There’s increasing interest in Cistanche deserticola benefits among the bodybuilding crowd. It’s not at all surprising though, given that the herb supposedly increases stamina while boosting libido – but are those intriguing claims really true?
As always, we’ll have to start with the basics. Cistanche deserticola (aka desert hyacinth) is a herb most often associated with traditional Chinese medicine. The plant’s dried and fleshy stems are used to prepare a tonic or formula known as roucong-rongor herbacistanche.
In China, the herb is not merely used by those with issues in the bedroom. It’s also given to people suffering from weakened immunity, general fatigue, and even hair loss –after all, it’s featured in the Shennong Bencao Jing (an ancient manual on medicinal plants).
Reinforced Defenses Against Disease
Truth be told, experts still haven’t yet mapped the process through which the herb strengthens the immune system and slows immune senescence. Despite that, they’ve gained insights regarding Cistanche’s potency, knowing that it greatly increasesthe amount of available CD4-positive T-cells.
Those cells are crucial to immune function, serving as the main defense against new threats. What’s even more interesting though, is that the herb also lowers CD8-positive T cells – and these mainly have an inhibitory effect, lowering the effectiveness of their CD4 counterpart.
Natural killer cells, which specialize in targeting viruses, also get a boost due to the herb’s echinaco side content. That’s a valuable perk, given that engaging in strenuous activities (e.g. working out) results in increased stress levels, which in turn makes the body more susceptible to viral disease.
Of course, let’s not forget that tumors become much more likely to form in the presence of stress. In fact, stress (through the JNK signaling process it initiates) makes it possible for mutations across different cells to come together and cause cancer.
Fortunately, natural killer cells hunt down tumor cells at a fairly quick pace. These microscopic defenders force tumors to undergo cellular death, finally allowing macrophages to consume the dead cells and eliminate any existing cancer risks.
Fighting Fatigue, Boosting Stamina
Aside from keeping your defenses up, the herb can help bring your energy back. It was revealed in a study that taking Cistanche within a 12-week period can be enough to reduce the feeling of being constantly tired - and relief from eye strain can also be achieved.
How does a mere plant manage to provide those effects? Well, keep in mind that it’s loaded with phenylethanoidglycosides – an active ingredient that effectively seeks out and disables free radicals or reactive oxygen species (experts believe it could even be used to prevent DNA breakage).prevent DNA breakage)
That means Cistanche won’t give you energy to keep away fatigue and weakness (it doesn’t contain much calories, after all). It will, however, reduce muscle damage, especially during exercise and athletic endeavors – its anti-inflammatory activity also helps in this aspect.
In addition, it can improve the way your body stores energy, which in turn should delay lactic acid buildup. As you should already know, lactic acid causes that burning sensation in your muscles that gradually worsens during workouts.
Keeping Complete Baldness at Bay
Now, here’s something equally interesting – taking Cistanche can keep baldness away by facilitating hair regrowth and keeping the strands healthy. It does this simply by ensuring that blood circulation stays optimal throughout the entire body.
If you’re wondering how those things are connected, you’ll have to consider the fact that hair requires all sorts of nutrients to stay in tiptop shape. However, even the most nutritious food won’t be of use if the micronutrients it contains fail to reach the hair and scalp.
That’s where proper blood circulation comes in. It’s through the bloodstream that vitamins and minerals are sent throughout the body – and since the hair isn’t really crucial for survival, it’s often overlooked in favor of other bodily regions whenever blood circulation is a bit problematic.
Note that your scalp also benefits from the herb, mainly due to improved blood circulation as well. If you’re having problems with dandruff, you’ll be glad to know that Cistanche can help you out with the flakes while keeping the redness at a minimum with its anti-inflammatory effect.
Enjoying Great Satisfaction in Bed
Given that we’ve already talked about how the plant improves circulation, it’s only appropriate that we finally discuss how it raises libido. If nutrients aren’t being properly sent to areas where they’re needed, all kinds of bodily processes will suffer.
Testosterone, for example, might not be produced in sufficient amounts. That in turn, will have a significant effect on sex drive, considering that the hormone holds the greatest influence when it comes to libido (testosterone replacement therapy is actually becoming more popular because of that).
Aside from helping ensure that there’s no problem in the supply of male hormones, the herb’s circulation-improving effect makes it great against erectile dysfunction. Keep in mind that the quality of erection greatly depends on the amount of blood that gets sent to the penis.
The sexual perks of taking Cistanche don’t stop there – though more studies are needed, there’s good proof that the plant can improve sperm count and sperm motility. In a way, that’s to be expected since there’s a link between sperm quality and the amount of testosterone in the blood.
Other Advantages You Will Appreciate
Supplementing with the herb will also benefit your brain. It can sharpen your memory (meaning you’ll be able to store information faster and for longer), all while improving your learning capacity – making it easier to remember lengthier exercise routines.
The plant manages to do all those things due to its neuroprotective effects. Simply put, whenever it’s in your system, your neurons are less likely to undergo apoptosis – a natural yet, in this case, unfortunate process of cellular death.
If you’re not that familiar with the brain, you’ll have to consider that its cells only have limited capacity for regeneration. That’s why stem cells and regenerative molecules are often used in cases where there’s too much damage on the neurons.
Simply put, given that the brain doesn’t really do well in healing itself, it’s crucial to prevent its degeneration as much as possible. Cistanche is so potent in protecting neurons that it’s considered to have potential in fighting Alzheimer’s disease.
Given that the Cistanche herb has been found to exhibit hepatoprotective activity, taking it will make it easier to protect your liver from cellular death. That’s quite a perk, even if you don’t have vices – after all, sugar is more than enough to harm that particular organ.
In addition to protecting your brain and liver from apoptosis, supplementing with this remarkable plant keeps your entire cardiovascular system in top form. Taking it translates to improvements in vascular age – and keeping that value as low as can be is vital if you wish to avoid heart disease.
Start Your Search for the Chinese Herb
At this point, you’re probably so intrigued by this tonic herb that you’re thinking of buying it right away. If you do that, soon enough, you’ll encounter one surprising detail that might make you think twice – Cistanche is currently classified as endangered.
Based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Cistanche deserticola is classified under Appendix II. This means that the parasitic plant is indeed endangered, although trading it is still possible if done under strict monitoring.
Cistanche tubulosaisn’t under the same list, but it’s probably an endangered species as well. So, if you’re going to buy Cistanche tubulosa extract or anything similar, check whether it has been acquired from proper sources (though they generally come from the Taklimakan Desert).
Key Reminders for Safe Supplementation
In addition to caring for the environment and ensuring the plant’s survival in the years to come, you need to take the necessary precautions in keeping yourself safe. As much as possible, consult with a physician before taking this herbal supplement to check for possible contraindications.
Following the dosage instructions on the label of your chosen product is just as important. While it’s supposed to be generally safe (it even has the American Herbal Products Association’s seal of approval), you shouldn’t take more than 400 milligrams daily to avoid sleepiness and blurred vision.
Don’t forget that Cistanche extract tends to raise the body’s temperature, meaning there’s nothing wrong with skipping it during hot and humid days. Don’t worry about not maximizing its benefits – you won’t lose them just because you skipped a day or two to avoid considerable discomfort.
Finally, we’ll have to remind you that despite all the Cistanche deserticola benefits many have already enjoyed, in-depth scientific studies about the plant’s other effects are still limited. If ever you notice something odd while supplementing with it, don’t think twice – visit your doctor right away.