Polygonum multiflorum, also called fo-ti, derives its Chinese name, which translates as "black-haired Mr. He" from its traditional use as an anti-aging herb, according to New York University's Langone Medical Center. A study published in the November 2012 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" found that polygonum multiflorum may help prevent brain aging. In the tissue culture study, brain cells exposed to excessive levels of the activating neurotransmitter glutamate showed signs of oxidative damage and early death. Cells that were treated with polygonum multiflorum prior to glutamate exposure were longer-lived and less susceptible to the damaging effects of glutamate. In a study that appeared in the December 2002 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition Science and Vitaminology" 18 weeks of supplementation with polyganum multiflorum resulted in improved brain function in areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
Polyganum multiflorum may keep you young at heart by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease, note Ronald Katz and Robert Goldman, authors of the book "The New Anti-Aging Revolution: Stopping the Clock for a Younger, Sexier, Happier You." A study on laboratory animals published in the November 2005 issue of the "Journal of Pharmacological Science" found that the herb inhibited arterial plaque formation by preventing formation of foam cells -- white blood cells that infiltrate the linings of blood vessels -- and resulted in up to 60 percent less atherosclerosis. Researchers concluded that polygonum multiflorum shows potential as a powerful natural substance for prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Immune-boosting benefits of polyganum multiflorum may help you fend off some bacterial and viral infections. A study of 19 different Chinese herbs, published in the November 2008 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" found that polyganum multiflorum was among the top third in ability to inhibit an antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Polyganum multiflorum also showed inhibition of HIV activity in infected cells in a test tube study published in the June 2010 issue of the journal "Planta Medica." Authors noted that the herb was effective at doses that were not toxic to healthy cells.
Some forms of thinning hair and baldness may be helped by Polygonum multiflorum, according to a study published in the May 2011 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology." In the laboratory animal study, topical application of polygonum multiflorum increased both the number and size of hair follicles. Researchers noted that polygonum multiflorum worked by activating a gene that controls the growth of the limbs, brain and spinal cord.
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