Cistanche tubulosa Tonics and Elixirs

Crafting Tonics and Elixirs with Cistanche tubulosa

Cistanche Tubulosa Tonics and Elixirs

Many of the popular tonic herbs (adaptogens and adaptogenic formulas) leave people feeling depleted. This is because they are stimulatory in nature and are not restorative.

While intense in the short run, over time, they further exacerbate an overstimulated, burnt out lifestyle, worsening the underlying conditions at play.

Cistanche works deeper, albeit slower, revealing stronger, sustainable, and more dramatic benefits. This is made extremely evident through its phytotheraptuic classifications within Chinese medicine, where Cistanche tubulosa is considered a Kidney and Jing Tonic, building and restoring the deeper wells of energy (Qi) within the body.

At RAW Forest Foods, we refer to Cistanche by its Latin botanical name: Cistanche tubulosa.

In Chinese medicine, Cistanche tubulosa is known as Rou Cong Rong. Cong Rong literally translates into English as "Unhurried," which speaks to Cistanche's tonic effects.

Today, many—and especially those that are suffering from chronic stimulation—would benefit from an approach which is "unhurried." Another popular name of Cistanche is "Desert Ginseng," speaking to its strong tonic and adaptogenic qualities and effects.

To learn more about the benefits of Cistanche, please see our Lost Desert Oasis Cistanche tubulosa product page.

The Home Herbalist: Cistanche Combination and Formulas

In Western herbalism, the approach to herbs tends in the direction of simples and blends.

Simples are single herbs taken in isolation to treat a specific condition. The herb being used is not simple—in that way it is a misleading terms—only that using them is relatively simple. A single herb.

Blends are combination of herbs with similar properties. A person may blend several immune stimulating herbs together with a more-is-bettter approach. Simples and blends are what is most commonly found through major herb companies in the West and at health food stores.

Within Chinese herbalism, the use of simples (single herbs) is rare, and formulas are used in place of blends.

Formulas differ from blends in that they are not combining several herbs of a similar action into one blend, but they are treating the complexity of the condition with herbs of different actions. For instance, a formula for strengthening immunity may only contain one herb that directly promotes the immune system, while also containing herbs to aid the body in expelling the illness and in treating the underlying conditions (such as Heat or Dampness) that make the person susceptible to sickness—and in need of the formula—in the first place.

The complexity in this approach can make it intimidating to concoct your own formulas at home. But don't be—there is a lot of fun and benefit to be had with this kind of experimentation. Cistanche lends itself particularly well to combinations and formulation, perhaps because it is already such a well balanced herb. Below, we will outline some easy home Cistanche combination and formulas and we will also provide you with some of the clinical and classic Cistanche tubulosa combinations and formulas.

Formula 1: Cistanche tubulosa with Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu) and Goji Berry

Cistanche Tubulosa Tonics and Elixirs


  • Cistanche tubulosa, 1 gram powdered extract;
  • He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum; Fo Ti Tieng, Chinese knotweed), 1 gram powdered extract;
  • Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum; Goji Berry, Wolfberry), 10 grams dried berries or 1 gram extract powder.


Combine powdered exacts and add to warm water, drinking as a tea. Or boil the whole herbs in water, reducing the liquid by 2/3rd, and drink within one day.


Invigorating the Kidney, strengthen Yang, replenish essence, and enrich blood.

Formula 2: Cistanche tubulosa and Goji Berry Wine

Making herbs wines used to be a popular method for extracting, preserving, and using medicinal herbs in China, but because of the added work they have largely fallen off the radar of herbalists. At RAW Forest Foods, we find them both beneficial and fun.


  • Cistanche tubulosa, 10 grams of powdered extract;
  • Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum; Goji Berry, Wolfberry), 50 grams of dried berried or 5 grams of powdered extract;
  • Wine, 17 ounces.


Add powdered extracts to the wine. If using whole herbs or berried, wash the herbs and put them into the wine. Soak for 1 month, filter or strain, drinking the wine in one to two ounce servings. Refrigerate. Unlike a tincture, the alcohol content of a medicinal wine may not be high enough to act as a preservative. 


Tonify Liver and Kidney, nourish Essence and Blood.

