He Shou Wu Root Slices

Traditional and Scientific Properties of He Shou Wu

He Shou Wu is commonly known by the Western nickname, Fo-Ti root or the latin name Polygonum Multiflorum. This is given during the 1970’s and became its most common name in the traditional Chinese medicine. It is literally translated as: “staying black color of Mr. He’s hair”. This article will discuss the potential properties of this herb that are essential for one’s health especially when he gets older.

The Traditional Properties of He Shou Wu

Fo-Ti root is the premier anti-aging and tonic herb that can be taken every day to increase one’s longevity potential. It is bitter, sweet, astringent and a bit warming. It helps in strengthening the internal organs such as the kidney meridians and liver. It increases one’s energy levels although it is not considered as a stimulant. As a matter of fact, it’s a Jing herb that slightly sedates when used as a sedative. It is considered as one of the top fertility medicines and it also helps men and women’s sexual power to stay longer, which all other tonic herbs do.

It is also known to treat premature hair graying. Legends and folklores have varied versions on how its Chinese name came out as an herbal adaptogen. One popular version described that General He committed a crime and was given a death sentence that detained him to a cell under the ground with zero access to water and food.

After one year of imprisonment, when executioners were about to remove his remains, they were shocked to find out that he had survived the death sentence with a complete rejuvenation – reversing his gray hair to its natural black color. They discovered that the He Shou Wu root that grew in the cell walls’ crevices was responsible for General He’s rejuvenation.

The Scientific Properties of He Shou Wu

Neng-Zi-He-Shou-Wu-Grey-Hair-VitaJingThe Fo-Ti root, when prepared, is known to have these effects as shown in human and animal studies: anti-pyretic, anti-tumor, anti-progestational, sedative, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, vasodilatory, hypotensive and decreases blood coagulation. Prepared and raw Fo-Ti roots are considered in the traditional Chinese medicine as 2 different herbs. Raw Fo-Ti root shows the absence of tonic effects and only possesses strong laxative properties.

The prepared version of this herb is proven to give the strongest, most beneficial effects in humans and animals. According to studies, Fo-Ti root has the ability to increase the basic immunological functions of human and mice. He Shou Wu also increases the thymus gland’s weight and delays its decline as people age.


Know the Cultivation, Benefits and Traditional Uses of Tamarind in Bali

The tamarind plant is an evergreen tree which grows tall with spreading branches. Its fruit is brown, elongated, and lobed. It is found abundantly where it is known by many names in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, and the Philippines as well as in India, where it is called tamarind. It originally came from Africa and grows well in places with a dry tropical climate with a regular rainy season.

The tamarind is called sam jawa in Indonesia—asam meaning sour and awa referring to Java Island where a lot of tamarind is found. There are many other provinces in Indonesia that produce tamarind, Bali being one of them, particularly in Singaraja in Northern Bali. The tamarind has a lot of uses: as food (particularly its fruits and leaves), as wood, and as medicine.

The cultivation of tamarind is easy. It is resistant to drought and strong winds due to its extensive root system. It is best to plant tamarind seeds in sandy loam. Marcotting, budding, and grafting can also be done as propagation but the most preferred method is by seeds.

The tree starts bearing flowers after 4 to 5 years of planting. The young plant can be delicate so care must be taken to ensure its proper growth. If rainfall is below normal, the tree will not produce flowers. July to September is the period when fruits ripen. A too wet condition at the end stages of fruit maturity can be detrimental.

The tamarind fruit’s sugar level is matched by the acidity from the tartaric acid. That’s why tamarind is at once very sweet and sour—a delicious and very unique combination that has made the fruit a staple in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet.

The traditional uses of tamarind in Balinese food are numerous. It is mainly used as spice to give an added depth of flavor to food and drinks. Tamarind is also used to give a sour and fruity taste to Balinese dishes.

The mature pod with its dry, brown shell has brown pulp inside, encasing the seeds. It is usually eaten fresh off the pod, made into candy or jam, or pressed into blocks for use in cooking and making tamarind water. The flavor is sweet and bright.

The unripe pods meanwhile have a greenish shell and pulp and the flavor is citrusy and sour. Usually, tamarind juice is combined with other tropical fruits like mango or with herbs like turmeric and sweetened with palm sugar or honey to make refreshing and healthy drinks. The latter is particularly popular in Bali, where it is known as Jamu Kunyit Asem. This concoction is ideal for an upset stomach and also for maintaining overall health. It is recommended to drink a glass of Jamu Kunyit Asem daily.

Another popular drink is tamarind water. The dark pulp sold in blocks is soaked in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes then squeezed and strained. The seeds, skin, and fiber are discarded. The extracted liquid is simmered for 10 minutes and left to cool. It is usual to pour it into ice cube trays to freeze.

Many Balinese recipes use tamarind, notably in base, pronounced bah-seh, or spice paste. Traditionally, it’s a basic seasoning made using a mortar and pestle. It contains shrimp paste and assorted spices like tamarind. The paste is made ahead of time and stored up to a week in the refrigerator. There is Base Rujak or Rujak Sauce made with shrimp paste, sugar, salt, chilies, and tamarind pulp. Base Be Pasih or Spice Paste for Seafood has tamarind, tomatoes, and several more spices.

The tamarind fruit and leaves are perfect for souring meat dishes and fish soup. Balinese meat dishes like Lawar Babi or Shredded Spicy Pork and Saté Pentul, a kind of barbecued meat, use tamarind to neutralize the strong taste of meat.

Sambal Ulek is a Balinese side dish that accompanies meat dishes. It has chilies, oil, and tamarind water. Ikan Bali is a fish dish with a tamarind-based sauce. For a snack, appetizer, a dip for spring rolls, or dessert, there is the refreshing Rujak, a sweet and sour fruit salad that is spicy and salty at the same time.

The medicinal benefits that can be derived from tamarind are also numerous. The tartaric acid that gives it its sour taste is a very potent antioxidant that protects the body from harmful free radicals. It is also an excellent source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc. It is also rich in vitamins C and A, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.

The leaves, flowers, and fruit have been used in Indonesian traditional medicine as a digestive aid as well as for wounds, ulcers, sore throat, rheumatism, and liver disease. Particularly in Bali, tamarind as an ingredient in traditional medicine is used to cure coughs, sore throat, digestive problems, and gas.

Tamarind continues to be used in many beneficial ways according to Balinese traiditon.