Cistanche or rou cong rong is an herbal tonic made from the root or leaves of a desert plant called Cistanche deserticola that has been part of traditional Chinese medicine for nearly 2000 years. The traditional belief is that cistanche is a yang tonic with counteracts the effects of aging, increases sexual potency, and improves mental function.
Cistanche increases sexual energy, physical energy, and helps to nourish blood making it a great herb for athletes and lovers. In some ancient texts, it is said that the consumption of Cistanche directs blood flow to the pelvic and genital area with the resulting effect of enhancing the strength of erections and enlarging the penis. The Yang energy of Cistanche can be used for sexual vigor or may be directed to any creative outlet.
Modern scientific studies have proven that cistanche increases the blood flow to the brain, sexual organs, and other areas of the body. The same studies show that taking cistanche can increase a person’s energy level and even limit muscle damage from accidents and aging. Today cistanche is widely used as a dietary supplement all over the world. Millions of people take cistanche capsules and add it to a wide variety of foods including smoothies, shakes, and even ice cream. Cistanche tea has often been prescribed for impotence and memory loss in China.
Strengthening the Blood Flow
The traditional Chinese belief is that cistanche is a jing or blood tonic which strengthens the blood that cleanses the kidney, replenishes the vital essence in the blood, and moistens the bowel. This strengthens sexual functions and improves mental clarity by increasing the blood flow to those regions of the body. Interestingly enough, modern medical science seems to back this theory up. Increasing the blood flow to regions of the body means that more nutrients and energy reaches the cells there. That can speed up the healing process and prevent some problems associated with aging. We know that impotence often occurs because of low blood to the penis. We also know that some mental problems including Alzheimer’s and memory loss result from a lack of blood flow to the brain or brain damage. This can speed up the healing process by increasing the flow of human growth hormone which is necessary for healing to the tissue.
Some other Benefits of Cistanche
Studies indicate that cistanche can be effectively used to treat a variety of health problems including the following:
- Lower back pain
- Knee pain
- Premature ejaculation
- Low blood pressure
- Memory loss
Since it increases energy levels, cistanche might also be effective as a treatment for fatigue and fatigue-related problems. Another possible use for it could be to treat arthritis and the effects of infections such as yeast infections.
A Very Safe Herbal Treatment
The American Herbal Products Association has labeled cistanche a class one herbal product because it is very safe. There are no known side effects from its use but some experts recommend it should not be taken by those suffering from diarrhea and other stomach problems. One big advantage to cistanche is that there are no known drug reactions to it. That means it can be consumed by those taking prescription and other medicines. Most experts recommend that persons on a prescription consult their regular doctor before taking an herbal supplement such as cistanche.
There is a small possibility that some people could be allergic to cistanche. If you have an allergic or unusual reaction after taking it, you should stop using the supplement immediately and consult a doctor. Persons with high blood pressure might also want to avoid cistanche because it can increase blood pressure. Such people might benefit by limiting the dosage of the supplement.
Traditionally, dried cistanche leaves or pieces of the stem of the plant were boiled to make a tea. More recently, it has been ground into a supplement to be added to foods or consumed in capsule form. One big advantage to cistanche is that it can be consumed with food which makes it easier to digest and be absorbed by the body. Another is that people who cannot take some traditional Chinese herbal supplements can take it because it is so safe.
Use in Conjunction with Other Herbs
One big advantage to cistanche is that it can be used in conjunction with other herbs. A formula of cistanche and hemp seed is often used to treat constipation in traditional Chinese Medicine for example. Cistanche is one of the most versatile and useful of traditional Chinese herbs. It is also among the safest.
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