Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (Shou Wu Teng)
What is Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (Shou Wu Teng)?
Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (shou wu teng, 首乌藤), also known as Caulis Polygoni Multiflori, refers to the dry vine stem of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., which belongs to the Polygonaceae family. In China, Shou Wu Teng can be found in provinces like Zhejiang, Hubei and Jiangsu.
After the vine stems are cut from the plant, the leftover leaves and branches are removed, and the vine stems are then packed in bundles and dried under the sun for medicinal usage.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shou Wu Teng falls under the category of ‘Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit’. Such herbs can tranquilise the Mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety and insomnia. Neutral in nature, Shou Wu Teng does not affect the yin-yang balance in your body.
Bitter and sweet in taste, Shou Wu Teng can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Shou Wu Teng can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Shou Wu Teng targets the Heart and the Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (Shou Wu Teng)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Shou Wu Teng has the following health benefits.
Shou Wu Teng can nourish one’s Heart and induce tranquilisation, which makes it an effective herb in the treatment of insomnia due to restlessness of deficiency, irritability, dream-disturbed sleep and even relieving stress that you’ve built up at work. For insomnia that lasts the entire night due to yin deficiency with yang hyperactivity, you can combine Shou Wu Teng with yin-blood-nourishing, yang-subduing and tranquilising herbs to enhance its effectiveness. For example, you can combine Shou Wu Teng with White Peony Root (Bai Shao) and Mother of Pearl (Zhen Zhu Mu).
With the actions of nourishing blood, dispelling Wind and unblocking collaterals, Shou Wu Teng can treat aching pain of limbs due to blood deficiency and numbness of muscle and skin. This herb can be combined with other blood-tonifying, blood-activating and collateral-unblocking herbs to enhance its above actions. For example, Shou Wu Teng can be combined with Caulis Spatholobi (Ji Xue Teng) and Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui). Also, Shou Wu Teng is used as an adjunctive herb to relieve Wind-Damp arthralgia.
In addition, as Shou Wu Teng can dispel Wind and relieve itching, it can treat itching and skin rashes. The herb can be used singly for washing or combined with other Wind-dispelling and itch-relieving herbs. Apart from that, Shou Wu Teng can also astringe sweat, which helps to address profuse perspiration caused by deficiency.
How to Use Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (Shou Wu Teng)
The recommended daily dosage of Shou Wu Teng is 9 – 15g, when used as a decoction. For external application, do consult your healthcare provider on the appropriate dosage to use on the desired area for your condition.
You may find Shou Wu Teng and its supplements, such as pills and powder, in herbal stores and Asian specialty stores.
Cautions and Side Effects of Tuber Fleeceflower Stem (Shou Wu Teng)
Shou Wu Teng should not be used by individuals experiencing diarrhoea.
We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Shou Wu Teng to your healthcare routine!
Here is a summary for Shou Wu Teng:
- Herb name (Chinese): 首乌藤
- Herb name (Pin Yin): shǒu wū téng
- Herb name (English): Tuber Fleeceflower Stem
- Herb name (Botanical): Caulis Polygoni Multiflori
- Origin of species: Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.
- Part(s) of herb used: Lianoid stem
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Neutral; Administrates the Heart and Liver Meridians
- Actions: Nourishes blood, and calms the mind to improve quality of sleep; Eases body aches and pain; Relieves skin itching
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Wang, G. Y., Shang, J., Wu, Y., Ding, G., & Xiao, W. (2017). Rapid characterization of the major chemical constituents from Polygoni Multiflori caulis by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and comparative analysis with Polygoni Multiflori radix. Journal of separation science, 40(10), 2107-2116. [Accessed on 22nd August 2023]
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