The term semen cuscutae actually refers to the seeds of the cuscuta or Dodder plant, a kind of vine that grows in China. In traditional Chinese medicine, the term semen is used to describe seeds.
Cuscuta seeds or Tu Si Zi are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to enhance stamina, improve sexual performance, treat erectile dysfunction, treat kidney problems, improve mood, and strengthen vision. The belief is that the seeds are a ying tonic which is believed to enhance sex organs.
Modern research indicates that the seeds can stimulate the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone, in rats and other lab animals. Other research has clearly shown that Tu Si Zi can increase the size of rats’ testicles and increase their sexual appetite.
So What are the Side Effects of Cuscuta Seeds?
Unfortunately, research on cuscuta seeds has generally focused on their effect on testosterone. That means knowledge of the effects can be limited.
Some known side effects from Tu Si Zi include these:
- Increase sperm production
- Increase sex drive
- Enhance the effects of artificial insemination
- Increase sexual stamina
- Reduce the size of tumors. In traditional Indian medicine, cuscuta has been used to treat tumors for centuries. This effect has been documented in some laboratory studies.
- Increased testosterone production that can interfere with the development of children and fetuses in the womb.
- Increase sperm flow.
- Decrease the amount of liquid leaving the body.
- Reduces inflammation
- May reduce the chances of developing health problems associated with inflammation such as heart disease.
The only adverse effect reported from cuscuta has been to make constipation worse by lowering the flow of liquid through the body. One of the common causes of constipation is a lack of liquid or failure to drink enough water which is necessary to flush out the bowels.
That means that persons suffering from constipation and those having trouble with bowel movements should avoid taking cuscuta seeds. The seeds could make the condition worse.
Cuscuta in Chinese and Indian Medicine
Cuscutae has long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. In China, it is actually known as the Doctor Seed because of its powerful effects on sperm production.
Two interesting uses to which cuscutae was put to too in traditional Chinese medicine were to treat eye problems and mental illness. The Chinese believe that cuscuta seeds can strengthen the eye. Another belief is that the seeds can improve a person’s mood.
There has been no proof to these claims but cuscuta’s anti-inflammatory properties and increased hormone production could affect mood and vision. One strong possibility is that testosterone is necessary to mental health. Modern science has shown that many mental problems are actually caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Tu Si Zi could have an effect on those imbalances.
It should be noted that there could be negative side effects on the brain such as increased aggression as well. It has been shown that testosterone can increase aggressive behavior in some individuals.
Cuscuta might improve vision by reducing pressure on the eye with its anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation could be the cause of some eye problems.
In traditional Indian or Ayurvedic medicine, cuscuta seeds were used to treat tumors. There have been some laboratory tests in which it was shown to reduce the effect of tumors.
Since the scientific data backing up these claims is limited, it would be a good idea for a person to consult a medical professional or an herbalist before taking semen cuscutae. It is a powerful herbal supplement that could have unexpected effects on the human body.