Shou Wu Pian

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Information about Shou Wu Pian

Shou Wu Pian is an herbal product derived from the root tuber of Polygonum multiflorum, which has been used for centuries as a treatment for a wide range of conditions including backache, dizziness, graying of the hair and constipation. 

Liver safety of Shou Wu Pian

Shou Wu Pian has been implicated in several reports of clinically apparent acute liver injury.

Mechanism of action of Shou Wu Pian

Shou Wu Pian (Polygonum tablets) is a commonly used and ancient Chinese herbal remedy prepared from the root of the tuber, Polygonum multiflorum, known as the Chinese climbing knotweed (Fo Ti).  Fo Ti is a plant native to China, but has been cultivated widely elsewhere.  Extracts of the roots of Polygonum multiflorum have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for a multitude of conditions and as an agent to prevent aging.  Some of the historical uses include cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension, infections, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and muscle soreness.  It is also used as a tonic in liver and kidney conditions and to fortify muscles and bones.  The extract has been marketed as a pill and claimed to be beneficial for headache, dizziness, graying of the hair, constipation and liver disease.  Shou Wu can also be brewed in teas, and extracts are used in topical creams or ointments for skin conditions and muscle soreness.  The active components of Shou Wu Pian are believed to be anthraquinones including chrysophanol, emodin and rhein.  Anthraquinones may also account for its effect in constipation, but may also account for its hepatotoxicity.  Various oral formulations are available and it is also taken as a tea using extracts of dried Polygonum roots. 

Side effects of Shou Wu Pian

Common side effects are abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements
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