Contraindications and Side Effects of Taking He Shou Wu

He Shou Wu, better known as Fo-Ti root, has a lot of uses. Some of them include the use of its extracts in ointments and creams for treating skin conditions, shampoos to combat hair graying and its loss as well as brewing it into teas that are eventually made into pills.

However, this herb can also provide side effects when used. This article will list them down:

  • It can cause diarrhea. Since Fo-Ti root is known for its laxative properties that soften the stool. It can also be the reason for having diarrhea when people are sensitive to this herb.

  • It can cause numbness. Consuming too much he shou wu root amounts can cause numbness in arms and legs and may cause headaches as well.

  • It can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Fo-Ti root can also lower a person’s potassium levels in the body, which leads to symptoms like muscle weakness.

  • It gives hypersensitivity to people with liver disease. In case of an existing liver disease, people experience symptoms of dark urine, vomiting, jaundice, nausea, abdominal and stomach pain, weakness, tiredness and appetite loss. Apart from “emodin” substance, Fo-Ti root also contains anthraquinones that also have laxative properties.

However, this substance may contribute to damaging the liver. According to National Library of Medicine in the United States, a lot of people who are taking he shou wu root reportedly experienced liver damage. However, most of them quickly recovered from it after discontinuation.

  • Its estrogenic effects are contraindicated for females who have cancer. Fo-Ti root has the ability to increase estrogen levels in women and an extended use of this ability may promote growth of cancer. For this reason, people with certain estrogen-related cancers in the breast, ovary, uterus and prostate should be very careful in taking this herb.

  • It may also contribute to skin rashes. Consuming high dosage of Fo-Ti herb can sometimes develop skin rashes and allergies in people who have sensitive skin.

Although it has side effects when consumed in high doses, there’s no proven effective or safe dosage for taking this herb in adults and children. It is not recommended for pregnant women to consume this herb and use other products that contain it as an ingredient.

Always exercise caution when taking Chinese herbs like the He Shou Wu and it is essential to consult a doctor first before trying it as a complementary approach for health.


Women with hangover

Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies for Hangovers

A hangover is a result of drinking too much alcohol. It is more apparent in the next morning after an over-indulgence the previous night. A person with hangover suffers from dehydration, or loss of fluid. The symptoms include sensitivity to light and noise, upset stomach which can lead to vomiting and nausea, achy muscles and general tiredness, thirst, and a throbbing headache.

To help get rid of hangover, you may try any of the following Chinese and Ayurvedic concoctions and drinks made from natural and time-tested herbs and spices:

  • Kudzu Root (Ge-Gen)

An ancient herb first mentioned in 206 BC in a Chinese herbal book, it possesses phytocompounds that lessen the desire to drink alcohol. Native to Southeast Asia, China, and Japan, it is now found in liquid or capsule form in health stores. It can be mixed in cooking and in smoothies for convenience.

A highly effective digestive herb that cures diarrhea and restores proper large intestine function, it also relieves stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting. It counteracts the effects of dehydration.

  • Lassi

Water mixed with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and a pinch of cumin is best taken cool 3 to 4 times a day to relieve drowsiness, headache, and nausea.

  • Lime Juice

Drink water with a tablespoon of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon each of sugar and baking soda for immediate hangover relief.

  • Orange Juice

Mix in a pinch of cumin and a teaspoon of lime juice in a glass of orange juice to quickly rehydrate and boost Vitamin C in the body.

  • Suanzaoren and Kudzu (Gegen) Soup

This is a classic Chinese recipe to conquer nausea, dry throat, and headaches brought on by a hangover. Soak for 10 minutes 10-15g suanzaoren (spina date seed) and 10-15g gegen (the root of the kudzu vine) in 2 cups of water. Let it boil and simmer for 30 minutes. After it cools, drink it immediately.

  • Tangerine and Strawberries

The Chinese treat hangover by drinking freshly made tangerine juice and eating around 10 strawberries. These fruits are highly effective in replenishing the body’s lost vitamin C due to dehydration. Vitamin C also speeds up the elimination of alcohol from the body.

  • Turmeric

A mainstay for thousands of years in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, this orange-yellow root of the ginger family is a spice native to southern India and is now widely cultivated around many parts of Asia for its effective healing properties. It aids in digestion and is a potent anti-inflammatory natural medicine.

It is also a prescription for hangovers and its unpleasant effects because curcumin, the compound in turmeric, detoxifies the liver and relieves nausea. The most available forms are capsule and powder which can be mixed in hot or cold drinks or as an added flavoring to food.

Other recommended Ayurvedic mixes for curing hangover:

  • Take with warm water 2 to 3 times a day a half teaspoon mixture of jatamamsi (3 parts), kama dudha (one eighth part), shanka bhasma (one eighth part), and shatavari (5 parts).

  • Drink 3 times a day a mixture of a half teaspoon of tikta (aloe vera, myrrh or sudharshan) in water.

The following powder and pill forms are Chinese herbs available in health stores and Chinese drugstores. These are best taken with a lot of water to relieve the symptoms of a hangover.

  • Fu ling (Poria cocos)

A fungus found on pine tree roots, it strengthens the immune system and has a calming effect on the nerves.

  • Bai Zhu (Atractylodes)

This is an energy booster and it helps regulate the digestive system.

  • Xiao Hu Xiang (Fennel)

It is a well-known herb that helps relieves stomach spasms and aids in indigestion and gas build-up in the large intestine.

  • Bai zhi ( Angelica dahurica)

This herb relieves headaches caused by colds, flu, and hangovers.

  • Shen qu (Massa fermenta)

This herb helps in digestion and hyperacidity.

  • Yi yi ren (Coix lachryma)

It is a very useful herb for curing diarrhea and body aches.

  • Huo xiang (Patchouli)

This stops nausea and vomiting.

  • Tian hua fen (Trichosanthes kirilowii)

This aids in rehydrating the body especially after a hangover.

  • Chen pi (Tangerine peel)

This is helpful in easing stomach troubles like, vomiting, nausea, and acid reflux.

  • Ju hua (Chrysanthemum morifolium)

An effective remedy for sore eyes and headaches.

  • She chang pu (Acorus)

Helps clear up a cloudy mind.

  • Bo he (Mint)

Best known for its soothing effects on the stomach by relieving nausea, indigestion, and gas.