Legend has it that one night—many, many moons ago—a drunken, 58-year-old, impotent man stumbled upon a mysterious root in the forest. After consuming this He shou wu regularly, he watched his gray hair return to black, fathered 19 healthy children, and lived to be 160 years old. So, what does science have to say about it?
Turns out, there may be a nugget of truth in this wild tale. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, lab and clinical studies have detected anti-tumor, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in He shou wu, and the herb could be helpful in preventing brain and cardiovascular disease. So, while incorporating the root into your routine won’t necessarily let you live 160 years, it’s understandable why it has been dubbed a “longevity herb.”
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have supported these claims for centuries, too, prescribing He shou wu as an herbal remedy for everything from fighting colds to increasing sex drive to reversing greying hair. And many people swear by it.
Our He shou wu of choice is from Sun Potion, which comes in powder form and is wildcrafted in the Di Tao region of China, without any exposure to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. To feel instantly rejuvenated, mix half a teaspoon into a glass of water or your morning cup of tea.
And over time, see for yourself if the legend is true!
Photo credit: Alicia Cho