Cistanche – The Chinese herbal healer

A desert flower, Cistanche Tabulosa, popularly known as ‘schenk’, with high medicinal values has been found in large numbers in the deserts of Mesaieed.

The parasitic plant has numerous yellowish-brown flowers. Numerous empty stumps of the plant with withered flowers have been found. The plant blooms in early spring.
Environmentalists reveal that the plant belongs to ˜Cistanche family usually found in deserts across the world, particularly in China. The herbal medicine ˜Cistanche is very popular in China. Chinese use this plant in treating infertility and also for relief from all kinds of pain.

 It has been used as a medicine for the past 1800 years and has been recorded even in ancient Chinese scripts. Today, in Chinese herbalism, ˜Cistanche is used for treating various ailments, particularly for infertility and constipation, The Peninsula reported.

The herb was traditionally used as a tonic for menstrual difficulties, as an aphrodisiac for men, as a cure for impotence, gonorrhea, spermatorrhea and such other problems. At present, it is used to reinforce the vital functions of the kidneys, is a mild laxative in treating chronic constipation among the elderly and is also used as an anti-aging medicinal herb.

Being sweet and salty in taste, it is non-toxic and warm, and acts on kidney and large intestine meridians. In treating impotence, Cistanche is mixed with processed rehmannia root, and cuscuta seed and schisandra fruit.

It is also used for relief in knee and joint-pains, and for lassitude of the muscles. For such purposes, Cistanche is used in combination with morinda root and the eucommia bark.

For treatment of female infertility, and to strengthen the vital essence, Cistanche is combined with other medicinal herbs, such as Chinese angelica, antler glue and white peony.

Cistanche moistens the bowels and induces laxation. For chronic constipation among the elderly, and in women after child birth, Cistanche is prescribed as a decoction, together with hemp seed, aquilaria, dry rehmannia, Chinese angelica and bitter orange.

Clinical research has proven that the herb acts as a stomachic and aids digestion.

However, the herb should be avoided in cases of hyperactivity, or for those experiencing loose stools due to spleen-yin deficiency or constipation due to heat in intestinal tract.