Rou Cong Rong – Broomrape Stem – Herba Cistanches

Rou Cong Rong

English Name: cistanche, desert broomrape

Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Cistanches

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Rou Cong Rong enters the Kidney and Large Intestine channels; it is sweet and salty in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Rou Cong Rong?:

The Chinese Herb Rou Cong Rong is derived from a hardy, desert shrub that looks like a cross between a pinecone and a pineapple commonly known as desert broomrape (Cistanche deserticola Y.C. Ma). It has thick, fleshy stems with scales out of which yellow flowers eventually emerge. The stems and scales are used medicinally after they are gathered in the spring, cut into pieces, and sun-dried. Usually, these dried pieces are then salt-fried or wine-fried to direct the medicinal actions to the Kidney (see below).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Rou Cong Rong:

Rou Cong Rong tonifies Kidney yang, jing (essence), and blood to treat male impotence and female infertility caused by deficiency of these substances. It also addresses other clinical presentations of Kidney yang deficiency such as forgetfulness and brain-fog, weakness in the lower back and knees, tinnitus, dizziness, clear/watery leukorrhea, and amenorrhea/scanty flow. Being relatively mild, large doses of Rou Cong Rong taken in formula over a long period of time are necessary to see results.

Rou Cong Rong is moistens the intestines and promotes bowel movement to address constipation and dry stools from a variety of causes. It is most effective in this action for constipation due to yang deficiency with intestinal fluid consumption and dryness.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated in persons with diarrhea or for those whose constipation is due to excess heat.

Contraindicated in persons with Kidney yin deficiency with heat signs or those easily aroused with premature ejaculation.

Rou Cong Rong and Suo Yang (cynomorium) have similar functions and are often paired together to treat patterns of disharmony rooted in Kidney yang deficiency and jing (essesnce). The difference is that Suo Yang more strongly tonifies yang while Rou Cong Rong more strongly tonifies jing and blood.