Codonopsis, “the poor man’s ginseng,” is the dried or fresh root cultivated from the plant Codonopsis pilosula. It is a perennial native to Asia and is found most abundantly in parts of China. It thrives in moist soil and at the edges of thick, wooded areas and grows to approximately five feet tall.
It is now cultivated in many other areas of the world including the United States. Its bell-shaped greenish-purple flowers have helped it gain its two other names in the English language: bastard ginseng and bonnet bellflower.
Codonopsis is best known in Chinese herbalism where it is referred to as tang shen. It has been used there for more than 2,000 years and is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese alternative medicine.
In Chinese health, the yin and yang aspects of nature must remain balanced in order to maintain overall health of mind and body. Here are the properties of each.
* Yin: cold, dark, moisture, passivity
* Yang: heat, light, dryness, activity
When the body suffers from inner disharmony, the elements and energies must be rebalanced. Herbs and treatments are taken to restore harmonious balance, and therefore bring yin and yang back to equal counterparts of each other.
Codonopsis has a sweet taste and a neutral nature. According to traditional Chinese medicine, it is taken as a tonic to nourish and strengthen the blood and to balance metabolic function. It also helps to keep the lungs and spleen healthy.
Codonopsis is an adaptogen. This means that it helps to regulate the body and enhance its ability to tolerate stress. It helps to increase the overall performance of the body to aid it in combating disease and maintaining a healthy immune system.
This herb stimulates the body’s nervous system. It also increases resistance to colds, flu and other infections. It has been shown that Codonopsis increases the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin content.
Codonopsis benefits the entire body by:
* Increasing stamina
* Building strength
* Increasing mental alertness
* Rejuvenating the system
* Strengthening the immune system
* Speeding recovery from illness
* Stimulating the appetite
* Reducing stress
* Improving digestive functions
Taken in the form of a tonic, Codonopsis is a nourishing herb. It is used to promote digestion, absorption and metabolism. It is also said to strengthen and tone the stomach and spleen.
It has been found to reduce blood pressure, as well, by inhibiting adrenal cortex activity and dilating peripheral blood vessels. For the lungs, it helps to treat shortness of breath and chronic coughing.
Codonopsis can also be taken to address specific conditions beyond whole body health. Some of these are anemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, hemorrhoids, headaches, tension and prolapsed uterus. Nursing mothers can take Codonopsis in order to increase their supply of breast milk.
Codonopsis has even been discovered to aid in fighting cancer when used in conjunction with other conventional medical therapy. It has been found to have properties that assist in helping to protect patients from the harmful side effects of radiation therapy. This seems to happen without diminishing the effectiveness of the therapy.
Overall, Codonopsis has many uses and benefits to the body. It is an immune system booster and all around promoter of bodily health. It works to stabilize and strengthen many different areas of the body together, as well as separately.
Codonopsis seems to be one of the best herbs of its kind for use in maintaining a healthy and balanced body. As more studies are performed on this beneficial herb, new discoveries will be made as to its other healing properties and benefits to the human body.