Cistanche As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Cistanche (Chinese: Rou Cong Rong, 肉苁蓉 or 肉松容) is a worldwide genus of holoparasitic desert plants in the family Orobanchaceae. They lack chlorophyll and obtain nutrients and water from the host plants whose roots they parasitize. Cistanche is an endangered specie as well as a precious herb in traditional Chinese medicine widely used in invigorating the kidney and strengthening sexual functions.

Odour & Nature:

Sweet, warm-natured, non-toxic,


Cistanche works by influencing the kidney and the large intestine.

Indications & Formulas:

Stewed mutton with cistanche is helpful in tonifying kidney and treating impotence.

A mixture of cistanche, pilos deer horn, Chinese yam, white poria and rice paste can be made into pills for oral taking (taken with red date soup) to treat gonorrhea and deficiency of the kidney.

Pills made from cistanche (soaked in wine and calcined) and powdered agilawood can be taken internally to cope with weakness related excessive sweating and constipation.

Cistanche, corns officinalis, schisandra chinensis and honey can be processed into pills which can be used in treatment for inability to gain weight (but always hungry).

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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