Legend has it that a general, an elderly man with white hair and locked up in a prison for a year, survived by eating only a root that he had found in his cell, the root of He shou wu. When, a year later, the cell was opened, to everyone’s surprise, the general was not only more in force than before but he also had a beautiful dark hair. Here is how the fame of He shou wu was born, which translated means Mr. He with black hair. He shou wu is the root in the form of a dried powder from the Reynoutria multiflora plant or Polygonum multiflorum belonging to the Polygonaceae family.
He shou wu, beauty treatment and hair loss remedy
Known and used for centuries by ancient Chinese medicine, it is antioxidant, anti age and, used as a beauty cosmetic, able to counteract hair loss and gray hair. When applied locally, this powder is able to promote hair growth by supporting the anagen phase in resting hair follicles (Park et al, J Ethnopharmacol., May 2011). The anagen phase is that part of the life cycle of the hair that corresponds to its growth.
Moreover, tradition considers He shou wu as a remedy able to prevent or even treat premature graying of hair. At present there is no medicine to prevent hair from turning gray, however, it is possible to act on some causes that could cause premature graying, such as oxidative stress. So, for this purpose, He shou wu would seem to play a role. Even science is interested in this action of the remedy and in a laboratory study (Thang et al, J Adv Pharm Technol Res, 2017), it was possible to observe that the treatment stimulated the production of melanin by reactivating the receptors responsible for hair color.
Therefore, what was observed was a reversal of the process that would have led to premature graying. However, these are preliminary studies that will still have to test the safety of the remedy, if taken by mouth, and its effectiveness, if used for topical applications.
In addition to this, further studies have to understand if there are contraindications, such as pregnancy.
He shou wu, supplements and lotions
The remedy is on the market already included in cosmetic formulas for hair treatments or in the form of supplements.