Cynomorium is a parasitic herb with a long history of usage in traditional medicine for treating various ailments such as impotence, premature ejaculation, and kidney-yang.
It’s been used in European, Arabian, and Chinese herbal medicine.
In this article, we will look at the benefits of cynomorium, its safety, and its history.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Cynomorium:
- Cynomorium Safety:
- History & Traditional Use:
- Naming & Taxonomy:
Health Benefits of Cynomorium:
Cynomorium has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
While there is limited human clinical data, research has confirmed the traditional Chinese medical uses for this plant, and other studies suggest new applications for it.
In listing the benefits below, this article will include the benefits of two species of this herb: Cynomorium coccineum and Cynomorium songaricum.
1. May Improve Sexual Function
Cynomorium has traditionally been used to treat various symptoms of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and spermatorrhea.
Modern researchers have demonstrated that C. songaricum can enhance blood plasma testosterone level, promote animal sexual maturity, and increase animal sexual behavior in young male rats.
Various animal studies have been conducted on C. coccineum which have shown that this herb works to increase sperm count and sperm motility. It seems to work especially well in tandem with ashwagandha.
Another animal study found that hamsters had increased reproductive function when taking large doses of C. songaricum extract. It should be noted that low dosages showed no positive impact, only the larger dosage group recorded positive outcomes.
Summary:Animal studies show evidence of cynomorium’s ability to promote sexual health. Human clinical research is required in order to confirm this finding.
2. May Increase Physical Stamina & Energy
Cynomorium has been shown to increase physical endurance and stamina. It’s thought by experts that the plant has good prospects in the treatment of fatigue.
In an animal study with trained swimming mice, it was demonstrated that C. songaricum improved physical endurance. It is thought by the researchers that the group of mice taking cynomorium had an increased ability to consume and utilize oxygen.
In addition, flavones from C. songaricum have anti-fatigue properties and can be used to increase endurance exercise performance by reducing muscle fatigue.
It’s also thought that cynomorium may work to increase testosterone production.
An animal study showed that cynomorium worked to increase serum testosterone levels and muscle glycogen reserves; it also reduced protein degradation; and increased the running endurance of mice.
Summary:Various animal studies have found that cynomorium may increase physical stamina and energy. Human studies are needed to verify these findings.
3. May Benefit the Immune System
Animal studies show that cynomorium may help to support the immune system.
An animal study found that C. songaricum extract helped to protect immunosuppressed mice. The researchers noted that the protective effect was due to an increase in humoral immunity and nonspecific immunity.
Another animal study found that C. songaricum can significantly modulate cytokine levels, suppress autoimmune antibody formation, and increase immune system function.
Summary:Lab-based animal studies show that cynomorium may help boost the immune system, however, human research is needed to confirm this finding.
4. Anti-Aging Properties
Cynomorium has been shown to have anti-aging effects and free radical scavenging abilities. It’s thought to be effective against aging via different mechanisms, particularly by regulating the immune system, which works to improve metabolism and organ function.
An animal study showed that C. songaricum extract significantly increased telomere length and slowed the aging process of cells in aged rats.
An in vitro (i.e. test tube) study shows that C. songaricum works to significantly increase free radical scavenging activity.
Another animal study showed that C. songaricum increased the lifespan of adult female flies. The researchers noted that the lifespan extension was accompanied by beneficial effects, such as improved mating readiness, increased fecundity, and suppression of age-related learning impairment in aged flies.
Summary:Cynomorium may possess various properties that can support the process of aging. Human trials are required to verify this finding.
Safety Class: 1 (can be safely used when consumed properly).
Interaction Class: A (no clinically relevant reactions are expected).
The toxicity of cynomorium has not been well studied. It should be noted that it was used as both a food and medicine. If a herb has been listed as a food source that generally means that large quantities have been safely consumed.
One study did, however, indicate that cynomorium is non-toxic.
It is also noted that in TCM, cynomorium is contraindicated if someone has excessive sexual desire or a urinary tract infection. In cases of excessive dosage, it can cause diarrhea.
