cistanche benefits for men

Cistanche Benefits For Men: The Secret Of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, an iconic and influential figure in world history, is widely recognized for his military conquests and exceptional leadership prowess. However, beyond his renowned achievements, many remain unaware of Genghis Khan's extraordinary physical strength, endurance, and virility. Historical records reveal that one of the secrets behind his vitality was a specific herb known as Cistanche. This article delves into the Cistanche benefits for men’s health while exploring the scientific discoveries surrounding this desert plant.


Compounds Of Cistanche That Benefit for Men's Health

Cistanche is a desert plant species traditionally revered in Eastern medicine for its potent health benefits. This robust parasitic plant, often called "desert ginseng," thrives in arid conditions and is primarily found in the Taklamakan desert in China.

Pharmacologically, it is lauded for its rich content of phenylethanoid glycosides and echinacoside, which are believed to have multiple benefits [1].

Besides, Cistanche also contains various other active compounds, including galactitol, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides… [2].

Then, what specific benefits do these compounds offer for men's health and overall well-being? Let's delve into the effects of the essential compounds found in Cistanche:

  • Phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs): These compounds provide renal protection, possess antioxidant properties, and offer nerve protection [1].
  • Echinacoside: Known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, Echinacoside also contributes to steroid creation [2].
  • Polysaccharides: enhance the body's immune function, exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, and have anti-aging effects [1].
  • Lignans: These compounds bear similarities to testosterone.
  • Oligosaccharides: They contribute to improving sexual function and hormonal balance.

By harnessing the potential of Cistanche's diverse compounds, individuals can support their overall health and well-being, specifically focusing on men's health.

cistanche stem

Cistanche Benefits For Men

From bolstering energy and strength to enhancing sexual function, Cistanche has a wide range of potential benefits for men's health. Let's explore some of the most significant advantages:

Elevating Testosterone Levels

Testosterone, commonly known as the "male hormone," is essential for men's reproductive health and sexual performance. Insufficient levels of testosterone can result in diverse health problems, including fatigue, muscle mass reduction, erectile dysfunction, and diminished libido.

Research indicates that Cistanche might contribute to boosting testosterone levels in men by stimulating the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), a pivotal factor in testosterone synthesis [3]. This, in turn, may help improve sexual function, fertility, and overall well-being.

Research synthesizing the effects of herbs on erectile dysfunction has identified Cistanche as one of the plants that helps increase testosterone in men [3].

An experiment conducted in 2015 noted an increase in testosterone and progesterone levels in mice when administered with a 70% extract of Cistanche Tubulosa at doses of 0.4 and 0.8g/kg for 20 days [4].

The ethanol extract of Cistanche Tubulosa has also been demonstrated to enhance sex hormone levels by inducing steroidogenic enzymes in the testes [5].

Enhancing Libido and Sexual Performance

Cistanche has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to enhance sexual function and improve libido.

In a comprehensive review of medicinal plants with tonic effects, Cistanche Tubulosa was noted for its potential to enhance sexual function [6]. The mechanism highlighted in the study involves an impact on the adrenal glands without affecting sex hormone levels [6].

Animal studies, such as those conducted on mice, have also observed significant improvements in sexual function due to the properties of Phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs). As a result, Cistanche is utilized to enhance memory and improve low sexual function [7]. The effects of Cistanche on libido and sexual performance are documented as follows:

  • Increase in libido: Cistanche has been shown to enhance sexual desire and increase the frequency of intercourse [8].
  • Improvement in erectile dysfunction: Animal studies have demonstrated that Cistanche can significantly improve erectile function, with a higher success rate than sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra) [9].
  • Boosting sperm quality and fertility: Studies indicate that Cistanche may improve sperm quality, motility, and count in men with fertility issues [10].

Improving Physical Performance And Stamina

In traditional Chinese medicine, Cistanche has long been revered for its ability to enhance physical strength and endurance. The herb boosts energy levels by improving blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body [5]. As a result, individuals may experience increased stamina, improved athletic performance, and reduced fatigue.

