Fo-Ti

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What other names is Fo-ti known by?

Chinese Cornbind, Chinese Knotweed, Climbing Knotweed, Flowery Knotweed, Fo Ti Tieng, Fo-Ti-Tient, He Shou Wu, Ho Shou Wu, Multiflora Preparata, Poligonum, Poligonum Multiflorum, Polygonum, Polygonum multiflorum, Polygonum Multiflorum Thunberg, Racine de Renouée Multiflore, Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Radix Polygoni Shen Min, Renouée, Renouée à Fleurs Nombreuses, Renouée de Chine, Renouée Multiflore, Rhizoma Polygonata, Shen Min, Shou Wu, Shou Wu Pian, Tuber Fleeceflower, Zhihe Shou Wu, Zi Shou Wu.

What is Fo-ti?

Fo-ti is an herb. The processed (cured) root of the plant is used to make medicine.

Fo-ti is used for treating tuberculosis that has spread to the lymph nodes, cancer, inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), and constipation. It is also used as a liver and kidney "tonic"; as a blood and "vital essence" toner; and to fortify muscles, tendons, and bones. Fo-ti is also used for high cholesterol and other elevated blood fats, trouble sleeping (insomnia), limb numbness, lower back and knee soreness or weakness, premature graying, hair loss, and dizziness with ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Fo-ti is applied directly to the skin for sores, carbuncles, skin eruptions, and itching.

In manufacturing, fo-ti extract is used as an ingredient in hair and skin care products.

Don't confuse fo-ti with the commercial product Fo-ti-Teng that contains no fo-ti.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Age-related memory problems. Early research suggests taking fo-ti root (Shenwu) along with Panax ginseng might improve memory in older people.
  • Liver and kidney problems.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Insomnia.
  • Lower back and knee soreness.
  • Premature graying.
  • Dizziness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of fo-ti for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Fo-ti work?

Fo-ti cured root might affect the levels of various chemicals in the body which have been suggested to have anti-aging effects.

Are there safety concerns?

Fo-ti is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth due to concerns that it might cause liver damage in both adults and children. Fo-ti has been linked to liver damage in several reports, including one case in a 5-year-old child.

There isn't enough information available to know if fo-ti is safe when applied directly the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Fo-ti is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth by children due to concerns that it might cause liver damage. At least one case of liver damage linked with fo-ti use in a 5-year-old child has been reported.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Fo-ti is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth during pregnancy. Fo-ti contains chemicals that can act like a strong laxative. The chemicals work by stimulating the intestine. Bulk-forming laxatives are a safer choice in pregnancy.

It is also POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use fo-ti if you are breast-feeding. The chemicals that have a laxative effect can pass into breast milk and cause diarrhea in some breast-fed infants.

Not enough is known about the safety of applying fo-ti to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It's best to avoid using it.

Diabetes: Fo-ti might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and take fo-ti.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Fo-ti extract might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use fo-ti.

Liver disease: Fo-ti has been linked to multiple cases of liver problems including hepatitis. There is a concern that fo-ti might make existing liver disease worse.

Surgery: Fo-ti might affect blood sugar levels, so there is concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using fo-ti at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Fo-ti might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, fo-ti isn't as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Taking fo-ti along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with fo-ti, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.



Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).



Estrogens
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of fo-ti might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, fo-ti isn't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking fo-ti along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Fo-ti might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking fo-ti along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking fo-ti, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Fo-ti might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking fo-ti along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking fo-ti, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Fo-ti might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking fo-ti along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking fo-ti, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Fo-ti might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking fo-ti along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking fo-ti, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking fo-ti along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti might harm the liver. Taking fo-ti along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take fo-ti if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.



Stimulant laxatives
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives speed up the bowels. Taking fo-ti along with other stimulant laxatives could speed up the bowels too much and cause dehydration and low minerals in the body.

Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot), and others.



Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti can work as a laxative. In some people, fo-ti can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. Fo-ti can cause damage to the liver, which also can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. If you take warfarin, avoid fo-ti.



Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fo-ti is a laxative. Some laxatives can decrease potassium in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking fo-ti along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.

Some "water pills" that can decrease potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDIURIL, Microzide), and others.

Dosing considerations for Fo-ti.

The appropriate dose of fo-ti depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for fo-ti. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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