Cistanche vs. Fadogia agrestis: Similarities & Differences Explained

Cistanche and Fadogia agrestis are two herbs that are frequently compared to one another because they both have similar health benefits for men’s hormone health. Before purchasing one herb over …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Cistanche and Fadogia agrestis are two herbs that are frequently compared to one another because they both have similar health benefits for men’s hormone health.

Before purchasing one herb over the other, read our article that goes over important differences between each herb.

We’ll dig deep into the similarities and differences between cistanche vs. Fadogia agrestis in this article.

CISTANCHE VS. FADOGIA AGRESTIS: similarities and differences

Cistanche vs. Fadogia agrestis: Which is right for you?

You may be asking yourself, fadogia agrestis or cistanche, which is the best supplement for me?

Fadogia’s primary ability is to improve sex drive and testosterone levels. Most of the evidence for this herb is anecdotal. Little is known about this herb, including its long-term safety.

It’s best to stay away from fadogia until further research is conducted.

Cistanche’s primary ability is to support hormone health and improve testosterone levels. It is also thought to have the secondary benefit of being able to support brain health.

While cistanche also has limited research, no negative effects have been demonstrated in conjunction with taking this herb.

Cistanche also has a long history as a traditional Chinese medicine, which helps to verify its safety.

When comparing cistanche vs. Fadogia agrestis, cistanche is the safer option.

If you are looking to increase your testosterone levels, but are sensitive to stimulants, then cistanche might be right for you. It is also said to have an adaptogenic effect that may help to improve long-term stress resilience.

You can click here to learn more about the Best Cistanche Supplements.

Fadogia agrestis Overview:Cistanche Overview:
Primary Benefit:Fadogia agrestis may promote testosterone levelsCistanche may support sexual and hormone health
Secondary Benefit(s):Fadogia agrestis may help lower pain perceptionCistanche may benefit brain health and cognition
Part of the Plant Used:StemStem
Dosage Range:200-400mg400-4,000mg
Form:Extract, powder or capsuleExtract, powder or capsule
Side Effects:High usage may cause anxiety, restlessness or hormonal imbalancesLarge doses of cistanche may result in nausea, vomiting or skin irritation
Recommended Products:Momentous | Check PriceLost Empire Herbs | Check Price

Can You Take Cistanche & Fadogia Together?

No, we don’t recommend taking cistanche and Fadogia agrestis together. This is due to the fact fadogia is unproven from a safety standpoint.

Taking cistanche alone is recommended.

The Best Cistanche & Fadogia agrestis Supplements:

Recommended Fadogia AgrestisRecommended Cistanche
best fadogia agrestis
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Cistanche Overview:

Cistanche, also called “desert ginseng”, is a traditional herb used in Chinese medicine that was used a tonic. It was used to help with libido and sexual wellness. This herb was also used to help with kidney disease, infertility, and constipation due to old age.

We have put together a helpful article going over the differences between the two main types of cistanche: Cistanche tubulosa vs. Cistanche deserticola.

This herb is thought to be an adaptogen in that it may help the body to adapt to stress.

Below is a quick overview of how cistanche benefits human health.


1. May Support Male Hormone Health

Cistanche has been shown to potentially improve male sexual health through various mechanisms, according to research.

In laboratory studies, the phytochemicals found in cistanche have been observed to boost testosterone levels.

One such phytochemical found in cistanche, echinacoside, has also been found to relax arteries and improve blood flow, which may have a positive impact on sexual function.

2. May Improve Brain Function

Cistanche also appears to be able to support mental health and overall cognitive function.

Lab-based studies have shown that cistanche can improve brain function by preventing neuron loss.

Other studies have shown various brain-boosting benefits of cistanche.

A clinical trial found that cistanche helped individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. When compared to other medications, the researchers noted that cistanche may help to support those with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

3. May Support Healthy Aging

A new study has found that cistanche may have anti-aging properties.

A study found that cistanchehas the ability to stimulate human growth hormone levels. human growth hormone (HGH) is a natural hormone that boosts cellular regeneration and helps to improve overall healing. It’s thought to be an important hormone for healthy aging.

Fadogia agrestis Overview:

Fadogia agrestis is herb that has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few year.

Fadogia is a small shrub that was initially discovered in Nigeria, it can now be found growing throughout a handful of African countries. This herb was used in traditional medicine used as a libido-enhancing herb to treat erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, it has been used as a traditional remedy to increase testosterone levels, reduce pain, as well as stabilize blood sugar levels.

Below is a quick overview of the potential health benefits of Fadogia agrestis.

It should be noted that Fadogia agrestis has limited research on it. Some of the animal research conducted on this herb found that fadogia may have a negative impact on testicular function, thus further research is needed before this herb is deemed safe.

fadogia agrestis health benefits

1. May Increase Testosterone Levels & Libido

Fadogia agrestis is known for increasing libido.

An animal study found that taking Fadogia agrestis extract led to increases in testosterone levels and increased sexual activity.

Another animal study found that when given fadogia, rats had an increase in sexual activity.

One other animal study found that fadogia extract increased antioxidant functions and nitric oxide pathways in rats. The researchers speculate that increased blood flow from elevated nitric oxide and antioxidant effects likely caused this purported benefit.

While these initial animal studies are promising, it’s important to keep in mind that no studies have been conducted to confirm that Fadogia agrestis has testosterone-boosting effects in humans.

2. May Reduce Pain

Fadogia agrestis has also been used to reduce pain perception.

One study looked at the pain minimizing properties of fadogia. In this animal study, fadogia offered significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects similar to aspirin. The reduction in pain perception appeared to be due to the effect of Fadogia agrestis on the body’s ability to sense pain.

3. May Support Heart Health

There was also one small study done on rats regarding possible anti-diabetic effects.

In the study, the researchers found that diabetic rats who received fadogia extracts showed a decrease in glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and other heart health markers compared to the control group. 

Potential Side Effects & Interactions:

Herbs have the potential to interact negatively with your body and cause adverse effects.

Fadogia’s safety is currently in question.

Animal studies have shown a negative impact on testicular function in mice when given fadogia.

It’s not clear whether these effects could also impact human health.

More research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and health risks of using Fadogia agrestis. It is not clear whether Fadogia agrestis is safe for long-term use, and it should not be used as a substitute for proven medical treatments.

Cistanche has been considered a safe herb in traditional Chinese medicine for over the past thousand years. It us generally well-tolerated herb by most individuals. There are minimal reported cistanche side effects.

You can also click here for more information regarding the recommended dosages for cistanche.

If you are considering using Fadogia agrestis or any other herbal dietary supplement, it is important to speak with a qualified health physician before adding a new dietary supplement to your routine.


In conclusion, although both Fadogia agrestis and cistanche have similar health benefits, they also differ in certain aspects.

Since cistanche is better researched and has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is deemed to be a safer option.

On the other hand, fadogia shows promising benefits for hormone production, but its safety is currently in question.

Thus, we recommend staying away from Fadogia agrestis and sticking with cistanche at this time.

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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.