What is Rehmannia Glutinosa?
Rehmannia glutinosa is an herb that grows wild in northern parts of China. Also commonly referred to as Chinese foxglove, the herb plays an important role in traditional Chinese medicine.
There is evidence that the plant has been used medicinally for at least 2,000 years and it is still commonly used today. Chinese practitioners focus on balancing the body’s yin and yang considered to be the body’s two opposing forces. Rehmannia glutinosa is prescribed to treat a variety of conditions caused by a yin deficiency.
Conditions treated with the herb include anemia, diabetes, cancer, fever, constipation, bacterial infections, fungal infections, rheumatism, arthritis, pain, high blood pressure and eczema.Scientific evidence to support these uses is extremely scant, however the herb has a very long history of use which should not be disregarded.
Rehmannia glutinosa is a smallish perennial herb which grows to a height of around one foot or 0.3 meters. Its flowers, which are purely decorative and not used to make medicine, appear from April to late June. The plant is hermaphrodite and gets pollinated by certain insects.
The plant prefers moist soil and can either grow in areas with no shade or semi-shaded woodland areas.
The leaves of the plant are used to make topical treatments for the skin. The herb is especially useful for dry and itchy skin and is used to treat common inflammatory conditions like eczema.
The majority of the therapeutic compounds are found in the plant’s root. The root is used either fresh or dried and is also used to make herbal supplements.
If you would like to find out more about this ancient Chinese remedy and learn exactly what it can do for your health, please read on.
- Rehmannia glutinosa is also known int eh west as Chinese foxglove. In Chinese medicine, it is referred to as Sheng Di huang and sometimes sold under the name – gān dì huáng.
- It is one of the most popular herbal tonics in China.
- The herb is regarded as one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Like many herbal remedies used in Chinese medicine, rehmannia glutinosa is often combined with a number of other tradition herbs.
- The plant was named after a Russian physician called Joseph Rehmann.
- The leaves are often used to make topical remedies for the skin. The roots are used to make medicine to treat a wide range of internal conditions.
Health Benefits of Rehmannia Glutinosa
As we have already mentioned, the roots and leaves are used to make medicine but the roots contain the bulk of the medicinal compounds. Studies have found that the roots contain glycosides, iridoids, cyclopentanoid monoterpenes, phenthyl alcohol and norcarotenoids. These compounds give give rehmannia glutinosa a number of potential uses which we will take a closer look at now.
For Healthy Bones
Rehmannia glutinosa has long been used as a folk remedy for rheumatism and osteoarthritis. A recent study suggests that the herb may be a useful for bone health and to protect against bone loss
The study published in 2013 set out to examine whether an extract made from the dried rehmannia root could prevent bone loss in a group of aging rats with osteoporosis. The rats were separated into several groups and given the extract at different doses.
The researchers found that the rats given the highest dose of the extract for eight weeks experienced significantly less bone loss than the other animals. Furthermore estrogen levels were not affected. (1)
The researchers concluded that dried rehmannia glutinosa root extract could protect against bone loss without adversely affecting hormones like estrogen. The herb may represent a useful treatment for people with osteoporosis in the future but more testing on humans is necessary.
Rehmannia root has excellent antioxidant properties that can help protect the body from oxidative stress. According to research, the herb may be useful in supporting cognitive health and function and may help protect against cognitive disease in older people.
One study published in 2013 found that a chemical present in rehmannia may help protect the brain’s health. The study found that the compound called catalpol may help prevent the cell death resulting from neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
A General Tonic for Your Health
Rehmannia glutinosa has a wide range of specific uses but is also used in Chinese medicine as a general tonic for overall health and well-being. The herb has various antioxidant compounds that can boost general health, protect against disease and slow down the inevitable aging process.
Rehmannia also contains iridoid glycosides. These bioactove compounds have a wide variety of positive health effects and have been widely studied for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system is key to good health and to keep your body in the best shape for fighting off illnesses and infection.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, rehmannia glutinosa can help boost the immune system meaning you are less likely to experience illness and will be healthier overall.
Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Rehmannia glutinosa has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to treat various complications arising from diabetes and several studies have set out to examine the efficacy of these uses.
According to another study done on diabetic rats, remannia glutinosa may help control and balance blood sugar levels. The study found that rats fed with a rehmannia water extract experienced improvements in glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. (3)
Another study looked at the effects of the herb on complications related to diabetes. The researchers found that the herb had excellent anti-inflammatory actions and suggested it could be used to treat complications related to diabetes. (4)
Rehmannia glutinosa has also been used traditionally to treat the various symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. According to traditional use, the herb can help relieve many of the symptoms linked to menstruation including pain and fatigue.
As well as its internal uses, Rhemannia glutinosa is often applied topically to deal with dry and itchy skin and common inflammatory conditions like eczema. According to research, the herb has excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make it an ideal treatment for various skin disorders
Frequently Asked Questions
What is rehmannia glutinosa good for?
Rehmannia glutinosa is a perennial herb also known as Chinese foxglove. It has a number of therapeutic actions including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antmicrobial propeerties. It is widely used as an overall tonic in traditional Chinese medicine and to treat a wide range of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, liver diabetes and skin ailments.
Is rehmannia good for the skin?
Rehmannia leaves are often used to make topical treatments to treat the skin and it is especially used to treat dry, irritated sin. The plant’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help boost the skin’s overall health and also ease itching and irritation caused by inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Precautions and Potential Side Effects
Like most herbal remedies, you need to exercise caution before using rehmannia glutinosa. Although side effects are uncommon, there are some precautions you need to be aware of.
- Reported side effects include nausea, headaches, gas, diarrhea, dizziness, palpitations, allergies, fatigue and vertigo.
- Rehmannia is not recommended for people with liver disease or pre-existing immune conditions.
- There is no safety data regarding the effects of the herb on pregnant women or breastfed infants. If you are ether a pregnant woman or a nursing mom, please err on the side of caution and avoid using the herb.
- Young children should not use rehmannia glutinosa.Chinese products have been contaminated with other substances so make sure you buy any supplements from a reputed source.
Rehmannia glutinosa is available in supplementary forms online and in certain health food stores. There is no recommended dosage instruction but the supplements usually contain between 50 and 350 milligrams of the herb.
Rehmannia glutinosa is a popular herb in Chinese medicine where it is used to treat a wide variety of ailments. The system of Chinese medicine is largely based on beliefs that we in the West often regard as unscientific.
Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on the body’s energy flow and maintaining harmony between opposing forces. Despite the fact that the herb is held in high esteem in China, we still lack concrete scientific evidence of its efficacy for most illnesses.
Having said that, in vitro and animal studies done so far have proven positive and the lack of hard evidence is down to a lack of research and does not mean the herb is not highly effective.
Another point to make is that many traditional Chinese remedies use a combination of various herbs to make medicine. Pills, powders, capsules and teas often include a number of different herbs. This makes it very difficult to decide whether a specific herb is beneficial in its own right or if the results are due to the combination of herbs.
Have you ever used rehmannia glutinosa? Please let us know what you used the herb for and what you thought of its effects. We would be delighted to hear from you.