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Home > Newsletters > November 2008 > Rou Cong Rong – Herba Cistanche

Rou Cong Rong – Herba Cistanche

By Lisa M. Miller, L.Ac.

When I was studying acupuncture, one of my favorite things to do was to sneak a piece of Rou Cong Rong from the herbal pharmacy at my school. While many of my fellow students snacked on the usual suspects - Gou Qi Zi or Long Yan Rou, it was the chewy sweet taste of Rou Con Rong that I always pined for.

Rou Cong Rong is a hardy perennial that lives mostly in dry areas and deserts. It is sometimes referred to as the “Ginseng of the desert.” This title refers to its ability to act as a tonic for the body. In particular, it strengthens Kidney Yang. In addition to being sweet and warm, its salty nature has an affinity to the Kidney meridian. Rou Cong Rong is primarily used to treat Kidney deficiency with symptoms such as impotence, infertility, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhea, urinary incontinence, and excessive uterine bleeding. The heavy and cloying nature of the herb also moistens the intestines and helps ease constipation, especially senile constipation.

In a recent study, chemical analysis of Rou Cong Rong demonstrated that it has antioxidant, anti-aging, and neuroprotective qualities. This is because the plant contains volatile oils, non-volatile phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs), alditols, lignans, iridoids, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. The study revealed that it’s the PhGs in Rou Cong Rong that offer neuroprotection and antioxidation. It’s also the chemical responsible for helping to reinforce the vital function of the Kidneys. The polysaccharides improve overall immune function. Galactitol and oligosaccharides are the chemicals that aid in constipation relief.

Rou Cong Rong  
Properties  sweet, warm, salty
Meridians  Kidney, Large Intestine
Functions tonify Kidney, strengthen yang, moistens the    intestines
Indications infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhea, urinary incontinence, and excessive uterine bleeding, constipation
Contraindications Yin deficiency with heat signs, constipation due to weak Spleen/Stomach energy
Dosage  9-21grams


Source: J Chromatogr A. 2008 Jul 18. from Pubmed

This Month's Articles

November 2008
Volume 6, Number 11

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Rou Cong Rong – Herba Cistanche

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