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13 Sep
Posted By: Anastasiya Times Read: 1097

COMMON NAME: Cistanche

LATIN NAME: Cistanche Deserticola



HABITAT: The Cistanche genus occupies deserts, semi-deserts, as well as steppe regions of Asia, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The main consumers of the plant are Japan, China and many countries of Southeast Asia.

The plant prefers to grow on salt marshes, limestone, clay, less often chalky soils, in semi-deserts and steppes, at the heights from 225 to 1150 m above sea level. This plant parasitizes on many species of Chenopodiaceae family.

BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Cistanche is a genus of plants of Orobanchaceae Vent family, of the order Tubiflorae, growing in semi-deserts and steppes. There are 27 species in the genus. Almost all species have an important and beneficial chemical composition and are used for medicinal purposes.

Representatives of the genus Cistanche are perennials up to 40 cm in height, parasitizing on the roots of bushes and shrubs of steppes, semi-deserts and deserts. Cistanche has no root system and does not produce chlorophyll. The plant takes all nutrients and water for vegetation from the roots of the host plant. The stem (stolon) of Cistanche is thick, up to 10 cm in diameter, covered with oblong-lanceolate scales. Flowering begins in spring, somewhere in March. Fruits ripen in June-August. This plant parasitizes on the representatives of the subfamily Chenopodioideae. Cistanche Deserticola propagates by seeds.


The chemical composition of the plant is quite beneficial. Cistanche Deserticola contains carbohydrates, organic acids, iridoids (cisgachlorin, cystanine), sterols (p-glucoside p-sitosterol, p-sitosterol), phenols, and their derivatives, phenylethanoid glycosides (cystanosides, acteosides, dicofeylactinosides, salidrosides, acetosides), lignans (syringin, lyriodendrin), a significant amount of flavonoids, and oligosaccharides.

ACTIONS: The plant provides aphrodisiac, detoxicant, liver tonic, recuperative, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, immunity booster actions on the human’s body.


Cistanche Deserticola as a diuretic is used in inflammatory processes of the genitourinary tract (cystitis, nephritis, pyelonephritis), and edema.

Due to its antioxidant properties, the plant has a beneficial effect on brain cells, protects  them from damage and prevents them from premature aging, Cistanche is able to activate memory processes.

Cistanche stimulates liver regeneration under the action of hepatotoxins.

In Chinese and Arabic folk medicine, Cistanche is used as a powerful aphrodisiac for male sexual impotence, frigidity, infertility, exhaustion, general weakness, and in case of a tendency to constipation.


There are practically no side effects and contraindications for using Cistanche.

Still there are some thing you should take into account:

Do not use Cistanche Deserticola during pregnancy and breast-feeding period.

Should not be consumed in case of individual intolerance to any of the plant components.


Cistanche Deserticola has been known in traditional Chinese medicine for almost 2000 years. Locals call it Rou Cong Rong.

The first references were found in ancient written sources (the Canon of Herbism of the Sacred Farmer (ShennongBencaoJing, dated 100 AD). There were recommendations for using Cistanche root for problems in the male and female health, for diseases of the urinary tract, and systemic disorders. Cistanche Deserticola gained popularity during the reign of the Ming Dynasty.

Today, Kazakhstan is one of the main suppliers of medicinal plants in the world.

Even the country's first workshop for the processing of Cistanche was built. Here, hundreds of tons of dried raw materials are processed annually.

In Japan, Сistanche is an active component of many cosmetics for face care and body skin (creams, tonics, masks).

The active substances of Rou Cong Rong are able to take care of hair health, strengthen their roots, and give them shiny, healthy look. Cistanche extract is present in many anti hair loss shampoos and hair conditioners.

*Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult with your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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