Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • Polygum multiflorum, Fo-Ti


He Shou Wu is an herb that was long used to prevent the effects of aging. The root has recently been used to improve brain function, prevent heart disease, and to lower cholesterol. He Shou Wu can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. It can also be made into a tea and applied to the skin.


There are no advised doses for He Shou Wu.

What Research Shows

There is not enough data to support that He Shou Wu is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may not be safe to take He Shou Wu by mouth. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use on the skin. He Shou Wu may damage the liver. 1-4 Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not take it by mouth or use on the skin.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with liver problems should talk to their doctors before taking He Shou Wu. It may disrupt liver function.


REF1 Teschke R, Wolff A, et al. Review article: Herbal hepatotoxicity--an update on traditional Chinese medicine preparations. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jul;40(1):32-50.

REF2 Lin L, Ni B, et al. Traditional usages, botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.: a review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jan 15;159:158-183.

REF3 Li H, Wang X, et al. Hepatoprotection and hepatotoxicity of Heshouwu, a Chinese medicinal herb: Context of the paradoxical effect. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Oct;108(Pt B):407-418.

REF4 Byeon JH, Kil JH, et al. Systematic review of published data on herb induced liver injury. J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Apr 6;233:190-196.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 05/27/2020