Pregnancy & Lactation:
No studies have been conducted on the safety of cynomorium during pregnancy or lactation and while no concerns have been identified, safety has not been conclusively established.
Tincture (1:5): 1.5–2.5 mL (30–50 drops), three times per day.
Decoction: Add 1 tsp. dried, powdered herb to 8 oz. water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes, then steep for 40 minutes. Take 4 oz. three times per day.
Extract Granules (5:1): Take 1 gram, mixed in water, one or two times per day.
History & Traditional Use:
C. songaricum has been traditionally used in Chinese folk medicine for centuries. The earliest record of use in China appeared in Ben Cao Yan Yi Bu Yi (Yuan Dynasty, A.D. 1347).
Later, the use of the plant was noted in other medicinal works, including Ben Cao Gang Mu (Ming Dynasty, A.D. 1590), Ben Cao Meng Quan (Ming Dynasty, A.D. 1565), Ben Cao Cong Xin (Qing Dynasty, A.D. 1757), and Ben Cao Bei Yao (Qing Dynasty, A.D. 1694).
These ancient works all described the medicinal function of C. songaricum for impotence, premature ejaculation, kidney-yang deficiency, and spermatorrhea.
C. songaricum has also been used in preparations with other herbal medicines (such as cistanche, Morinda officinalis, and Fructus Psoraleae) for the management of kidney disease.
The other species of cynomorium, C. coccineum, was widely historically used as a medicine in Eastern Asia, North Africa, and Europe.
In the 16th-century, C. coccineum was referred to as the ‘Maltese mushroom’. The reason it was called a mushroom, despite being a plant, is most likely due to its mushroom-like appearance, lack of chlorophyll, and underground development.
A medical formulary complied by Al-Kindi in the 9th century listed C. coccineum as an ingredient in a salve used to relieve skin irritation and recommended the plant to cure piles, nosebleeds, and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
In Saudi Arabia, C. coccineum is locally known as Som-El-Ferakh, and the people of Qatar use this plant (generally with honey) as a tonic and aphrodisiac. It was also used for increased hair growth.
In Malta, C. coccineum was appreciated as an aid for dysentery that plagued military guards. In addition, the dried mature spike of C. coccineum has been used to treat colic and stomach ulcers.
In North Africa, the aerial part of the plant has traditionally been used to treat hemorrhoids and diarrhea via the daily consumption of three cups of a decoction before meals.
Naming & Taxonomy:
There are two variations of this herb, we’ll dig into each below:
C. songaricum, also known as Suo Yang (Chinese), is found in China, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Iran.
It lives parasitically on the roots of Nitrariaceae, Tamaricaceae, and Chenopodiaceous plants.
The fleshy stems of C. songaricum are the medicinal part of the plant.
C. coccineum has a variety of different names, including Maltese mushroom, fungus melitensis, champignon or e´ponge de Malt, fungo di Malta. In Arabic countries, it’s known as “tarthuth” which means “treasure of the drugs”.
This species is found in southern Spain, especially the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, and Crete. In addition, it’s also found from the West African coast to the North African coast, in the eastern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula.
C. coccineum is parasitic on the roots of Cistaceae and Amaranthaceous plants in the Mediterranean area. The plant parasitizes Amaranthaceae, Tamaricaceae, and Chenopodiaceous plants in other regions.
Cynomorium contains a wide variety of secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, organic acids, and saccharides.
A study found that a stem of this plant contains many different compounds, including beta-sitosterol, palmitic acid, ursloic acid, daucosterol, catechin, naringenin-4′-O-pyranogluoside, and succinicyacid.
Adaptogen (probable), antioxidant, aphrodisiac, laxative (mild), male and female reproductive tonic, nootropic.
In this article, we’ve discussed the potential health benefits of cynomorium and how it can be used to help support your body in multiple ways.
We also highlighted some studies that have been done on the safety of consuming this herb.
If you are considering trying out cynomorium for yourself, talk with your doctor first before adding it into your diet or taking any supplements containing this herbal blend.
You may find that supporting your immune system through healthy habits like eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and using herbs like cynomorium to supplement these practices will lead to more energy and overall health!
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