Cistanche for Testosterone

Cistanche is a herb that grows in the deserts of Asia. This herb was used in traditional medicine to help those struggling with sexual dysfunction and other complaints. Modern research …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Cistanche is a herb that grows in the deserts of Asia. This herb was used in traditional medicine to help those struggling with sexual dysfunction and other complaints.

Modern research shows various health benefits of cistanche, especially for testosterone production

In this article, we will detail the potential benefits of cistanche for testosterone, how this occurs, and implementation guidelines. 

cistanche for testosterone

Cistanche Overview:

Cistanche is a traditional tonic herb. It was used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with renal disease, infertility, and constipation.

Today, cistanche is thought to be an adaptogen in that it helps to build stress resilience in the body.

There are two primary varieties of this herb, Cistanche tubulosa and Cistanche deserticola. From a medicinal perspective, these two forms of cistanche can be used interchangeably. You can read about the differences between Cistanche tubulosa vs Cistanche deserticola here.

This herb is known to contain a variety of different phytochemicals, including:



•Geniposidic acid

Below is a quick overview of the health benefits of cistanche.

Benefits of Cistanche for Testosterone:

There are a handful of preliminary studies that point to the effectiveness of cistanche for testosterone production.

Testosterone is an important hormone for overall health and wellness. For men, testosterone is responsible for increasing muscle growth, bone density, and sex drive. Testosterone is also important for women for whom it plays an important role in sex drive, energy levels, and physical strength.

As we age, our testosterone production decreases. This can lead to low sex drive, fatigue, less lean muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and depression.

Preliminary research has shown that cistanche increases testosterone levels by inducing steroidogenic enzymes in the testicles. Although this finding comes from an animal study, the results showed potential benefits that could include increased sperm count and motility.

It’s also been discovered that Echinacoside, a plant compound found in cistanche, has vaso-relaxing activity. This could be potentially useful in supporting sexual function through increased blood flow to the genitals.

It should also be noted that cistanche has been used traditionally by multiple cultures to support sexual function.


Research indicates that cistanche may promote the production of testosterone, although human clinical trials are needed to confirm this finding.
cistanche for testosterone benefits

How Does Cistanche Increase Testosterone?

Animal studies suggest that cistanche increases testosterone by increasing the activity of steroidogenic enzymes in the testis. That is, it appears that cistanche’s mechanism of action is its ability to help convert cholesterol into testosterone.

Researchers have also noted that cistanche regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (PHA) axes, which can help to support sexual function.

Mechanism of Action:

Cistanche appears to increase testosterone levels by converting cholesterol into testosterone and regulating the HPG and PHA axes.

How Long Does it Take Cistanche To Increase Testosterone?

Cistanche typically takes 2-3 weeks before it starts to take effect. More pronounced effects may occur with longer supplementation over the course of three to six months. 

Taking 1-2 grams per day of cistanche extract appears to be the most effective dose. 

Click here for more information regarding recommended cistanche dosages.

You can also learn more here about the Best Cistanche Supplements.


Daily supplementation of 1g to 2g of cistanche is thought to begin working after two weeks to six months of use.

Read More:

Below, we’ve compiled our articles going over cistanche for additional reading.

Cistanche vs. Ashwagandha

Cistanche vs. Fadogia agrestis

Cistanche vs. Shilajit

Cistanche vs. Tongkat Ali

benefits of cistanche for testosterone


Taking cistanche for testosterone is a potentially useful remedy for increasing testosterone levels naturally.

However, it should be noted that cistanche does not have clinical research showing effectiveness. Most of the studies on cistanche, although promising, were conducted on animals.

Clinical research is needed to verify the health benefits of cistanche, mechanism of action, and optimal dosage. Additionally, more research is needed to verify safety and potential side effects and drug interactions.

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About Daniel Powers, MS

Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He has a passion for herbal medicine and how it can be used to support everyday health & wellness.