Cynomorium Songaricum, also known as Cynomorium coccineum var. songaricum, has long been prized as a tonic for sexual potency and fatigue. No wonder its Chinese name is called “Suo Yang”, which, literally translated, means “locking up Yang.” As a renowned Chinese herb particularly for male health, it is frequently used in the treatment of ED (erectile dysfunction) and nocturnal emissions in Chinese herbal remedies. It grows wild in the desert and preferably at the temperature of -20°C. And it is said that it will be the best tonic if it is dug out in the third nine-day period after the winter solstice, the coldest days of a year, when the snow around it is melted by its emitted Yang energies. As a result, many people regard this Yang tonic as “the true elixir of youth.”
What is Cynomorium songaricum?
It refers to the fleshy stem of Cynomorium Songaricum Rupr., which is a member in the family Cynomoriaceae. Other common name of it include Herba Cynomorii, Herba Cynomorii Songarici, tarthuth, cynomorium fleshy stem, red thumb, Chinese cynomorium, “the treasure of drugs”, and desert thumb. In addition, it is also falsely called as Maltese mushroom and Maltese fungus sometimes. In China it is mainly produced in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang. It is usually harvested in spring. The following steps are to remove the inflorescence, bury them half in the sand, and dry in the sun and scald by the very hot sand. Medicinally it is used raw and sliced.
Cynomorium coccineum plants are parasitic succulent perennial herbs, 10 to 100cm in height. The whole body is dark purple or red since it contains no chlorophyll. Underground rhizome is short and thick, with many verrucose absorbing roots. Stem is fleshy, cylindrical, mostly buried in the soil, and with only the small top part on the ground and slightly enlarged base that is in diameter of 3 to 6cm. Scale-like leaves are alternate, oval, triangular or triangular-ovate, 0.5 to 1cm long, less than 1cm wide, and with acute apex. Acrogenous spica is in the shape of rod-like oblong, 5 to 15cm long, in diameter of 2.5 to 6cm, with dense flowers and squamous bracts. Flowers are polygamous, dark purple, and with aroma. Small nuts are spherical and with dark crust-like rind. Bloom time is from June to July. It grows in dry sandy areas, mostly attached to the roots of Nitraria, namely its host plant. And the one with best healing properties is from Suoyang City, Guazhou County, Gansu Province. And it is said that the best harvesting season is winter and cynomorium then is generally believed to be most nutritious.
Whole cynomorium contains cynoterpene, acetylursolic acid, ursolic acid, fatty oil, fatty acid, sterol (0.01%), tannin (about 7%), and amino acids. Fatty oil contains a mixture of paraffins (0.07%) and glycerol (0.79%); the main composition of fatty acid is palmitic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid; sterol contains β-sitosterol, campesterol, β-sitosterol palmitate, and daucosterol; 15 kinds of amino acids are aspartic acid, proline, serine, alanine, and so on.
Cynomorium herb was first recorded in Ben Cao Yan Yi Bu Yi (Additions to the Dilations on the Materia Medica). In terms of medicinal uses, it resembles to Rou Cong Rong (Cistanche), or even to the legendary Ganoderma. However, the legendary thousand-year fungus seems so wise that it always grows between the cliffs that are unattainable. In comparison, cynomorium is so silly that it chooses the place that is totally accessible to people.
The primitive way of thinking plays an important role in the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. Cynomorium is no exception and the “Doctrine of signatures” tells that this is not only a lovely plant, but also highly related to man health since it resembles a phallus. If it makes sense to eat the things that have similar appearance to acquire their strength, no doubt this is one of the best options. Hence, even the most unimaginative person would know what to do next when he sees it. So to speak, this is literally a terrific wild sex toy, even with visible corona of glans penis. At that moment, you might just want to worship it instead of eating it. Inexplicably it does have the above-mentioned functions medicinally.
Modern pharmacological actions of cynomorium root
1) Gavage of its alcohol extract can restore the decreased macrophage’s phagocytosis in mice;
2) IV drip of its alcohol extract can significantly enhance the plasma testosterone levels in young rats, which suggests that it can promote animal’s maturation and the secretion of testosterone;
3) It water extract can lower blood pressure, promote secretion of saliva, increase the synthesis rate of intracellular DNA and RNA.
Sample cynomorium recipes on herbal remedies
The Chinese Materia Medica concludes that it is sweet in flavor and warm in nature. It goes to meridians of kidney, liver, and large intestine. Essential functions are invigorating the kidney, strengthening Yang, and relaxing bowel. Main cynomorium uses and indications include impotence due to kidney deficiency, nocturnal emission, premature ejaculation, weak lower limbs, and deficiency-type constipation. Recommended cynomorium songaricum dosage is from 5 to 15 grams in decoction. Besides, it is also available in other forms like cynomorium coccineum supplements, extract, pills, and powder.
1) Hu Qian Wan from Dan Xi Xin Fa (Dan Xi’s Experiential Methods). It is formulated with Huang Bai (Amur Cork Tree Bark), Gui Ban (Fresh Water Turtle Shell), Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Root), Hu Gu (Tiger Bone), Chen Pi (Citrus Peel), etc. to treat flaccid paralysis.
2) Ning Xia Zhong Cao Yao Shou Ce (Ningxia Herbal Handbook). It works with Long Gu (Dragon Bones), Rou Cong Rong (Cistanche), Sang Piao Xiao (Ootheca Mantidis), and Fu Ling (Poria) to cure nocturnal emission and impotence due to kidney deficiency.
3) Shan Gan Ning Qing Zhong Cao Yao Xuan (Herbs Elected from Shan, Gan, Ning, and Qing). It joins with Dang Shen (Codonopsis), Shan Yao (Chinese Yam), and Fu Pen Zi (Raspberry fruit) to heal impotence and premature ejaculation.
4) Herbs Elected from Shan, Gan, Ning, and Qing. It is coupled with Ren Dong Teng (Honeysuckle Vine) and Bai Mao Gen (Japanese Blood Grass) to cure hematuria caused by urinary tract infection.
5) Zhong Guo Sha Mo Di Qu Yao Yong Zhi Wu (Chinese Desert Medicinal Plants). It is fried with lard or butter and used as tea to heal heart disease.
Clinical research of cynomorium stem
The combination of cynomorium, Ba Ji Tian (Morinda Root), and other herbs has remarkable therapeutic function on sexual dysfunction. – (New Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1992; 24(9):40.)
Cynomorium songaricum side effects and contraindications
Although this is an effective sexual enhancer, it is not the across-the-board panacea. It has its limits. Long-term consumption of cynomorium songaricum herb can cause constipation. Besides, it should not be used in the following cases:
1) Fire excess from yin deficiency, diarrhea due to spleen deficiency, and constipation caused by excess heat;
2) Diarrhea and fast and easy erection but accompanied with premature ejaculation;
3) Loose stool, insecure essence, constipation due to flaming fire, easy erection, and flatulence due to heart deficiency.