Fleece flower root

Chinese Name: He shou wu
Medical Name: Radix Polygoni Multiflori
Latin Name: Polygonum multiflorum
Origin: Tuberous root.
Taste: Bitter, sweet, makes pucker

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

KAI-BAO MATERIA MEDICA: "It is used most often in cases of scrofula, carbuncles, wind-sores on head and face, piles, cardiac [epigastrial] pain, and to nourish the blood and vitality. It helps give a healthful appearance, and, taken over long periods, can develop the muscles and bones. It nourishes the marrow, and prolongs the life and youthfulness. It is also useful for treating post-partum problems, and in cases of leucorrhoea."

THE COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "This herb is mild in nature and bitter and astringent in taste. The bitterness nourishes the kidney, the mildness nourishes the liver, and the astringency acts on the vital essence. Thus, it can maintain the blood and nourish the liver, control nocturnal emissions and benefit the kidney, strengthen muscles and bones, and darken the hair. It is a good, nourishing herb."

Western Research

Arch Pharm Res 2002 Oct;25(5):636-9
The radical scavenging effects of stilbene glucosides from Polygonum multiflorum.
Ryu G, Ju JH, Park YJ, Ryu SY, Choi BW, Lee BH.
Regional Research Center and Department of Chemical Technology, Hanbat National University, Yusung-ku, Daejon, Korea.
The extract of the root of Polygonum multiflorum exhibited a significant antioxidant activity assessed by the DPPH radical scavenging activity in vitro. The bioassay-guided fractionation of the extract yielded a stilbene glucoside, as an active constituent responsible for the antioxidant property. Compound 1 demonstrated a moderate DPPH radical scavenging activity (IC50, 40 microM), while the corresponding deglucosylated stilbene 2 exhibited a much higher activity (IC50, 0.38 microM).

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2005 ct;25(10):955-9.
Progress of study on brain protective effect and mechanism of Polygonum multiflorum [Article in Chinese]
Wang W, Wang DQ.
Institute of Geriatrics, Xiyuan Hospital, China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100091.
This paper reviews the brain protective effect and mechanism of Polygonum multiflorum (PM), its extracts and active component, tetrahydroxystilbene-glucoside (2,3,5,4'-tetrahydroxystilbene- 2-O-beta-D-glucoside) published in recent decade. They have major effects as calcium channel antagonists, antioxidant, cholinomimetic drugs and cholinesterase inhibitors, as well as actions in regulating cell apoptosis and prolonging the ageing. The brain protective mechanism of PM is multi-target, multi-link and multi-way. Therefore, PM has great applicative value in prevention and treatment of senile neuropathies, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and vascular dementia, etc.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Mar;85(1):61-7.
Anti-inflammatory activity of Chinese medicinal vine plants.
Li RW, David Lin G, Myers SP, Leach DN.
Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research, A Joint Venture of the University of Queensland and Southern Cross University, P.O. Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.
Anti-inflammatory activities of ethanol extracts from nine vine plants used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory conditions were evaluated against a panel of key enzymes relating to inflammation. The enzymes included cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)), 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) and 12-lipoxygenase (12-LO). The vine plants studied were: the stem of Spatholobus suberectus Dunn, the stem of Trachelospermum jasminoides Lem., the root from Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f., the stem of Sinomenium acutum Rehder and Wilson, the stem of Piper kadsura (Choisy) Ohwi, the stem of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., the root and stem from Tinospora sagittata Gagnep., the root of Tinospora sinensis (Lour.) Merrill, and the stem of Clematis chinensis Osbeck. All of the plant extracts showed inhibitory activities against at least one of the enzymes in various percentages depending upon the concentrations. The extract from S. suberectus was found to be active against all enzymes except COX-2. Its IC(50) values were 158, 54, 31 and 35 microg/ml in COX-1, PLA(2), 5-LO and 12-LO assays, respectively. T. jasminoides showed potent inhibitory activities against both COX-1 (IC(50) 35 microg/ml) and PLA(2) (IC(50) 33 microg/ml). The most potent COX-1, COX-2 and 5-LO inhibition was observed in the extract of T. wilfordii with the IC(50) values of 27, 125 and 22 microg/ml, respectively. The findings of this study may partly explain the use of these vine plants in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1999;18(2):127-30
Antimutagenic property of an herbal medicine, Polygonum multiftorum Thunb. detected by the Tradescantia micronucleus assay.
Zhang H, Jeong BS, Ma TH.
Laboratory of Environmental Mutagensis, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455, USA.
The root extracts of a Chinese herb, Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., have been used for centuries as an internal medicine to improve liver and kidney functions. In this study, we evaluated the antimutagenic property of this drug with the Tradescantia micronucleus (Trad-MCN) assay. The Trad-MCN bioassay is a well-established test for chromosome damage induced by physical or chemical agents in terms of micronuclei (MCN) frequency. Inflorescences of the Tradescantia plant cuttings were first exposed to 0.35 Gy soft X-rays (80 kV, 5 mA, 1 mm Al filter, dose rate around 0.50 Gy/min), followed by drug treatments at 1, 3, and 6% concentrations of the aqueous solution for a total recovery period of 24 hours. The positive (X-rays), negative (nutrient solution), and drug control (3% drug solution) groups were maintained in each of the three series of repeated experiments. Flower buds of the treated and control groups were fixed in aceto-alcohol (1:3 ratio) in preparation for slides to score MCN frequencies in the early tetrads of the meiotic pollen mother cells. The mean MCN frequencies (MCN/100 tetrads +/- SE) of the positive control (irradiated) was 26.68 +/- 2.49; the negative control was 2.93 +/- 0.50; the PM solution control was 2.06 +/- 0.39, and the 0.35 Gy X-ray plus 6% PM drug treated was 18.76 +/- 1.69. A 45% reduction in chromosome damage was observed. Antimutagenic effects were relatively decreased at lower concentrations of PM. This antimutagenic effect could be attributed to the antioxidant action of PM, enhancement of DNA repair, or the radical elimination from the irradiated plant cells.