About Herb He Shou Wu

Chinese herb

Hé Shôu Wu

Common Name: Fleeceflower root
Botanical Name: Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.
Pharm. Name: Radix Polygoni Multiflori
Used Part: Tuberous root
Taste and Property: Sweet, bitter, astringent, slightly warm
Embryonic Property: Liver and kidney


  1. To replenish the vital essence of the liver and kidney
  2. To nourish the blood
  3. Laxative
  4. Detoxicant


  1. Early greying of hair, aching back and knees, neurasthenia, insomnia, palpitation
  2. Anemia
  3. Constipation of the elderly
  4. Boils, abscess, scrofula
  5. Hypercholesteremia

Contra-indication: For a person with diarrhea

Chemical Component:

Anthraquinone (chrysophanol, chrysophanic acid, rhein, chrysophanic acid anthrone, emodin, methylemodin), tannin, lecithin

Recommended Dosage: 9 – 25gm

Pharm. Action:

  1. Action on blood sugar – after a period of 30 – 60 minute of the oral intake of the decoction by the rabbits, the blood sugar concentration will reach the highest point, then slowly decline.
  2. Increase liver glycogen content – experiment done on the hungry adrenalectomized mice.
  3. Lower blood cholesterol – reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, prevent the deposition of cholesterol in liver, and prevent the formation of atheosclerosis.
  4. Lecithin is the essential ingredient in the formation of nerve tissues, blood cells and other cell membranes.
  5. Cardiotonic – excitatory action on the frog’s heart in vitro.
  6. Laxative – because of anthraquinone (rhein and emodin)
  7. Anti-bacterial – inhibit the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacillus dysenteriae.
  8. Action similar to adrenalcorticoid hormone.

(reference: The handbook of chinese herbs)

Nature and Taste

Raw : bitter, astringent in taste and neutral in nature.
Prepared : bitter, sweet in taste and warm in nature.

Action and Indications

Processed fleece-flower root: invigorating the liver and kidney, replenishing vital essence and blood, blackening hair, strengthening bones and tendons and prolonging life.

Raw fleece-flower root: loosening the bowel to relieve constipation, detoxicating and removing damp-heat.

It is used for: 1) Sallow complexion due to deficiency of blood, dizziness, tinnitus, early whitening of hair, soreness and lassitude of loins and knees, numbness of limbs and hyperlipemia. Frequent use can cure dyszoospermia; (2) Constipation due to dry intestine, abscess, scrofula, sores and carbuncle.

Direction and Dosage: Be decocted first, take 9-30 grams daily..

Toxicological Study

Raw fleece-flower root is more toxic than prepared one. In general, there are no side effects in clinical applications. But some people will have more times of stool, affect with slight diarrhea and abdominal pain after administration. A few will feel chest distress and intense heat inside.

Caution : It is contraindicated for patients with loose stool or with serious damp phlegm.



Ingredients: Fleece-flower root (prepared), Chinese angelica root, psoralea fruit, wolfberry fruit, dodder seed, poria and achyranthes root.

Actions and indications : Tonifying the liver and kidney and blackening hair. It is used for deficiency of both the liver and kidney, early whitening of hair, loose teeth, spermatorrhea, night sweat, dysphoria, thirst, emaciated body and lassitude of tendons and bones.

Direction and dosage: Take 9 grams orally, twice a day.
Caution : Cold and pungent stimulants are prohibited to be eaten.

(reference : The Collection of Ageing Delaying Traditional Chinese Medicines with Color Illustration)

Other Indications:

Liver-kidney yin depletion with signs such as premature greying of the hair, weakness of lumbar and knees, and seminal emission; blood vacuity dizziness; uterine bleeding; vaginal discharge; enduring malaria; swollen yong; intestinal wind; hemorrhoids.

Source : The Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica, page 52

Used for tumors of bone, acute leukemia and intracranial malignant tumor.
reference : Kang Ai Zhi Wu Yao Ji Qi Yang Fang, page 389


The article is extracted from English-Chinese Concise, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Publishing House of Shanghai College of T.C.M. (1993)

Identification and Treatment

1 Yin Deficiency of the Liver and Kidney.

Main Manifestations: Early cataract with senile debility, dizziness, tinnitus, and soreness of the low back. Red tongue with scanty coating or without coating, thready and rapid pulse.

Therapeutic Method: Nourish the liver and kidney.

Decoction: Prepared rehmannia root 24g, Chinese yam 9g, dogwood fruit 9g, moutan bark 9g, oriental water plantain rhizome 9g, poria 9g, schisandra fruit 9g, Chinese angelica root 9g, sesame seed 12g, mulberry fruit 12g, cassia seed 12g, and wolfberry fruit 12g.

External Treatment: Use the needle to dissect the cataract.

