Cistanche Tubulosa Benefits

Cistanche Tubulosa Benefits: Plant For Testosterone & Brain

Cistanche tubulosa, also known as desert hyacinth or rou cong rong in Chinese, is a unique plant with many health benefits. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to improve male sexual function and enhance overall vitality. Nowadays, it is gaining popularity in the Western world as a natural supplement for testosterone production and brain health. In this article, we will explore the various benefits of Cistanche tubulosa and how it can improve your overall well-being.

What is Cistanche Tubulosa?

Cistanche Tubulosa, commonly known as Rou Cong Rong or Desert Hyacinth, is a parasitic plant belonging to the family Orobanchaceae.

It is indigenous to the arid regions of China, Mongolia, and Central Asia. This plant has been renowned in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for its numerous health benefits for centuries.

Cistanche Tubulosa contains various active components, such as phenylethanoid glycosides, iridoids, lignans, and polysaccharides. These compounds contribute to its beneficial properties and potential health benefits.

Within the Orobanchaceae family exists a sole recognized species, namely Cistanche Tubulosa. However, it is worth noting many types of Cistanche.

There are the existence of other Cistanche species, including Cistanche Deserticola and Cistanche Salsa. It is essential to highlight that these species are not regarded as mere variants of Cistanche Tubulosa.

How Does Cistanche Work?

Cistanche is believed to work through various mechanisms.

  • It can enhance the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells and reducing inflammation.
  • Cistanche exhibits antioxidant properties that can safeguard cells against oxidative stress.
  • The potential advantages for energy and vitality may be attributed to its impact on mitochondrial function and hormone regulation.

Next comes a deeper understanding of how Cistanche works with each of its benefits.

Cistanche works by impacting on hormone regulation

Cistanche Tubulosa Benefits

Cistanche Benefits For Brain Health

Here are some potential benefits of Cistanche for brain health:

  • Neuroprotective properties: Cistanche contains bioactive compounds, including phenylethanoid glycosides and echinacoside, which have been discovered to possess neuroprotective properties. These compounds can shield brain cells from harm from oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Cognitive enhancement: Cistanche has a long history of traditional use in promoting cognitive function and memory enhancement [1]. Studies conducted on animals have indicated that Cistanche extract may improve learning and memory by modulating the levels of specific neurotransmitters in the brain.

Increasing Testosterone

Cistanche Tubulosa is rich in diverse bioactive compounds, such as phenylethanoid glycosides, iridoids, and polysaccharides. These compounds have shown the Cistanche tubulosa benefits on influencing hormone regulation, specifically testosterone levels [2].

The ethanol extract of Cistanche tubulosa has demonstrated potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, it has been found to enhance blood circulation by reducing blood cholesterol levels. [3]

Sufficient blood flow is vital in delivering hormones like testosterone to specific tissues. By improving blood flow, Cistanche Tubulosa may facilitate the transportation of testosterone to the appropriate receptors.

Cistanche Tubulosa Bodybuilding Benefits

Cistanche can enhance the activity of specific enzymes and stimulate ghrelin receptors, which can contribute to improved testosterone levels and muscle mass development.

In a study conducted on living organisms, extracts of Cistanche that are rich in phenylethanoids demonstrated a significant reduction in serum lactic acid levels and delayed the onset of fatigue at doses of 0.25, 0.50, and 1.00 g/kg body weight. [4]

Furthermore, another study on mice demonstrated that Cistanche decoction increased body mass, prolonged exercise duration, elevated hemoglobin content, reduced blood lactic acid levels post-exercise, and enhanced total ATPase activity. [5]

Cistanche Tubulosa Bodybuilding Benefits

Immune-Boosting Effect

Cistanche tubulosa contains compounds such as phenylethanoids, polysaccharides, and glycosides, which are believed to contribute to its potential immune-boosting effects. These compounds may help regulate immune responses by modulating the activity of immune cells, such as macrophages and lymphocytes. [6]

Moreover, Pharmacological studies have indicated that the crude polysaccharide fraction CDA-3B derived from Cistanches Herba also demonstrated immunoregulatory activity. [7]

Antioxidant And Inflammation Effects

Cistanche tubulosa possesses antioxidant properties due to the presence of various compounds, such as phenylethanoids, iridoids, and polysaccharides.

These compounds can counteract and neutralize detrimental free radicals, effectively mitigating oxidative harm to cells and tissues.

Cistanches Herba exerts its antioxidant effects through two main mechanisms.