A study in 2022 titled "The use of traditional Chinese medicines in relieving exercise-induced fatigue" indicates that Cistanche has positive effects on oxidative stress markers and the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body, making it beneficial in reducing fatigue-induced by exercise, especially excessive physical activity [8].

Author Zhou Hai Tao also acknowledges the fatigue-reducing potential of three types of herbs, including Cistanche, during high-intensity exercise. The primary effects are increased hemoglobin levels and glycogen stores, accelerated protein synthesis, and reduced amino acid and protein catabolism [9].

These effects are particularly advantageous for men engaged in bodybuilding or male athletes.

Cistanche improves physical performance and stamina

Cistanche's Positive Impact On Male Fertility

Cistanche's positive impact on male fertility has been observed in various studies, with evidence pointing to its ability to improve sperm quality, motility, and count. An experiment on rats revealed that Cistanche extract increased the number of live sperm cells and improved their overall quality [11].

Cistanche, along with echinacoside, has been demonstrated to have the ability to protect sperm from damage caused by BPA, thereby contributing to the safeguarding of men's reproductive health [10].

Research focused on infertility due to oxygen deficiency has noted that compounds like Cistanoside from Cistanche exhibit potent antioxidant effects, significantly restoring the activities of antioxidant enzymes. This provides numerous benefits in preventing male infertility [11].

The efficacy of Cistanche Herba's Cistanoside compound in improving male reproductive damage is also recognized in the study conducted by Li Gu and colleagues [12].

Male fertility negatively impacts to matrimony

Supporting Prostate Health

As mentioned earlier, Cistanche benefits for men in addressing disorders of sexual function and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) [13]. The impacts of Cistanche on prostate health in studies were assessed by evaluating testicular weight, seminal vesicles, and the prostate gland.

A study on mice recorded positive outcomes in these indicators when administered at a maximum oral dose of 40g/kg.

In addition to the benefits mentioned earlier of Cistanche specifically for men, it also provides overall health advantages for humans, such as anti-aging properties, promoting mental well-being, and boosting energy levels.

Anti-Aging Properties Of Cistanche

Traditional Chinese medicine has long been using Cistanche to promote longevity and slow down the aging process. Modern research supports this claim, with studies revealing that Cistanche contains various bioactive compounds with anti-aging properties [14].

Cistanche's anti-aging effects are attributed to its ability to protect cells from oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and enhance cellular repair and regeneration [14].

Anti-Aging Properties Of Cistanche

Boosting Mental Well-Being

In modern research, it has been found that Cistanche contains compounds that can regulate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine [16], which play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions.
These properties make Cistanche a potential natural remedy for improving mental health.

Using Cistanche For Men's Health

Cistanche has traditionally been used as an herbal remedy in China and is particularly regarded as the secret of Genghis Khan. In traditional practices, Cistanche is employed as a tonic or in a formula.

In modern times, Cistanche is becoming increasingly popular, with more extensive research. As a result, Cistanche is utilized in various forms, including powder, liquid extract, and capsules, for convenient integration into diets.

The form chosen will depend on personal preference and convenience. For instance, powder can be added to protein shakes or smoothies, while capsules can be taken with water.

For men who are bodybuilders and are interested in natural supplements to boost their overall health and performance, Cistanche could be a powerful ally. Here's an overview of how Cistanche could be incorporated into a bodybuilding routine:

  • Pre-Workout Supplement: Cistanche can be taken as a pre-workout supplement due to its potential to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery. This can enhance energy levels, increase stamina, and reduce fatigue, enabling more effective and longer training sessions.
  • Post-Workout Recovery: Cistanche could aid in recovery after an intense workout by accelerating protein synthesis and reducing amino acid and protein catabolism, as suggested by Zhou Hai Tao.
  • Daily Supplement: Cistanche could be used as a daily supplement to support men's health overall. Its potential benefits on testosterone levels, libido, and prostate health may contribute towards both general well-being and the specific demands of bodybuilding.


