For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has valued cistanche as a premier tonic for enhancing overall vitality and wellbeing. Modern research now confirms this desert plant can naturally boost libido, energize the body, and support healthy circulation.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the many benefits cistanche offers for sexual health, circulation, and beyond. Discover how this ancient remedy can help optimize your physical performance and revitalize your passion for living.
What is Cistanche?
Cistanche Tubulosa is the dried, fleshy stem of a desert plant native to arid regions of northwest China. Known as Rou Cong-Rong in Chinese medicine, it has been used as a restorative tonic since the days of the Shennong Bencao Jing, an ancient Chinese materia medica.
There are several species of cistanche, but Cistanche deserticola and Cistanche tubulosa are considered the most potent. These cistanche herbs contain a variety of beneficial compounds, including:
- Phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs) - Antioxidative compounds that enhance immunity, circulation, cognition, and neuroprotection.
- Iridoids - Anti-inflammatory agents that promote brain health.
- Polysaccharides - Immune-boosting sugars that prevent aging.
- Oligosaccharides - Improve gastrointestinal health and elimination.
- Lignans - Estrogen-like compounds that may support hormonal balance.
This diverse mix of active ingredients gives cistanche its adaptogenic properties as both an overall tonic and sexual invigorator.
How Does Cistanche Boost Libido?
Cistanche has held an esteemed position as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. Modern research has identified several ways cistanche excites sexual desire and performance:
- Increases sex hormones - Compounds like PhGs stimulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis to heighten the production of androgens and estrogens.
- Boosts sperm production - Cistanche improves testicular function to increase sperm count and motility.
- Enhances blood flow - Dilates blood vessels to the genitals to promote arousal and sensitivity.
- Elevates energy - Reduces fatigue to rekindle the passion and vigor for lovemaking.
One fascinating animal study found cistanche shortened penis erection latency in rats by over 50% compared to a control group. Traditional texts describe the herb as a premiere treatment for impotence, infertility, and lack of libido in both sexes.
Cistanche and Circulation
In traditional Chinese medicine, cistanche is renowned as a “Kidney Yang” herb. This refers to its warming, energizing ability to strengthen the body's core vitality. Enhancing kidney yang helps revitalize the circulatory system to energize the entire body.
Researchers have identified two primary ways cistanche improves circulation:
- Vasodilation - Relaxes blood vessels allowing greater blood flow.
- Nitric oxide boost - Increases nitric oxide to help blood vessels remain flexible and relaxed.
This not only benefits erections and arousal. Whole body circulation carries nutrients to organs, oxygen to muscles, and rejuvenation to aging tissue.
One study of elderly patients found a cistanche decoction increased walking distance by 15% compared to baseline. An animal trial revealed cistanche combats fatigue to enhance swimming times by up to 33%. By invigorating circulation, cistanche can relieve fatigue and prevent many circulation-related disorders.
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How to Incorporate Cistanche
Cistanche supplements are available in powder, liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. Traditional preparations use the dried stem, but modern extracts help concentrate the active compounds.
The recommended dosage ranges from 500-1500mg per day. Due to its mild nature, cistanche can be taken long term without side effects or buildup of tolerance. However, cycles of 4 weeks on, 1 week off help maintain optimal sensitivity.
Cistanche pairs well with other circulation enhancers like ginkgo biloba, resveratrol, and hawthorn berry. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption when using cistanche. Those on blood thinners or blood pressure medications should consult their doctor before using them.
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Additional Health Benefits of Cistanche
While best known for revitalizing the libido and circulation, cistanche offers a wealth of additional health benefits:
- Anti-aging - Cistanche was described in ancient scrolls as a “longevity herb.” It powerfully antioxidizes to fight free radical damage and prevent age-related decline.
- Neuroprotection - Compounds like iridoids and PhGs reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and protect neural tissue throughout the brain and nervous system.
- Immune enhancement - Polysaccharides and other constituents boost immune cell function to fend off pathogens and prevent disease.
- Bone health - Through hormonal modulation, cistanche increases bone density and prevents osteoporosis.
- Metabolic aid - The oligosaccharides in cistanche provide prebiotics to feed beneficial gut bacteria and support a healthy metabolism.
Cistanche deserves its place as one of the most treasured herbal remedies in Chinese traditional medicine. Extensive research confirms what herbalists have known for thousands of years: cistanche is a powerful libido and circulation enhancer.
By increasing sex hormones, relaxing blood vessels, and energizing the kidney yang, cistanche provides benefits throughout the body - from the bedroom to the brain.
Yet as an adaptogenic herb, cistanche balances the entire system. Its safety, mildness, and multitude of compounds make cistanche an ideal tonic for optimizing performance and wellbeing during any life stage.
Have you experienced the rejuvenating power of cistanche? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback below!