If you have been looking into natural hair loss treatments, then you have likely at least heard of Fo-ti. This plant is in almost every single type of hair loss treatment that you can find. But the question about Fo-ti is if it is really as useful for your hair as it claims to be.
What Is Fo-Ti?
Fo-ti, as mentioned, is a plant, the scientific name of which is Polygonum multiflorum. It is actually a perennial flowering vine with either white or pink flowers, red stems, and heart-shaped leaves. Other names for the Fo-ti include he shou wu, Chinese cornbind, fleece flower, Chinese knotweed, climbing knotweed, and flowery knotweed.
If you have access to a Fo-ti plant, you should know that almost all parts of it can be used medicinally. This includes the leaves and stems as well as the commonly used root. It is the tuber root that is used when you buy Fo-ti in powder or in any other form.
You can buy Fo-ti root in four main ways: raw, cooked, dried, and powdered. The most common way of getting Fo-ti is in the form of powder stuffed into capsules. You can even buy this root cured, made into a tincture, or steamed.
Though Fo-ti is native to China, it is also found growing in both Japan and Taiwan. Fo-ti is used in Chinese medicine, where it has been around for a very long time. This root supposedly has a very distinctive taste that some claim to be sweet with a bitter aftertaste.
In fact, there is even a little bit of a legend around this plant. This legend is about a man known as He Shou Wu, an aged villager who successfully used Fo-ti in order to regain his dark hair and youthful appearance. It is for this reason that the second most popular name of Fo-ti is the he shou wu.
Though the legend that goes with it may seem to be a little farfetched, there is some truth behind every myth. In the legend, the man’s hair had turned gray, besides being old. This hints at what this plant can do.
The Benefits Of Fo-Ti
As mentioned, Fo-ti is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Besides helping with youthfulness, other things that Chinese medicine uses Fo-ti include blood tonics to take care of any deficiencies that you may have. Blood deficiencies can show themselves as dizziness, blurred vision, weakness, and even graying of your hair.
Besides nourishing your heart, Fo-ti is also used for things like high cholesterol, insomnia, menstruation problems, constipation, acne, athlete’s foot, prostatitis, high cholesterol, joint pain, and fatigue, among other things.
Some of the properties of Fo-ti are also supposedly anti-tumor, anti-HIV, nephroprotection, anti-alopecia, and anti-atherosclerotic. Fo-ti is also sometimes used to support liver and kidney health in addition to being an anti-inflammatory.
Fo-ti even has a compound that can reduce age-related changes in the part of your brain that controls your memory. This makes this plant perfect for those who worry about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Though it may sound contradictory, Fo-ti can both help you rest ad help with your energy. On the one hand, this plant helps with insomnia and anxiety, even with those who have a bipolar disorder. On the other hand, this plant can increase your energy without acting as a stimulant.
Other than that, Fo-ti also helps to manage your estrogen. Estrogen can be a problem for women who are dealing with menopause. Though not as high in estrogen activity as things like soy, Fo-ti can still be helpful for managing menopausal symptoms.
There are also various antioxidants in Fo-ti. This is where its anti-cancer properties come from, since antioxidants eliminate the free radicals that cause cancer. Finally, in larger amounts, Fo-ti is also a natural laxative. Though you shouldn’t take large amounts of Fo-ti for longer than a few days, this can be a nice way of relieving constipation.
For Your Hair
Like the story of the man who regained his color, Fo-ti does have compounds in it that can help with your natural hair color. Depending on how much of this plant you use, you may even be able to regain some of the color in hairs that have already turned gray yourself.
This is because of the fact that Fo-ti is suspected of helping with your melanin production. The melanin in your cells is what gives your hair its color, and it is why Fo-ti is able to give you back your color.
With the antibacterial effects that this plant has, it is perfect for keeping your scalp healthy and free of any fungal infections and anything like that. Meanwhile, the anti-inflammatory parts of it will be a huge help as well, with inflammation being a leading killer of hair.
This plant has many antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Though this does help fight against cancer, free radicles can also block the pores of your scalp. Blocked cells will eventually die of malnutrition.
As for the help that Fo-ti gives with estrogen, it is important to note that hormonal imbalances can affect hair. More specifically, imbalances will often cause hair loss to some degree. So, help balancing this will also help your hair.
And these things that Fo-ti does for your hair are just of few of the more well-known ones. Who’s to say if this plant might have even more that isn’t clear.
The Disadvantages OF Using Fo-Ti
Though Fo-ti is a plant, and a very good one for a lot of different things, it can be far too potent for some people. One of the worst side effects this plant can cause by this potency is hepatitis, which is essentially liver damage.
However, Fo-ti can cause liver damage without it being diagnosed as hepatitis. It can also cause worse liver damage than that disease, even potentially leading to death. While this is possibly due to people consuming too much of the Fo-ti in various ways, it is far from what anyone might call a mild side effect.
Other, more common, Fo-ti side effects are more mild. An allergic type of skin rash, loose stools (remember that one of the benefits of Fo-ti is helping with constipation), and nausea, just to name a few.
Fo-ti can also affect your blood sugar levels, interfering with any medications that you may take for it. Besides that, Fo-ti is known for interacting adversely with other medications, especially ones that affect your liver. This includes ones like Tylenol that you can get over the counter.
This is yet another reason why you must talk to your doctor before you start taking Fo-ti. Since it can affect your blood clotting as well, you should stop taking this herb before you plan on having any surgeries.
Finally, there is the questionable effect that this plant has on your estrogen hormones. Because of this hormonal effect, people with cancers that also affect their estrogen, such as breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate, should avoid taking Fo-ti. For this same reason, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children should also not take Fo-ti.
How To Use Fo-Ti For Your Hair
Considering the different ways that Fo-ti can be found, your options for how to use it for your hair are virtually limitless. The most common forms of Fo-ti are raw, powder, extract, and capsule form. You can both use Fo-ti externally or internally on your hair.
For using Fo-ti internally, you can take it as a supplement in a capsule, as a tea, or in a tincture. You may even get Fo-ti powder to add to your smoothies or to sprinkle on top of your food. As a raw root, about 9 to 15 grams of it is comparable to what you would get out of a capsule.
Using Fo-ti externally can be done in any number of ways. The powder can be put in a hair mask, or the Fo-ti extract can be put directly on your scalp. You can even choose to boil the root and use the water on your hair.
Raw Fo-ti root is firm, somewhat coarse, and a light brown or beige color. Fo-ti powder, however, is much darker, being a reddish-brown. For this reason, the process root is sometimes referred to as ‘red’ Fo-ti, while the unprocessed is called ‘white’ Fo-ti.
Considering the possible side effects of Fo-ti, it is often best if you use it in a mixture with other things. However much Fo-ti you decide to use, and however you decide to use it, it is always best to begin with a small amount.
Finally, if you want to use Fo-ti according to Chinese tradition, you should cure your root before using it. This curing is traditionally done with the help black beans. Though this curing might seem pointless, it has been found to increase certain enzymes in it, which are beneficial.
Whatever Fo-ti product that you get for your hair, you should make sure that it is third-party approved. This seal of approval means that it was properly manufactured ad that it does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
There have been a few studies on Fo-ti powder and the benefits that it gives your hair. These have been somewhat exaggerated, both in terms of the number of studies done and in the results that they gave. However, the fact remains that Fo-ti is still great for your hair and youthfulness.
It is for this reason that Fo-ti is still one of the most popular various Asian traditional medicines even after centuries of use. So, perhaps this herb is something that you should try out for your hair to see if it helps you.