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He Shou Wu
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

He Shou Wu Side Effects and Warnings

Written by FoundHealth.

Safety Issues

Detailed modern safety studies have not been performed on this herb. Immediate side effects are infrequent, primarily limited to mild diarrhea and the rare allergic reaction. Safety for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe kidney or liver disease has not been established.

Case reports relate use of a popular He shou wu product to liver inflammation. 1 However, it is not clear whether He shou wu herb itself was responsible; Asian herbal preparations of this type have frequently been found to contain unlisted toxic ingredients, either due to poor quality control, or deliberate adulteration. 2 3 4


  1. Park GJ, Mann SP, Ngu MC. Acute hepatitis induced by Shou-Wu-Pian, an herbal product derived from Polygonum multiflorum. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001;16:115-117.
  2. But PP. Herbal poisoning caused by adulterants or erroneous substitutes. J Trop Med Hyg. 97(6):371-4.
  3. McRae CA, Agarwal K, Mutimer D, Bassendine MF. Hepatitis associated with Chinese herbs. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 14(5):559-62.
  4. Ernst E. Toxic heavy metals and undeclared drugs in Asian herbal medicines. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 23(3):136-9.


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