Firstly, it directly scavenges free radicals by actively removing them or inhibiting their production. [8]

Secondly, it modulates the activity of antioxidant enzymes involved in the metabolism of free radicals in the body, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). [8]

By employing these mechanisms, Cistanches Herba helps to counteract oxidative stress and maintain a healthy balance of free radicals in the body. [8]

Cistanche tubulosa not only exhibits antioxidant activity but also possesses anti-inflammatory effects. The bioactive compounds found in Cistanche tubulosa have been proven to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and regulate inflammatory pathways, effectively mitigating inflammation within the body.

Good For Kidney Health

Cistanche tubulosa is renowned in traditional Chinese medicine for its ability to tonify the kidneys. It is believed to provide nourishment and strength to these vital organs, supporting their optimal functioning.

Cistanche tubulosa benefits for kidney includes kidney function, nourishes the blood essence, and promotes healthy bowel movements by moisturizing the large intestines to free stool [9]

Moreover, Cistanche tubulosa is also believed to have mild diuretic properties, which may help promote urine production and eliminate waste products from the kidneys, supporting kidney health.

Fatigue And Cognitive Health

The study found that the group treated with Cistanche herb decoction exhibited reduced activity of monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme associated with depression. Additionally, the concentration of dopamine (DA) in the brain was increased, suggesting improved nerve excitability. [10]

Moreover, the serum concentration of corticosterone (CORT), a stress hormone, was decreased, indicating a lower stress level in the mice. These results demonstrate the potential antidepressant effects of Cistanche herb. [10]

As of June 29, 2022, the national "Special Food Information Inquiry Platform" has registered 60 health foods incorporating cistanche, cistanche extract, or cistanche as their primary ingredients. These products provide a range of health benefits, such as reducing physical fatigue, boosting immune function, and offering antioxidant effects. [12]

Digestive And Constipation

The aqueous extract derived from Cistanche tubulosa (CT), a traditional Chinese herbal formula, has potential to protect the human intestine. In a study, they aimed to investigate the Cistanche extract benefits on modulating the gut microbiome in mice with intestinal disorders. [12]

Their findings demonstrated that the CT aqueous extract restored the damaged intestinal morphology caused by cefixime treatment, suggesting its potential therapeutic benefits in alleviating intestinal disorders. [12] In addition, it is also an enormously effective remedy for constipation. [13]

Other Benefits

Here are some of the other potential Cistanche tubulosa benefits:

Energy and vitality: Cistanches Herba, traditionally known for bolstering physical strength and stamina, has long been utilized to enhance energy and vitality.

Sexual health: It is commonly believed that this can boost libido, enhance sexual performance, and effectively address concerns such as erectile dysfunction.

Anti-aging effects: Cistanches Herba is reputed to possess antioxidant properties, mitigating oxidative stress and potentially decelerating the aging process.

Adaptogenic Properties: Cistanche Herba is commonly categorized as an adaptogen, known for its ability to support the body in adapting to stress and promoting overall balance and harmony.

Cistanche Negative Effects

Besides its benefits, many people also ask “Is Cistanche safe?”. Regarding the potential side effects of Cistanche, the herb is generally considered safe for most individuals. However, being aware of a few possible side effects is essential.

While mild digestive issues like nausea and vomiting have been reported in some cases, these symptoms typically occur with large doses of Cistanche. Skin irritation and rash may also occur if the herb is applied directly.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid Cistanche, as its safety during these periods hasn't been sufficiently studied. Although uncommon, allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling may occur in some individuals.

How Much Cistanche Tubulosa Should I Use?

In terms of Cistanche dosage, the precise amount is still under research and discussion. Current studies propose a dosage range of 3-15 grams daily for Cistanche Tubulosa. Some studies have utilized doses of up to 500 milligrams of concentrated extract daily.

Moreover, the dosage of Cistanche varies based on its intended use, individual needs, and physical condition... It is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for each person.

Should I Take Cistanche?

Cistanche is an herb that brings many health benefits that have been researched and mentioned in the previous sections. We can use it to reduce diseases or support daily health.

Although Cistanche is commonly used in herbal medicine and shows promise in many areas, individual reactions may vary. The decision to use Cistanche and dosage should be made after carefully considering your health needs and medical condition and consulting with a specialist to make the most informed decision to promote its effectiveness.

