Enhancing ATP with Yang Herbs: Cistanche, Cuscutae & Cordyceps

Chinese tonifying herbs such as Cistanche, Semen Cuscutae, and Cordyceps, which possess antioxidant and/or immunomodulatory activities are novel therapeutic agents in the prevention and treatment of age-related diseases.

Pharmacological studies on Yang and Yin tonifying herbs suggest that these Yang tonifying herbs stimulate mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation, through the intermediacy of reactive oxidant species, which leads to the enhancement of cellular or mitochondrial antioxidant capacity.

Together, the abilities of these Yang and Yin Chinese tonifying herbs to enhance ATP generation and to exhibit antioxidant and/or immunomodulatory actions make them novel therapeutics for addressing the pharmacological fundamentals for anti-aging and health.

Enhancement of ATP by Yang Tonifying Herbs

In Chinese medicinal theory, Yang is a manifestation of body functions supported by various organs and cells ability to produce energy. A 'Yang-invigorating' action involves the enhancement of bodily functions in general and cellular activities that consume ATP.

The mitochondria are responsible for the generation of ATP through oxidative metabolism. To try and establish the pharmacological basis of 'Yang' action, scientists have recently investigated the effect of Yang herbs the generation of ATP.

When conducting the studies, the Yang herbs Semen Cuscutae and Cistanche were used. What they found was that these herbs invariably enhanced mitochondrial ATP generation, ranging from 20–130%. Looking at the mechanisms behind these effects; yang herbs speed up ATP synthesis by increasing mitochondrial electron transport.

Looking to Cordyceps, here's what researchers had to say:

"Cordyceps is regarded as a tonifying herb with both 'Yin-nourishing' and 'Yang-invigorating' actions. Various studies have shown that Cordyceps possesses a wide range of biological activities including antioxidation [-], immunopotentiation [-], anti-tumorigenesis [-], anti-inflammation [] and stimulation of testosterone biosynthesis []"

Additionally, an extract of both wild and cultivated Cordyceps is known to enhance mitochondrial ATP generation.

How to Use the Herbs

According to the research, each herb (Cordyceps, Semen Cuscutae and Cistanche) were effective for ATP generation alone. However, for best results, it's probably ideal to take all three together, accompanied by a Yin herb like Reishi to balance the Yang effects. Otherwise, Cordyceps alone is a perfectly balanced Yin/Yang herb that enhances ATP.


Yang tonifying herbs such as distance, Semen Cuscuta, and Cordyceps are clinically proven to stimulate mitochondrial ATP generation, leading to the enhancement of cellular/mitochondrial antioxidant status, presumably through the intermediacy of ROS.

Given the ATP enhancing abilities of Yang and Yin tonifying herbs, as well as their antioxidant and immunomodulatory actions, Cistanche, Semen Cuscutae and Cordyceps are profoundly beneficial herbal medicines for increasing energy, safeguarding the health and delaying aging.



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