In conclusion, the potential of Cistanche benefits for men is undeniable. From heightening physical performance and stamina, improving male fertility, and supporting prostate health to its anti-aging properties, the comprehensive range of Cistanche male benefits illustrates its power as a natural supplement. Its incorporation into a daily routine, particularly for those involved in physical activities such as bodybuilding, can lead to improved health outcomes and enhanced performance.


[1] Jiang, Y., & Tu, P. (2009). Analysis of chemical constituents in Cistanche species. Journal of Chromatography A, 1216(11), 1970–1979.
[2] Kong, Z., Johnson, A., Ko, F.-C., He, J., & Cheng, S.-Y. (2018). Effect of Cistanche Tubulosa Extracts on Male Reproductive Function in Streptozotocin–Nicotinamide-Induced Diabetic Rats. Nutrients, 10(10), 1562–1562.
[3] Li, H., Jiang, H., & Liu, J. (2017). Traditional Chinese medical therapy for erectile dysfunction. Translational Andrology and Urology, 6(2), 192–198.
[4] Fu, Z., Fan, X., Wang, X., & Gao, X. (2018). Cistanches Herba: An overview of its chemistry, pharmacology, and pharmacokinetics property. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 219, 233–247.
[5] Li, Z., Lin, H., Gu, L., Gao, J., & Tzeng, C.-M. (2016). Herba Cistanche (Rou Cong-Rong): One of the Best Pharmaceutical Gifts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7.
[6] Co., B.-T. (2022, March 6). Research On Medicinal Plants(cistanche) With Tonifying Yang (improve Sexual Function) Effects - News - Chengdu Wecistanche Bio-Tech Co., Ltd.; Chengdu Wecistanche Bio-Tech Co., Ltd.
[7] Wang, L., Ding, H., Yu, H., Han, L., Lai, Q., Zhang, L., & Song, X. (2015). Cistanches Herba: Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects. Chinese Herbal Medicines, 7(2), 135–142.
[8] Liu, Y., Li, C., Shen, X., & Liu, Y. (2022). The use of traditional Chinese medicines in relieving exercise-induced fatigue. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 13.
[9] Yu, Z., Wang, W., Yang, K., Gou, J.-F., Jiang, Y., & Zhang-biao, Y. (2023). Sports and Chinese herbal medicine. Pharmacological Research - Modern Chinese Medicine, 9, 100290–100290.
[10] Santiago, J., Joana Vieira Silva, Manuel, & Margarida Fardilha. (2021). Fighting Bisphenol A-Induced Male Infertility: The Power of Antioxidants. Antioxidants, 10(2), 289–289.
[11] Yan, F., Dou, X., Zhu, G., Xia, M., Liu, Y., Liu, X., Wu, G., Wang, H., Zhang, B., Shao, Q., & Wang, Y. (2021). Cistanoside of Cistanche Herba ameliorates hypoxia-induced male reproductive damage via suppression of oxidative stress. American Journal of Translational Research, 13(5), 4342–4359.
[12] Gu, L., Xiong, W.-T., Wang, C., Sun, H., Li, G., & Liu, X. (2013). Cistanche deserticola decoction alleviates the testicular toxicity induced by hydroxyurea in male mice. Asian Journal of Andrology, 15(6), 838–840.
[13] Anti-proliferation effects of Cistanches salsa on the progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia. (2016). Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
[14] Wang, N., Ji, S., Zhang, H., Mei, S., Qiao, L., & Jin, X. (2017). Herba Cistanches: Anti-aging. Aging and Disease, 8(6), 740–740.
[15] Won Tae Yang, Kyoung Sook Kim, Yong Sham Kwon, Du Hyun Kim, & Doh Hoon Kim. (2016). Whitening and anti-aging effects ofCistanche deserticola extract. Journal of Plant Biotechnology, 43(4), 492–499.
[16] Wang, D., Wang, H., & Gu, L. (2017). The Antidepressant and Cognitive Improvement Activities of the Traditional Chinese Herb Cistanche. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017, 1–9.
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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