Cistanche  (Rou Cong Rong)

Latin:  Cistanche tubulosa, deserticola, sinensis, others

Family:   Orobanchaceae

Parts Used:  The meaty part of the stem

Taste/Energetics:  Sweet, slightly bitter, warming

Properties:  Nootropic and neuroprotective, tonic, aphrodisiac, cardioprotective, gently laxative

Actions:  This is an herb with a long history of use in Chinese Medicine.  Cistanche has been used to gently strengthen health, improve virility and overall vitality.  It is considered one of the best herbs to strengthen immune function, improves libido and fertility, improves circulatory function, lowers blood pressure and is preventative for strokes.  It is also nutrient rich and in Chinese Medicine language it is helpful for “building kidney yang, blood and essence”.   That means it is useful for those who feel weak, impotent, forgetful, anemic, pale and sad.  Memory and cognitive acuity is also improved with this supreme tonic.  Cistanche is also gently moistening and helpful as a gentle laxative for constipation.

This is an herb commonly given to those who are aging with deteriorating health, parkinson disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.  The deserticola species is endangered in the wild, there are a number of alternate species that have similar effect.  Only ethically harvested species should be purchased.

Dosage: Often taken in Chinese medicine from 5-15 grams as part of larger formulas for “building blood” and strengthening “kidney yang”.    Taken in powders and capsules from 1-4 grams a day.

Contraindications:  Avoid for those with diarrhea, strong heat signs