Cistanche Benefits For Male

Here are some benefits of Cistanche for men:

  • Cistanche is believed to heighten libido, enhance erectile function, and address concerns such as impotence and premature ejaculation.
  • Cistanche has the potential to regulate testosterone levels, promoting optimal male reproductive health and vitality.
  • Cistanche is thought to improve the quality and movement of sperm, potentially boosting the likelihood of successful conception.

Cistanche Female Benefits

Here are some benefits of Cistanche for women:

Cistanche has the potential to support the body's hormonal balance.
It is thought to nourish the kidneys and uterus, potentially enhancing fertility, promoting menstrual regularity, and supporting overall reproductive well-being.

Regular consumption may aid in fighting fatigue, boosting stamina, and promoting holistic physical and mental well-being in females.


Does Cistanche Actually Work?

According to preliminary studies, Cistanche, a herb with a long history in traditional medicine, holds potential. However, further research is required to establish its effectiveness conclusively. While some individuals assert benefits like immune support and cognitive enhancement, individual responses may differ. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your specific health goals.

Is Cistanche A Steroid?

Cistanche is not a steroid but an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. Renowned for its potential benefits, such as immune support and anti-aging properties, Cistanche stands apart. Unlike steroids, it does not exert the same hormonal impact and is generally regarded as safe when used appropriately.


In conclusion, Cistanche Tubulosa is a versatile herb with a long history of traditional use in Chinese medicine. It has been studied for its potential benefits in various areas, including sexual health, hormonal balance, fertility support, energy and vitality, anti-aging effects, and immune system support. Incorporating Cistanche into a healthy lifestyle may provide numerous potential benefits for both males and females...So, add this wonderful herb to your wellness routine and reap its potential benefits!


[1] Gu, C., Yang, X., & Huang, L. (2016). Cistanches Herba: A Neuropharmacology Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7.
[2] Jiang, Z., Wang, J., Li, X., & Zhang, X. (2016). Echinacoside and Cistanche tubulosa (Schenk) R. wight ameliorate bisphenol A-induced testicular and sperm damage in rats through gonad axis regulated steroidogenic enzymes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 193, 321–328.
[3] Wang, N., Ji, S., Zhang, H., Mei, S., Qiao, L., & Jin, X. (2017). Herba Cistanches: Anti-aging. Aging and Disease, 8(6), 740–740.
[4] Kan, J., Cheng, J., Hu, C., Chen, L., Liu, S., Venzon, D., Murray, M., Li, S., & Du, J. (2021). A Botanical Product Containing Cistanche and Ginkgo Extracts Potentially Improves Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms in Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Study. Frontiers in Nutrition, 8.
[5] Co., B.-T. (2022, March 6). Research Of Cistanche Of Anti-fatigue Effects - Anti Fatigue - News - Chengdu Wecistanche Bio-Tech Co., Ltd.; Chengdu Wecistanche Bio-Tech Co., Ltd.
[6] Yang, Y. (2021). Cistanche tubulosa Phenylethanoid Glycosides Induce Apoptosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Mitochondria-Dependent and MAPK Pathways and Enhance Antitumor Effect through Combination with Cisplatin - Pengfei Yuan, Changshuang Fu, Yi Yang, Aipire Adila, Fangfang Zhou, Xianxian Wei, Weilan Wang, Jie Lv, Yijie Li, Lijie Xia, Jinyao Li, 2021. Integrative Cancer Therapies.
[7] 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.
[8] Gu, C., Yang, X., & Huang, L. (2016). Cistanches Herba: A Neuropharmacology Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7.
[9] Gu, C., Yang, X., & Huang, L. (2016). Cistanches Herba: A Neuropharmacology Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7.
[10] Wang, D., Wang, H., & Gu, L. (2017). The Antidepressant and Cognitive Improvement Activities of the Traditional Chinese HerbCistanche. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017, 1–9.
[11] Zhou, S., Feng, D., Zhou, Y., Duan, H., Jiang, Y., & Yan, W. (2023). Analysis of the active ingredients and health applications of cistanche. Frontiers in Nutrition, 10.
[12] Bao, X., Bai, D., Liu, X., Wang, Y., Zeng, L., Wei, C., & Jin, W. (2021). Effects of the Cistanche tubulosa Aqueous Extract on the Gut Microbiota of Mice with Intestinal Disorders. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2021, 1–11.
[13] Ali Esmail Al-Snafi. (2020). Bioactive metabolites and pharmacology of Cistanche tubulosa- A review. ResearchGate; unknown.
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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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