Desert-Living Cistanche

Source Dessert Living Cistanche is the dried fleshy stem ofCistanche deserticoja Y.C. Ma, (Fam. Orobanchaceae.)

Producing Areas Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, etc.

Properties Sweet, Salty, Warm

Channels Kidney, Large Intestines


  • Invigorates the kidney and supplements essence
    For deficiency of kidney- yang and insufficiency of essence and blood manifested as impotence, emission, premature ejaculation, sterility, flaccidity of extremities and cold pain of the waist and knees.
  • Moisturises the intestine and relaxes bowels
    For constipation due to dryness of the intestine in the aged, and the diseased, and the puerperant with deficiency of blood and consumption of body fluid.

Usage and Dosage
6 – 13g is used in decoction for oral use, or in pills, or up to 30g single herb in decoction.

  • Crude Roucongrong: For moistening the intestine, relaxing bowels.
  • Roucongrong soaked in spirit: For warming the spleen to replenish yang, strengthening the tendon and bones.

Contraindicated in patient with hyperactive fire due to deficiency of yin, emission; use with caution for those with loose stools due to deficiency of stomach.

It is cylinder-shaped, slightly curved and gradually tapering towards the top, 3 – 15cm long, 2 – 8cm in diameter. The surface is brown or grey brown, covered by corrugated diamond or triangle shape fleshy scales. It is heavy and tough. The broken surface is brown with pale brown fibre tube clusters arranged into an undulant circle pattern. It is light in nature. The flavour is sweet and slightly bitter.

Yancongrong is black brown in colour, salty, sweet and slightly bitter with salt crystals on the broken surface.

Keep in a well-ventilated and dry place. Protect it from mould and moths.

Description of Quality Herb
Good Roucongrong is big and thick in size, brown in colour, sweet, soft and moist, covered by dense scales.

Professional Advice
The common fake is the dry fleshy stem ofCynomorium songaricum Rupr. Its flavour is sweet and astringent.

Mutton and Cistanche Congee

Reinforces the kidneys, builds the spleen and the stomach and acts as a laxative. It is recommended for those who have deficiency in the kidneys.

Cistanche 15g, fresh mutton 100g, japonica rice 100g, salt to taste, white onions 2, fresh ginger 3 pieces.


  1. Rinse the cistanche and the mutton and slice finely.
  2. Pan-fry the cistanche with water to obtain the essence and remove the dregs. Add the mutton and japonica rice.
  3. When the mixture has boiled, add the salt, ginger and onions.

Beef Stew with Cistanche

Revitalises the kidneys, lowers cholesterol and promotes longevity. It is recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure, premature ageing caused by deficiency in essence, cold aches in the loins, blurred vision, tinnitus, bedwetting, infertility and constipation.

Beef 60g, cistanche 30g, dodder seed 15g, fresh ginger 2 pieces.


  1. Wash and slice the beef. Blanch to remove the odour. Soak the cistanche and slice. Rinse the other herbs.
  2. Place all ingredients in a stewpot, cover and stew over a low fire for 2-3 hours. Season and serve.