Four Sigma Foods 101 – Codonopsis
Qian Long, the best known and longest ruling Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, consumed codonopsis daily. He was the longest living Emperor of the modern era, died at eighty-nine years old. The Chinese emperors usually lived a short life because of their habit of having too many mistresses; Qian Long had merely three thousand lovers.
Codonopsis pilosula, Codonopsis or Dang shen is gastroprotective, hypoglycemic agent, adaptogen and one of the primary energy tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its’ immunomodulatory functions, in other words digestion enhancing powers. Codonopsis is also called poor man’s ginseng, because it is cheaper and has similar, yet milder effects.
Codonopsis is a perennial, shrubby flowering plant growing around streambanks and forest openings natively in Northeast Asia and Korea. The 1-3 cm thick roots of codonopsis are harvested from the plant during the third or fourth year of growth and dried before selling.
Why to Use Codonopsis
Codonopsis is known as ‘spleen qi’. In addition to speeding up food processing, it has also been used against various respiratory and skin diseases and to treat amnesia. Codonopsis increases both white and red blood cells and is believed to promote blood circulation and enhance vitality as well as strengthen the immune system.
In the modern Western science, codonopsis’ anti-tumor effects have been studied successfully: The acidic polysaccharide from the roots of codonopsis pilosula showed wound healing and decreasing effect on tumor cells. A recent study revealed that an herb blend containing codonopsis pilosula reduced breast cancer patients’ leucocyte and neutrophil (common white blood cell) levels while decreasing the levels of tumor cells, cytotoxic tumor cells and natural killer cells.
In addition to it’s cancer treating effects, studies have proven that codonopsis pilosula is a potential antidiabetic herb and it may reduce the blood glucose levels and thus delay the progression of diabetes.
How to Use Codonopsis
Codonopsis is used in different herb combinations, for example mixed with Bai guo (Ginko biloba) to improve cognition and overall health. Codonopsis is also effective in Weikang Keli mixture, aimed for treating gastric cancer.
In addition to herb mixtures, codonopsis can be consumed as capsules, tinctures or the roots can be soaked and boiled to make tea.
Photo Credit: Doronenko
Where to Buy Codonopsis
You may find some codonopsis dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.
If you want to test a product containing codonopsis, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Princess, which also contains the power herbs Dong quai, mucuna and cistanche. You can find FSF Princess HERE.