Fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum)


Scientific Evidence



Alzheimer's disease/ cognitive decline

Combination fo-ti has been shown to stop cognitive decline and improve memory and daily functioning in people with mild cognitive decline or Alzheimer's disease. Although this is promising, available evidence is limited by the use of fo-ti combination therapies. A firm conclusion about the effect of fo-ti in this area is unable to be determined, and further research is needed.


Hepatitis B (chronic)

Early research suggests that a combination decoction (extract from boiling in water) with fo-ti, is superior to Jinshuibao capsule for the treatment of hepatitis B-associated liver fibrosis (excess connective tissue). Although this is promising, further research is needed.


Neurodermatitis (itchy skin disease)

Early research has suggested that the mixed-herb decoction (extract from boiling in water) Yangxue Dingfeng Tang, partly made up of fo-ti, has short- and long-term treatment effects when given with localized plumb-blossom needle tapping. Due to the small amount of available research, a firm conclusion about the effect of fo-ti for hepatitis B is unable to be determined. Further research in this area is needed.


*Key to grades:

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;

B: Good scientific evidence for this use;

C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;

D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);

F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).



Adults (over 18 years old):

Children (under 18 years old):


  1. Avula B, Joshi VC, Wang YH, et al. Simultaneous identification and quantification of anthraquinones, polydatin, and resveratrol in Polygonum multiflorum, various Polygonum species, and dietary supplements by liquid chromatography and microscopic study of Polygonum species. J AOAC Int 2007;90(6):1532-1538. View Abstract
  2. Chen L, Huang J, and Xue L. [Effect of compound Polygonum multiflorum extract on Alzheimer's disease]. Zhong.Nan.Da.Xue.Xue.Bao.Yi.Xue.Ban. 2010;35(6):612-615. View Abstract
  3. Choi SG, Kim J, Sung ND, et al. Anthraquinones, Cdc25B phosphatase inhibitors, isolated from the roots of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. Nat Prod Res 2007;21(6):487-493. View Abstract
  4. Furukawa M, Kasajima S, Nakamura Y, et al. Toxic hepatitis induced by show-wu-pian, a Chinese herbal preparation. Intern.Med. 2010;49(15):1537-1540. View Abstract
  5. Huang WY, Cai YZ, Xing J, et al. Comparative analysis of bioactivities of four Polygonum species. Planta Med 2008;74(1):43-49. View Abstract
  6. Jung KA, Min HJ, Yoo SS, et al. Drug-Induced Liver Injury: Twenty Five Cases of Acute Hepatitis Following Ingestion of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. Gut Liver 2011;5(4):493-499. View Abstract
  7. Kang SC, Lee CM, Choi H, et al. Evaluation of oriental medicinal herbs for estrogenic and antiproliferative activities. Phytother Res 2006;20(11):1017-1019. View Abstract
  8. Ling S, Nheu L, Dai A, et al. Effects of four medicinal herbs on human vascular endothelial cells in culture. Int J Cardiol. 8-29-2008;128(3):350-358. View Abstract
  9. Mazzanti G, Battinelli L, Daniele C, et al. New case of acute hepatitis following the consumption of Shou Wu Pian, a Chinese herbal product derived from Polygonum multiflorum. Ann Intern Med 2004;140(7):W30. View Abstract
  10. Oerter Klein K, Janfaza M, Wong JA, et al. Estrogen bioactivity in fo-ti and other herbs used for their estrogen-like effects as determined by a recombinant cell bioassay. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003;88(9):4077-4079. View Abstract
  11. Wang X, Zhao L, Han T, et al. Protective effects of 2,3,5,4'-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-beta-d-glucoside, an active component of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb, on experimental colitis in mice. Eur.J Pharmacol. 1-14-2008;578(2-3):339-348. View Abstract
  12. Xu ML, Zheng MS, Lee YK, et al. A new stilbene glucoside from the roots of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. Arch Pharm Res 2006;29(11):946-951. View Abstract
  13. Yao S, Li Y, Kong L. Preparative isolation and purification of chemical constituents from the root of Polygonum multiflorum by high-speed counter-current chromatography. J Chromatogr A 2006;1115(1-2):64-71. View Abstract
  14. Zhang L, Yang X, Sun Z, et al. [Retrospective study of adverse events of Polygonum multiflorum and risk control]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 2009;34(13):1724-1729. View Abstract
  15. Zuo GY, Wang GC, Zhao YB, et al. Screening of Chinese medicinal plants for inhibition against clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). J Ethnopharmacol 2008 Nov 20;120(2):287-90. View Abstract