2 Deficiency of the Liver and Dampness of the Spleen

Main Manifestations: Early cataract, plumpy constitution, mental fatigue and lassitude, edema in lower limbs in the afternoon or after tiredness. Pale tongue, feeble pulse.

Therapeutic Method: Tonify the liver, strengthen the spleen and dry the damp.

Decoction: Prepared rehmannia root 24g, Chinese angelica root 9g, chuanxiong rhizome 9g, white peony root 9g, red tangerine peel 9g, prepared pinellia tuber 9g, raw licorice 9g, plantain seed (decocted in bag) 9g, betel nut 12g, chrysanthemum 12g, pleione rhizome 3g, and poria 9g.

Medicated Diet

1 Decoct 15g of Siberian solomonseal rhizome, 9g of wolfberry fruit, 3g of chrysanthemum flower, 18g of pearl shell, 9g of dried tangerine peel and a right amount of brown sugar in water. Take one dose daily, for 10 – 15 days successively. The decoction is applied to the type of kidney yin deficiency.

2 Wrap 3g of bat’s feces, 30g of Chinese yam, 9g of dodder seed in a piece of cloth. Add 2500ml of water and boil the drugs until 1500ml of decoction is left. Then, put 60g of polished round grained rice and right amount of brown sugar into the decoction to make gruel after removing the dregs. Take the gruel a dose a day, 15 – 20 doses successively. The recipe is suitable for the type of deficiency of both the liver and spleen.

3 Have 10 sparrows. Get rid of their feathers, wings, claws and beaks, and smash their intestines, stomachs, bones and flesh together. Have magnetite 30g calcined and dipped into vinegar repeatedly for 7 times, and then grind it into fine powder. Grind medicated leaven 30g into fine powder after it is fired. Grind halite 30g and desert living cistanche 30g into powder after they have been soaked in wine and wine-fried. Grind dodder seed 90g into powder after it has been soaked in wine for 3 days and dried under the sunlight. Make pills with all the above powder and a right amount of rice wine and honey by refining them into soft extract, with each pill in 0.6g. Take 20 pills each time, twice a day, after being infused with warm wine. Take them for several days successively.

Acupuncture for Varicose Veins



Varicose veins – distended, visible superficial veins on the legs – are almost always the result of problems with valves within the venous system of the leg. All leg veins contain one-way flap valves which are designed to help the flow of blood in the veins in an upward direction on its return to the heart.

When one or more of these valves fails to function correctly, some blood is able to flow back down into the leg – in the wrong direction – and tends to overfill and distend branches of superficial veins under the skin. Over a period of time, this additional pressure of blood causes the veins to stretch, bulge and become visible. At the same time, tiny capillary branches of the veins are also overfilled with blood, producing multiple spider veins and purple discolouration.

In some cases, varicose veins can also cause skin changes, damage, sclerosis, heaviness, weakness, tiredness and pain on the leg.


According to TCM theory, the general pathology of varicose veins is usually spleen qi deficiency and blood stagnation. Factors like stress, long time standing, emotional agitation and greasy foods are the causes for qi and blood disharmony, qi deficiency, production of phlegm and blood stagnation.

To break this down even further, varicose veins can be classified into three broad categories:

toxic damp heat  type spleen deficiency, food stagnation, qi stagnation transforming to heat, accumulated toxic heat flowing downward to the meridians. Symptoms include tight varicose veins, local redness, swelling, hotness and pain, red color skin around the veins, scorching pain, thirsty but not want to drink, foul breath, restlessness, red, tender and puffy tongue with yellow greasy coating, slippery and rapid pulse.

damp heat type   accumulated phlegm and dampness transforming to heat, damp-heat flowing down ward. Varicose veins like messy ropes, local aching, tightness, heaviness and distension, oily and bright surrounding skin, body heaviness and tiredness, heaviness of head as if being wrapped, symptoms aggravates in the afternoons, dark purple and enlarged tongue with turbid greasy coating, deep and rapid pulse.

deficient cold and dampness type  cold and dampness accumulated in the interior due to qi deficiency. Varicose veins shaped like earthworms, soft upon palpation, mild continuous pain, gray or sallow skin color, local cold and damp sensation, dizziness, symptoms aggravates after stress, sallow complexion, pale enlarged tongue with white greasy coating, moderate and weak pulse.


Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine which has more than 2000 years of history. This ancient treatment method has very good effects on varicose veins. However, it is rarely known to the Western world.

Acupuncture can improve the blood circulation effectively. By inserting the tiny needles into the key points along the meridians, the acupuncturist forces the blood to move in the veins and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the points for coordinating the internal organs are selected to enhance the energy and blood flow to supply and develop the source of blood to the area. Like the clogged pipe being washed wide open by a forceful supply of water.  Sometimes, suctions will also be used to remove the stagnant blood.

Points selection
P6 | H7 | Lu 9 | Sp 6 | Ren 6