of the roots combined with an equal amount by weight of ginseng root. A decoction is made by boiling herbs slowly over low heat. The Chinese start with enough water in a pot to just cover the herbs and then boil until the water level drops so you can’t see clear water. The remaining liquid is strained out and allowed to cool. This liquid can be taken daily. Teeguarden also says that the two herbs can be extracted in alcohol, and a "sake"-cupful of the liquid is taken daily.

According to Daniel Reid’s book "Chinese Herbal Medicine" (available from Richters), a typical dose is 7-15 grams of root. Another Chinese herbal suggests 10-20 grams, and don’t take it if you experience diarrhea.

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