Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen)
Botanical Name: Codonopsis lanceolate, C. pilosulae
Often used as a gentler alternative to the more potent ginseng, codonopsis has a long history of being an excellent lung, blood, muscle, and overall body tonic. Used in China by nursing mothers to increase healthy milk production and for staying strong and healthy.
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Below is an overview of Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen), combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of codonopsis root.
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Western Name: Codonopsis
Also Known As: Poor Man’s Ginseng, Codnopsis Root, Bonnet Bellflower
Organs/Systems: Immune, Digestive, Respiratory, Blood
Key Actions: Antioxidant, Anticancer, Antidiabetic, Adaptogenic, Antiviral, Anti-aging, Anti-inflammatory, Neuroprotective
Medicinal Uses: Stamina, HIV/AIDS, counter the effects of radiation treatment, heartburn, cough, asthma, tuberculosis, diarrhea, diabetes, anorexia, cancer, improves circulation, builds blood, brain function.
Pin Yin: Dang Shen
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Spleen, Heart, Pericardium
Key Actions: Tonifies Qi, Regulates Blood, Removes Blood Stasis, Cools Blood, Clears Heart Fire, Tonifies the Lungs, Tonifies the Spleen, Removes Abscesses, Calms Shen
Medicinal Uses: Irregular menses, painful cramps, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and postpartum pain due to blood stasis. It is also used for chest and heart pain, injuries, swelling, congestion, arthritis, palpitations, insomnia, fever, glaucoma, headaches, stiff shoulders and neck pain, restlessness, chronic fatigue, foggy brain, general weakness, anxiety, irritability, diabetes, boost immune function, coughs, tuberculosis, and anorexia. It helps to balance metabolism, lowers high blood pressure, aids digestion, supports lung function, lubricates the lungs and respiratory passageways, boosts immunity and stamina, and supports long life and lovely skin.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Codonopsis is a member of the Campanulaceae family. There are about 40 different species worldwide, and 21 are used medicinally. A perennial plant in the bellflower family with twining stems up to 2 meters long, with bilateral branches, alternately arranged leaves, and small branchlets. Solitary bell-shaped flowers occur at the branch tips that are yellow-green with purple spots inside. Roots are carrot-shaped or cylindrical. Native to Asia, it grows in forests, meadows, and scrub areas. Most especially grown in Sichuan, Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces.
Codonopsis likes woodland areas. It is native to East Asia.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Root, Rhizome
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Slightly Cold, Neutral
Caution: Codonopsis has very low toxicity. Traditionally, it is not recommended for use with Li Lu (Black False Hellebore, a highly poisonous plant). Very high doses of codonopsis have caused chest pain, throat pain, or dizziness in some people.
Key Constituents: Hesperidin, Atractylenolide III, Lobetyolin, Stigmasterol, Sterols, Sitosterol, Saponins, Inulin, Starch, Alkaloids. Codonopsine, Amino acids
History/Folklore: The best quality is said to be thick and purplish red. It is a key herb for gynecological conditions of all sorts. It is often used to restore vigor and stamina. It is considered an excellent anti-aging herb. It helps promote Qi and the production of Body Fluids. It is said this herb can Warm the Spleen without being too drying. It will also Tonify Stomach Yin without causing Pathogenic Dampness.
Codonopsis stimulates blood production by increasing both red and white blood cells, it also detoxes blood. Mixed with licorice (LINK) it is considered a major tonic for those tending toward anorexia.
Codonopsis seems to stimulate the central nervous system and is known for its neuroprotective properties.
Codonopsis is an excellent herb for children. It is mild, yet has powerful strengthening properties, especially on the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems. The Chinese have used it for thousands of years to build strong muscles in children. Its roots can easily be added to soups in the same way you would a carrot.
In China, it is considered similar to ginseng but less strong, less expensive, and not as long-lasting in its effects. Like ginseng (LINK) it is considered a major tonic herb. Ginseng is from the Araliaceae family, and codonopsis is from the Campanulaceae family. These two herbs can also be used together as they have different phytochemical profiles. Together they are mutually enhancing herbs. Codonopsis is considered better at reducing adrenaline, and therefore countering stress than ginseng. Ginseng is considered better for treating critical conditions associated with the Collapse of Kidney Yang, as it can Tonify Original Qi (aka Jing or Essence). Codonopsis Tonifies the Lungs and the Spleen, but does not enter the Kidneys.
Increases Milk Production
Nursing mothers use codonopsis to increase milk production and build strong blood.
Because of its blood-building and cleansing abilities codonopsis is said to help skin become elastic, smooth, and radiant.
Change of Season Soup
In China, codonopsis is one of the four ingredients of the famous and popular “Change of Season Soup.”
Take FULL advantage of Codonopsis Root (Dang Shen)!
Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.
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