Cynomorium is used for impotence in men and lack of libido in women due to deficiency of Kidney Yang energy.
- Basic Botanical Info of Cynomorium Stem.
- Cynomorium and Qualities.
- Cynomorium Distribution Map.
- Phytochemicals and Constituents of Cynomorium.
- Chinese Suoyang Background.
- Cynomorium Classical Literature Registration.
- Administration and Application of Cynomorium songaricum.
- Research Update:Cynomorium songaricum.
Chinese Suoyang Background.:
Cynomorium is known in Chinese as suoyang, which is based on the herb's medicinal effects, "locking the yang." It is obtained mainly from the East Asian species, Cynomorium songaricum, though the similar C. coccineum is sometimes utilized as a substitute (and is used in other countries, from Europe to Central Asia, where it is the native species). The plant harvested for Chinese medicine grows at high altitude, mainly in Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, and Tibet. It is used to tonify the yang (treat impotence and backache), strengthen the tendons, and nourish the blood to alleviate the blood-deficiency type of constipation (typically occurring with old age).
The value of cynomorium was depicted similarly in many cultures. In 16th century Europe, it was known as the Maltese mushroom, though it is not a true fungus. The plant was so highly regarded that the Knights of Malta often sent samples of it to European monarchs as presents. To protect the so-called Fungus Rock, where cynomorium was abundant, the grandmaster posted guards around the area and ordered the sides of the outcropping to be rendered smooth to eliminate any footholds and prevent access from the sea. The rock, rising to a sheer height of 60 meters (200 feet) from the rough sea, became virtually inaccessible.
As an explanation of its uses by the doctrine of signatures, since the plant appears reddish-brown, and becomes darker upon drying, herbalists thought it would be useful to treat ailments of the blood. On top of that, the phallic shape indicated the plant could also be used to treat sexual problems. The dried spikes were used by the Crusader Knights after their battles to recover strength. In Saudi Arabia, the plant is called tarthuth, and is recognized to have the same properties mentioned above, as well as many others, including treatment of digestive disorders and ulcers (see Appendix for story).
Cynomorium is parasitic on the roots of salt-tolerant plants, mainly species of Atriplex, the "saltbushes" (for C. coccineum) and on Nitraria sibirica (for C. songaricum). The plant has no chlorophyll; the fleshy red stems or spikes have tiny scarlet flowers. Its active constituents have not been fully analyzed, but cynomorium is known to contain anthocyanic glycosides, triterpene saponins, and lignans. Pharmacology experiments are in the early stage, with attempts to demonstrate a hormonal effect that would explain its use in impotence (its current main application in commercial products), as well as findings that the herb extracts inhibits HIV, lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow in laboratory experiments.
Cynomorium, which has a pleasant, sweet taste when raw, has long been known as a "famine food," that is, something not frequently eaten, but nourishing enough to help people survive when the standard foods are insufficient. In fact, a city in China is named for cynomorium because of this benefit. The city is near Anxi (in today's Gansu Province), which lies at the center of the ancient Silk Road, and was long considered as the key to the West. During the Tang Dynasty, Anxi was established as a military base to gain control over Middle Asia. About 40 miles away was an old Han Dynasty town called Kugucheng, also of strategic military importance. Numerous walls and gates were set up to form a line of defense. During the Tang dynasty, the famous general Xue Rengui and his army were besieged in the Anxi area while on the way to conquer the West. The soldiers had used up all their supplies and they had no hope of assistance. Yet, they were able to survive by eating suoyang, and after that the city was renamed as Suoyang.
- 1.Cynomorium is used for impotence in men and lack of libido in women due to deficiency of Kidney Yang energy.
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