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More and more manufacturers of dietary supplements and the like are looking to the ancient wisdom of the Far East to find new herbal sources of substances that can treat a range of illnesses often the illnesses associated with the Western diet and lifestyle. While ma huang (ephedra) is one that has garnered quite a bit of press attention and notoriety, other herbal extracts that have long been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) have also been making their presence felt. Rehmannia is one of these and its good for treating a wide range of symptoms.


The Rehmanniae (which is the correct plural of Rehmannia) are several varieties of flowering plant that is also called the Chinese foxglove. It will come as no surprise, then, to hear that it comes from China and has long played a role in traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese name for rehmannia is dihuang (no relative of mahuang, which is another Chinese medicinal herb that is often used in weight loss pills and other dietary supplements). The rehmannia genus has plants with quite large red trumpet-shaped flowers and they can be grown as ornamental plants as well as for use in sports nutrition and dietary supplements good for the soul as well as for the body.

However, it is the medicinal uses of rehmannia that are of greatest interest, and these uses (see below) have attracted attention lately by the manufacturers of nutritional aids and health supplements.

Uses of rehmannia

Rehmannia contains iridoid glycosides, which stimulate the adrenal glands slightly and release anti-inflammatories in the body. For this reason, rehmannia is used in supplement form for easing the pain of arthritis, especially in combination with licorice root. As it can ease inflammation, it can also be used to aid in joint and muscle recovery, although not many online stores will list rehmannia extract with their bodybuilding supplements (cant see why not, really, as it does help reduce the pain and inflammation of strains and tears). These properties also mean that rehmannia can have good effects when used as a treatment for asthma.

Rehmannia is also used in womens health supplements, as it can regulate the menstrual cycle and help women going through the climacteric (the menopause) produce more estrogen. This is one of the traditional uses of rehmannia.

Rehmannia is also a good source of iron and has been used to treat anaemia. Other blood conditions that rehmannia is good for include hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), high blood pressure and nosebleeds. According to traditional wisdom, rehmannia stimulates the production of blood and bodily fluids.

As part of the hormone-regulating effects produced by rehmannia, this herbal extract can be used to treat male sexual problems (male enhancers) in much the same way as yohimbe, although it is not a vasodilator.


The chief symptom that can result from exceeding the recommended dosage of rehmannia or otherwise misusing it is diarrhoea. According to some recommendations made by practitioners of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), rehmannia extracts (e.g. Honso USA Herbal's Prostate Kampo 135Tabs) should not be taken with prescription heart medications. Pregnant or nursing women should also not take rehmannia because of the effect rehmannia can have on estrogen levels.

As part of the detoxification produced by rehmannia, you may experience some dizziness and abdominal cramps as your body gets used to the extract and begins to purge out the toxins in your system. These symptoms are only mild and will go away with continued use.

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