Four Sigma Foods 101 – Cistanche
Cistanche is a highly valued (Yang) tonic herb in the traditional Chinese medicine, and now it’s starting to be known in the West as a true super herb. Cistanche deserticola and Cistanche salsa are the main sources of Cistanche. The Chinese herbal medicine uses mainly Cistanche deserticola. Cistanche deserticola is a holoparasitic desert plant, which lacks chlorophyll and obtain nutrients and water from the host plants whose roots they parasitize.
Cistanche is recognised in the Shennong Bencao Jing and Bencao Gangmu, two important books on Chinese herbal medicine, which means it has been used as a medicine at least 1800 years.
Why to use Cistanche
Cistanche is known to strengthen sexual function, treat impotence, and promote blood and lymph. Some studies state that Cistanche deserticola may possess anti-fatigue properties as it is shown to decrease muscle damage, delay the accumulation of lactic acid and improve the energy storage. Cistanche is also shown to enhance learning and memory, which is believed to be due to its action in upregulating nerve growth factor. Some ancient texts claim that the consumption of Cistanche enhances the strength of erections by directing the blood flow to the pelvic and genital area.
How to use Cistanche
Cistanche is a very gentle root, which you can use even longer times without any negative effects. Use it for strengthening your (or your partner’s) sexual function, as a blood tonic, a brain tonic or for enhancing your overall energy levels. Most common way to consume cistanche is in capsule and tincture form. While those are good ways to consume cistanche, FSF believes that it should be part of our everyday diet as it’s quite tasty and very easy to add into smoothies, shakes, raw chocolate and raw ice creams.
Where to buy Cistanche
You may find some cistanche dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.