Formula 3: Honey Infused with Cistanche tubulosa


  • Cistanche, 1 gram of extract;
  • Honey, enough honey to combine well.


Add the powdered extract of Cistanche to the honey, combining it to make a past. Use a teaspoon at a time, after letting it sit for two weeks.


Relieve dry stool or constipation in the elderly.

Clinical and Classic Cistanche tubulosa Formulas

Cistanche Tubulosa Tonics and Elixirs

Formula 4: Rou Cong Rong Wan

The following formulas provided here as reference only, illustrating possible useful combinations as well as the long history of use of Cistanche in treating certain conditions. Which is to say, do your own research before trying them. Some of these advanced formulas, some with potentially dangerous ingredients, and we cannot speak for the efficacy or safety of them.


Approach the folowmulas as if making any herbal tea within Chinese medicine.

If using extract powders, simply combine equal parts in warm water and drink. If using whole herbs, again, combine equal parts at a ratio of 1 part herbs to 3 parts water. Simmer over low heat until reduced by one third. Drink. If making a larger amount, store extra liquid in the fridge for up to three days.

Recipe borrowed from the classical text Yi Xin Fang (Prescriptions from the Heart of Medicine).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • Tu Si Zi (Cuscuta chinensis; Cuscuta seeds);
  • Xu Duan (Dispsacus asperoides; Japanese Teasel Root);
  • Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides; Rubber Tree Bark).


Treats weakness and sickly men, impotence, and incomplete urination and dribbling.

Formula 5 — Jin Gang Wan

Recipe borrowed from the classical text  Zhang Shi Yi Tong (Comprehensive Medicine according to Master Zhang).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides; Rubber Tree Bark);
  • Ba Ji Tian (Morindae officinalis);
  • Zi He Che (Placenta Hominis).


Cures impotence caused by deficient kidney.

Formula 6 — Ren Chang Wan

Recipe borrowed from the classical text  Ji Sheng Fang (Life-saving prescriptions).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • Chen Xiang (Aquilaria sinensis; Aloeswood, Gharuwood);
  • Huo Ma Ren (Cannabis sativae; Hemp Seeds).


Relieve constipation caused by excessive sweating and loss of body fluid.

Formula 7 — Ji Chuan Jian

Recipe borrowed from the classical text  Jing Yue Quan Shu (Jingyue’s Complete Works).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • Dang Gui (Angelicae Sinensis; Dong Quai);
  • Huai Niu Xi (Achyranthis bidentatae);
  • Ze Xie (Rhizoma alismatis; Water Plantain Root).


To cure weakness of kidney qi, constipation, abundant clear urine, soreness of waist, and chill in back.

Formula 8 — Rou Cong Rong Wan

Recipe borrowed from the classical text  Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • Wine.


to treat asthenic diseases in lower energizer, abdominal pain, and no desire to eat or drink.

Formula 9 — Rou Cong Rong Wan

Recipe borrowed from the classical text  Tai Ping Sheng Hui Fang (Taiping Holy Prescriptions for Universal Relief).


  • Cistanche tubulosa;
  • She Chuang Zi (Cnidii Monnieni) (For topical use only);
  • Yuan Zhi (Polygalae Tenuifoliae, Polygala);
  • Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis);
  • Fu Zi (Aconiti carmichaeli).


To heal asthenic disease, warm lower jiao, benefit essence, and relieve back and knee pain.

Learn More

For more information about Cistanche tubulosa, including information of the scientific research that has been done on it, please visit our product page for Cistanche tubulosa.


The information provided throughout this website is strictly educational. This content is not intended as—and nor should it be misconstrued as—medical (or any other type of) diagnostic, recommendation, or advice.

Customers are advised to consult with their qualified healthcare practitioner before beginning any new medicinal herbs and nutritional supplements (from our company or elsewhere). We make this advice because we understand that plants have medicinal and therapeutic potential and because we understand the strength of our products.

Pregnant or nursing mothers, children under the age of 18, and individuals with a known medical condition should consult a physician before using any dietary supplement.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For more information, consult our full Terms and Conditions.

Jul 16, 2014 Ryan Wade

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