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In traditional Chinese medicine (MTC), rehmannia is one of the 50 best fundamental herbs used for the natural treatment of various health problems. It is usually an option of choice for conditions that are believed to be the result of a yin deficiency. In TCM, it is believed that an optimal state of health comes from an adequate balance of the yin (negative, dark and feminine) and yang (positive, bright and masculine) energies in the body. Both traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese medicine consider rehmannia to be a “general tonic,” which means it can help a wide variety of symptoms and health problems. It is commonly combined with other herbs in traditional herbal medicine practices. What is rehmannia specifically used to treat? Conditions include anemia, diabetes, fever, osteoporosis and allergies.

What is Rehmannia?

There are hundreds of herbs that are commonly used both in traditional Chinese medicine and in traditional Japanese medicine, such as dong quai, ginseng, cinnamon bark, ginger, astragalus and this lesser-known herb called rehmannia. Rehmannia is a type of perennial flowering plant that occurs in six species: Rehmannia chingii, Rehmannia elata, Rehmannia glutinosa, Rehmannia henryi, Rehmannia piasezki and Rehmannia solanifolia, all belonging to the Orobanchaceae family. Rehmannia glutinosa is the most common variety used in TCM. The leaves of the plant are mainly at ground level and their flowers can vary from yellow to burgundy. Both the rehmannia root and the parts on the ground are used to create the medicine. Other names for rehmannia include the Chinese foxglove, the Chinese rehixniae Radix, the Chinese RR, Di Huang, Gun-Ji-Whang, the Japanese Rehmanniae Radix, Shu Di Huang, Sook-Ji-Whang and To-Byun. The use of the name of the herb may vary depending on whether it is fresh, dried or cooked. Why is it possible that rehmannia can have positive effects on health? It is believed that the chemical components of the plant help lower blood sugar, reduce pain, decrease swelling and positively impact the immune system. According to the research, the least 12 chemical substances have been isolated from the root of the plant rehmannia, including the tyrosol acteoside, the leucosceptosido A, martinesido, the isomartinosido, the purpureasida C, the jionósido A1 and jionósido B1. Meanwhile, there are at least six chemical components of the aerial or aerial parts, such as aegetic acid, corchorifattty B acid, and pinelic acid.

According to the MTC, the properties of Chinese foxglove are sweet, bitter and cold, and it has the ability to affect the meridians of the heart, liver, stomach and kidneys. Its main actions include nourishing yin, eliminating heat from the blood and stop bleeding. It is also commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for adrenal problems. When looking at this herb online, you can find Rehmannia 8, which is a supplement that is a special proprietary blend of rehmannia and seven additional herbs. It is said to be based on a popular traditional formula called Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan.

4 Benefits and Potential Uses of Rehmannia:

Medical experts sometimes question the benefits of Rehmannia, since research has been done primarily with animals and / or rehmannia is often used in combination with other herbs, but let’s analyze what some of the most recent studies say about this Interesting herbal remedy.

1. Anti-diabetes:

A study published in 2018 analyzed the potential effects of the decrease in blood sugar in Catalpol, which is a natural product isolated from the root of Rehmannia glutinosa. In vivo and in vitro research with animal subjects induced with type 2 diabetes found that the rehmannia product could improve liver insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, specifically by acting on the AMPK / NOX4 / PI3K / AKT pathway. Another animal study published in the peer-reviewed Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy magazine evaluated the impact of aqueous extracts of Yangkyuksanhwa-tang (YKSHT) and one of its main components, Rehmannia glutinosa (RG), on  type 2 diabetes. In Korean medicine, Yangkyuksanhwa-tang is often prescribed for this form of diabetes. The researchers found that the subject mice treated with RG or YKSHT showed a decrease in blood glucose levels. In addition, both extracts appear to reduce grehlin (also known as the “hunger hormone”) and have “weight control effects.”

2. Neuroprotector:

Catalpol, an iridoid glycoside isolated from the root of Rehmannia glutinosa, is known to have a positive effect on neurodegeneration, which plays an important role in chronic health problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurodegenerative disorders such as these are marked by a loss of neurons in the brain and / or spinal cord. One study notes the neuroprotective activities of catalpol, which include its useful effects on calcium concentration, protein expression and signaling pathways in the brain, which results in a reduced loss of neurons.

