The literal English translation of its name is "vine to pass through the night." With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste. Chinese tradition teaches that the herb should be used by itself or cooked in the water used to cook black beans for this purpose.
Latin Name(s): Polygonum multiflorum.
Also known as: Flowery knot wood, knotweed, fleeceflower, zhi he shou wu, He-shou-wu.
Plant Part(s) Used: Root.
Appearance: Brown to tan.
Aroma: Smoked, radish-like.
Taste: Slightly sweet, bitter.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Our Fo-ti has been cured by simmering in a Black Bean Sauce.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be put in lotions, liniments, creams and infused in oil traditionally used to rinse to help cover graying hair.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Warning: Excessive use may cause gastrointestinal upset & diarrhea.