Tell me about...
Codonopsis (dang shen)
What is codonopsis? What is it used
Codonopsis is a fast-growing vine that blooms during the
summer and fall. A perennial herb, codonopsis can reach a
height of ten feet, with oval or heart-shaped leaves and ornate,
bell-shaped flowers that range in color from yellow to light
purple. The roots of codonopsis are harvested during its third
year or fourth year of growth and are used medicinally.
The chief chemical components of codonopsis include saccharides
such as fructose and inulin. It also contains glycosides (such
as syringin and tangshenoside I), alkaloids (such as choline
and perlolyrine), and 17 kinds of amino acids and micro-elements.
Codonopsis is known as the "poor man's ginseng."
In ancient China, codonopsis was used along with ginseng to
create a tonic that helped replenish one's qi. In more
modern times, it is often used to strengthen the immune system,
invigorate the spleen, and treat a variety of disorders, including
high blood pressure, lack of appetite, diabetes, memory loss
and insomnia. Some researchers theorize that codonopsis may
benefit patients undergoing AIDS treatment or chemotherapy,
as it reduces the side-effects of toxic drugs by increasing
red and white blood cell counts.
How much codonopsis should I take?
Most practitioners recommend a codonopsis decoction between
3-9 grams depending on the condition being treated. Other
conditions may require dosages as high as 30 grams per day.
What forms of codonopsis are available?
Codonopsis is available in liquid tonic; powder; capsule;
and tablet forms.
What can happen if I take too much
codonopsis? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
There is anecdotal research suggesting that codonopsis (when
taken with other herbs and botanicals such as licorice and
bupleurum) may interact with levels of interferon, especially
in patients with liver problems. Patients with liver problems
should consult with a qualified health practitioner before
taking codonopsis supplements.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
- Chen S, Zhou Z, Sun S, et al. The effect
of codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. on gastric acid,
serum gastrin and plasma somatostatin concentration in dogs.
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi May 1998;23(5):299-301,
- Grey-Wilson C. A survey of the genus codonopsis.
- Chinese Materia Medica (Zhong Hua Ben
Cao). Shanghai Science & Technology Publishing House,
- Wang, Xu. Two new species of codonopsis
from China. Acta Phytotax Sin 1993;31(2):184-7.
- Wang ZT, et al. Immunomodulatory effect
of a polysaccharide-enriched preparation of codonopsis pilosula
roots. Gen Pharmacol Dec 1996;27(8):1347-50.