3. Possible Osteoporosis Assistant:

In traditional Chinese medicine, rehmannia’s antiosteoporotic effects are said to be the result of the herb’s ability to regulate renal and hepatic function while increasing blood circulation. A scientific review includes the traditional Chinese medicinal uses, phytochemistry, pharmacokinetics and pharmacology of rehmannia in relation to osteoporosis, a disease that causes a decrease in bone density and quality. For this recent scientific review, more than 300 research articles and reviews were analyzed. The review found 107 clinical trials that used rehmannia along with additional herbs to treat postmenopausal, senile and secondary osteoporosis. According to the review, “most clinical trials are characterized by high efficacy and have no obvious adverse effects. However, the efficacy of these clinical trials is limited due to the small sample size of the patient, the short duration of treatment and the poor clinical design. In addition, the herbs of traditional Chinese medicine in the clinical study are not clear due to the lack of standardization and authentication. ” In general, the review concludes: “Well-designed and well-controlled prospective studies are still needed to further demonstrate bone protection actions and the safe use of this herb and its ingredients.”

4. Help Atopic Dermatitis:

In traditional Chinese medicine, rehmannia is sometimes used to treat allergy-related problems. An animal study evaluated the effects of the herb on atopic dermatitis, an itchy skin inflammation. This skin condition can often be caused by an allergic reaction. For this study, researchers applied topically an extract of the herb for atopic dermatitis induced by mite allergens in mice subjects. What did the researchers find? The herbal extract was able to inhibit the development of atopic dermatistis in animals, by suppressing the expression of cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules. The herb has also been studied for use in canine atopic dermatitis along with white peony (Paeonia lactiflora ) and  licorice ( Glycyrrhiza glabra ). Researchers at the University of Minnesota studied 50 atopic dogs in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Dogs treated with the herbal mixture saw a 37.5 percent improvement compared to a 13 percent improvement in the placebo group. However, this was not considered a statistically significant difference.

History and Interesting Facts:

The plant is endemic to the countries of Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. It was brought from Asia to the western world in the 18th century. In the United States and Europe today, it is sometimes grown as an ornamental garden plant. The name of the “glutinous” species comes from glutinous and is a reference to the sticky nature of the plant’s root. In China, its name means “great yellow” or “yellow earth.”

“Rehmanniae Radix is ​​the root tuber of Rehmannia glutinosa  and is said to be one of the most common ingredients in the many formulas of Chinese herbal medicines recommended for memory impairment related to aging”.

Precautions with Rehmannia:

Rehmannia can lower blood sugar and, therefore, interact with antidiabetic medications. Since taking it can affect blood sugar levels, people with diabetes are generally recommended to avoid or be very careful while taking this herb, and people who will undergo surgery should stop taking it at least two weeks before or before, according to the doctor’s recommendations. It is not recommended for children, pregnant women or women who breastfeed. The herb is also not recommended for people with chronic liver disease or a gastrointestinal disease. When it comes to TCM, it is key to research and visit a professional who is well trained and certified. All Chinese herbal remedies, such as rehmannia, should be taken under professional supervision. There is currently no recommended safe dose established for this herb, so talk to your healthcare provider about the dose that is right for your needs. Many supplements based on this herb contain between 55 and 350 milligrams of the herb. I also want to point out that Chinese herbal products manufactured outside the USA. UU. They may be mislabeled, contain dangerous additives and sometimes have small amounts of dangerous heavy metals. Look for high quality pure products made from reliable and certified retailers, or work directly with a herbalist.

According to TCM, this herb is generally contraindicated if you have diarrhea or bloating due to spleen deficiency. The side effects of this herb that have been reported include gastrointestinal discomfort (mild nausea, loose bowels, flatulence), allergy, headache, dizziness, palpitations, fatigue and vertigo.

Final Thoughts on the Rehmannia:

  • It is a flowering plant that comes in six varieties. It is the most used for health purposes.
  • Both the root and the parts on the ground are used to create the medicine.
  • The herb is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, Japanese medicine and Korean medicine.
  • Research has been carried out mainly with animals or in combination with other herbs, but studies point to possible benefits for diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, bone diseases such as osteoporosis and allergy-induced atopic dermatitis.



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