If you want to know more about the benefits of Cistanche Tubulosa then you’re in the right place.
This famous herb has a deep rooted (excuse the pun) history in the Chinese culture, going back more than 1,800 years of civilization.
Legend says that it was the go-to virility herb for the maniacal ruler Genghis Khan who consumed it every day. His sexual capability resulted in his genes being passed to 8% of the Asian population.
Whether that is 100% accurate or not, one thing is for sure, it has been a staple ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries.
Cistanche is a parasitic plant which grows in harsh desert environments of China and obtains its nutrition by tapping into the conductive system of its host plant, Tamarix.
Cistanche is not green, owing to a lack of chlorophyll – the plant does not need photosynthesis as its lazy nature compels it to just steal nutrients from Tamarix.
There are two primary varieties of Cistanche that have originally been used in Chinese medicine – Cistanche Tubulosa and Cistanche Deserticola. Due to the excessive use of these two variants, a limitation on their supply and quantity arose over the years, giving rise to two other species of cistanche: Salsa and Sinensis.
All four of these variations, though, contain the important active ingredients which have been attributed to the health benefits of the herb.
These active ingredients are echinacoside and acteoside. They fall into the category of phenylethanoid glycosides.
So now you know that the herb has been used for thousands of years, especially in China. But what exactly is it good for and why should you be interested in it?
Let’s now get into some of the health benefits this parasitic yellow creature can offer:
Probably one of the most important qualities of cistanche is its ability to influence the body in an adaptogenic way. If the word “adaptogen” sounds familiar, this is because I covered adaptogens and their benefits extensively in one of my recent articles.
For a quick recap, I would like to mention that adaptogens, as the name suggests, are agents which help the body adapt to various abnormalities, and in general, promote homeostasis, balancing and regulating hormones.
Cistanche comes under the adaptogenic herbs category owing to its wide variety of beneficial effects on the body. Such an action of a herb, which runs the gamut from libido increase to better bowel movements, is only possible through an overall balancing of different hormones in the body.
It is perhaps this quality of “balancing” which makes it a yang enhancing agent. Yang, in Chinese culture, is symbolic of male strength, endurance, virility, and creativity. Centuries of such a reputation is not built on isolated incidents – and that’s the reason the Chinese have been confident in its sexual enhancing power for thousands of years.
Cistanche is one of those super herbs which has a lot of anecdotal and experiential evidence attached to its fame and acceptance.
On top of that, the science backs up many of its claims as well, but sadly, there is a limited amount of research done on Cistanche despite its widespread use for centuries.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the research and health benefits of Cistanche.
1) This one very important study investigated the effects of cistanche tubulosa on the sex hormones of rats. The study concluded that the intake of cistanche tubulosa triggered the release of testicular steroidogenic enzymes which resulted in a direct increase in sex hormone levels.
2) Another study focused on the healing aspect of cistanche – a study in which it was concluded that testicular and sperm damage in rats could be reversed by the use of this powerful herb, especially due to the presence of echinacoside.
3) Finally, one of the most amazing results was achieved in a study in which the researchers wanted to study the effects of cistanche intake on the erections in rats who had been castrated. The results were no less than spectacular: cistanche intake translated directly into quicker and longer lasting erections.
This result has some very insightful and powerful implications. If the herb can reignite powerful libido and directly impact erections in castrated rats, it is testament to its amazing virility inducing powers, and can perhaps do wonders for impotent men (which, as it turns out, is interesting given that in China, treating impotent and weak men with cistanche has been successful for many centuries).
We all know how fatigue is a major T and libido killer. In this context, this study is an important one. In the study, researchers were able to establish a clear relation between increased stamina/muscle strength and cistanche.
The rats that were involved in this study, were able to swim longer and harder, owing to cistanche’s effect of increased energy levels and lowered lactic acid build up in the muscles. Based on these results, it is logical to think of this herb as a stamina booster.
The liver plays a vital role in the body’s overall homeostasis. This study established the anti-hepatotoxic effects of cistanche extract in rats – concluding that the herb had the ability to protect cells from toxicity based damage.
Men Love Their Hair
Oh yes. That is because women love it. Therefore, all men would be pleased to know that this study was conducted on humans, and found that the cistanche herb had the ability to promote hair growth and prevent baldness. Cistanche starting to sound pretty amazing right about now?
Cistanche Contains Alkaloids
Alkaloids have the ability to stimulate increased blood flow to the pelvic region in general, and to the sex organs in particular. Definitely a reason for men with libido problems to look into cistanche.
Cistanche and Learning
Finally, there is no harm in cistanche’s bonus feature: it can make you smarter! This study arrived at the fascinating result that this herb has the ability to induce nerve growth. Specifically, the study found that the Nerve Growth Factor or NGF production was stimulated in the hippocampus after cistanche intake.
The NGF is responsible for regulating and enhancing a number of cognitive abilities including memory and learning.
Going through this entire spectrum of the benefits of cistanche, one can see why it has had such a revered status among the Chinese in particular, and the world in general, for hundreds of years.
It should also come as no surprise, that people in the Hotan region, where cistanche is a staple in the diet, live longer on average than people in Okinawa (which is famous for its number of centenarians!).
The good news about the safety of cistanche is that the American Herbal Products Association has labeled it a class one herbal product which means its 100% safe to use.
Having said that some experts recommend that anyone who is suffering from stomach problems or diarrhea should not consume cistanche.
The recommended dosage of cistanche for people looking to see major improvement is around 1 or 2 grams daily. It can be taken by itself or with water. Some people also like to make an infusion using warm water.
Here is a good quality cistanche extract that contains 5 grams per teaspoon and has no fillers and is warm water extracted.
While we can agree that the science has not yet caught up with cistanche seriously, there is definitely enough research on animals to corroborate at least partly, the empirical and anecdotal literature that has come to exist over a long period of time.
All of the effects of the herb center around increased energy or yang. And that translates into all areas of the human body from cognitive functioning to sexual function.
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