He Shou Wu: Restoring Jing
No other herb in the world illustrates the idea of a Superior herb or tonic better than He Shou Wu. The very idea of a tonic is one of supporting a weakness or deficiency somewhere in the body.
The idea is to rejuvenate, to bring back to normal or even above normal function, to an area of the body that is chronically weak. The story on He Shou Wu centers on a lonely hermit who was chronically weak his entire life.
Due to his fragility he never married and was living alone in the woods. One day out gathering herbs he came across a pair of entangled vines, which seemed to him to be two lovers in embrace. This might tell you something about how lonely He was.
He dug up the roots of these vines and took them home to cook. He continued drinking this herb until he started feeling vitality filling his body. He began feeling unusually strong and viral, leading him to go out and find a wife. Soon his hair turned from white to black and he fathered several children.
Thus the name, He Shou Wu, or He’s black hair. The story may seem like a fairy tale, but in reality He Shou Wu, known today as polygonum multiflorum, is a premier tonic for your reproductive system, adrenals, and for blood building.
It contains plant constituents that are almost identical to the hormones of the adrenal gland. That’s why it is one of the major tonics used for building a foundation of energy reserves in the body.
Your reproductive system is part of what is known in tonic herbalism as a Jing tonic. Jing includes the reproductive system, skeleton, and brain. There is nothing more important to physical well being than nurturing Jing.
Adrenal exhaustion creates havoc with every level of your health and indicates a weakness of Jing. Looking through the lens of what we know now about adrenal energy and health, He Shou Wu’s story makes perfect sense.
It also makes perfect sense that we include it in our brain and energy formula TianChi to help the adaptogenic herbs restore adrenal function and build energy reserves.