Fo-Ti for Me!
Fo-Ti is a plant whose unfortunate traditional Chinese nickname is “The Black-Haired Mr. He". The scientific name is only marginally less frightening: Polygonum multiflorum. He Shou Wu, a third name for the power-herb, is almost anticlimactic. Ages-old Chinese Herbal Tradition holds that the three names above all refer to the same thing; a reedy herb whose root is used to brew a tonic that boosts virility (in all its forms) and the plant's other parts work varied chemical wonders in the many-splendored countryside of the human body. See what "The Black Haired Mr. He" is all about by clicking here.
For thousands of years this weed has been taken up by traditional medicine practitioners and applied to a variety of life’s ills, injuries, and setbacks—from hair loss to below-the-belt sexual structuralism. This tall and spindly herb grows at elevations above the 200 meter mark, and is defined by delicate bell-shaped flowers, broad, vivid green leaves, a woody fruit, and a hyphenated name that could be that of a Star Trek character. The Fo-Ti leaves, roots, and rhizomes (a horizontal subterranean stem that produces more above ground shoots and downward-growing roots) are used in traditional medicine as an anti-aging, energy-elevating tonic.
The herb's antioxidants work against oxidative stress, her anti-inflammatory properties cover the waterfront to put down the many ailments—some merely annoying and some deadly— associated with systemic "inflammation". Fo-ti's robust helping of tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-β-D-glucoside (TMG, if you’d rather) helps with memory deficit and other symptoms of creaky, aging neurons.
But to Fo-ti's longstanding customers, this is all charming gibberish. Endeared to trad medicine practitioners through the millennia as "The Black-Haired Mr. He", Fo-ti has been a go-to since about the end of the Bronze Age. As our scientists do their thing and avidly peer down into Fo-ti's constituent particles (to our common benefit), we await their explanation of the plant's "mechanisms". Meanwhile, partake of this gift from nature whose reputation so precedes it.
Those who have benefitted from Fo-ti's largesse for several millenia are carrying on, occasionally glancing over with some amusement to see what we Age of Enlightenment obsessives are learning about their time-tested apothecary. Science marches on. Happily enough, that march is often to the beat of an ancient drummer.