Feeds the Kidneys and Adrenals, Supports the Joints
One of the most used herbs in the Orient, Rehmannia has a distinct reputation for replenishing the vital force.
The plant is Rehmannia glutinosa. The glutinosa term describes the plants sticky or glutinous aspects. In English, it is called Rehmannia or Chinese Foxglove.
Rehmannia belongs to the family of plants, Orobanchaceae, that also includes the genus Cistanche belongs too. This family is parasitic to other plants. However, the genus rehmannia belongs to one of two genera that do not act parasitically.
Rehmannia has been used for centuries and is one of the main herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM picked it up from the Daoist, who have used it perhaps longer than writing even existed in China. It is in a great many formulas for its effects on reducing heat and it’s profound restorative powers to the kidneys.*
There are some different ways to consume the Rehmannia plant. Below explains the difference between the three Rehmannia’s used in TCM:
“…fresh rehmannia root (Xian Dihuang), with the effect of clearing away heat and promoting salivation, removing heat from the blood to stop bleeding; Rehmannia dried rhizome (Sheng Dihuang), with the effect of removing pathogenic heat from blood, nourishing Yin…and promoting the production of body fluids; and prepared rehmannia root (Shu Dihuang) with the effect of nourishing Yin and supplementing the blood and benefiting the marrow, etc.”
All three can treat diseases’ caused by a deficiency of Yin and Bodily Fluids because of their ability to nourish Yin and their blood building effects.*
Why Prepared and Not Fresh?
We choose to work with a prepared root extract because it is more supportive of the kidneys and adrenals, nourishing Yin Jing more than the fresh or dried root.*
Fresh and dried Rehmannia are very cold in nature which is perfect for things like fevers where the body is burning up. Our society is vastly out of balance in regards to relaxation and rest. Thus, many people can benefit more from the prepared Rehmannia which will help reverse the damage that has already been done. We believe this to be of paramount importance in our day and age.*
The preparation process involves cooking the dried root in black soybeans and sometimes also wine. The black soybean preparation method is the same as He Shou Wu preparation and combining both together work well to build up the bodies Yin Jing. Rehmannia has been traditionally prepared in a tonic wine to bring out more of its tonic properties.
Our Rehmannia is cooked down in black soybeans and white wine before being extracted.
In the Traditional Chinese Medicine model of the body, every system goes through cycles within cycles within cycles from the lowest physiological function to the entire being of a person. One of the more important cycles is how food and drink build our bodies.
Nutrients–>Blood—>Tissue–>Fats–>Bones–>Bone marrow–>Reproductive fluids
Typically, this cycle takes eight full days from food consumed to end. Rehmannia is special because it works at every single stage of this cycle at some level.*
Rehmannia has traditionally been used for:
- Re-building after giving birth*
- Those that have exhausted their reserves through living excessively*
- Stressed induced graying hair and hair loss, lower back pain, dry skin, cracked lips/nails*
- Weakness in the joints, weakness in the hips, knees, ankles, low back*
- Chronic exhaustion in generally*
- Building after sickness or injury*
All of these are symptoms of a saying we never wish to hear applied to us:
Burning the candle at both ends.
This phase implies that you are living life without enough rest for restoring even basic bodily functions fully. You are drawing down the balance sheet, so to speak, of the inheritance your parents and grandparents gave you. If you are always a go-go-go, then when can you repair the accumulating damage of a stressful life?
This is where Rehmannia can help you. Preventing (and possibly reversing) the adrenal cortex from accumulating more damage helps to deal with the stress caused by this lifestyle.*
We can envision this comes through the Yin/Yang theory of Chinese Medicine. The actions of pushing ourselves all day, every day is very Drying in nature. If you have ever drunk too much coffee, you know the weird speedy, sticky feeling you can get from overstimulation. Water that drys out gets thicker and more viscous. Now imagine this taking place in the body where all chemical reactions happen in a liquid environment and you can see why pushing yourself daily can literally burn you out, causing innumerable health problems
Rehmannia is a very moist herb as Yin herbs tend to be. Its consumption will directly counter this drying lifestyle. The body will be able to conduct its many processes in an unhindered manner again.
Of course, if you are already moist in nature, this herb is probably not something you should be on.
Rehmannia has a long history of being used to tonify the Kidneys. This meridian contains both the western conception of the kidneys, as well as the adrenals. In Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys are considered the foundation of health.
The examples stated above are often symptoms of a weak kidney system. Chinese Foxtail would often be one of the herbs used to treat it. Now modern science is beginning to see why it’s been utilized for this purpose for thousands of years.*
A commonly cited study gave aqueous rehmannia extract to rats who had a 5/6 nephrectomy. This is a surgery which removed 5/6th of their kidneys (and possibly adrenals). Though this sounds pretty bad, this is common practice to simulate renal failure for a study on mice and rats. (1)
They concluded that the extract had potent renal-protective effects for the remaining kidney tissue. (1)
Rehmannia has a long history of being used to tonify the kidneys.
Bone Marrow and Blood Building
What makes Rehmannia the ultimate blood building herb has a lot to do with its hematopoiesis effects (blood cell creation in bone marrow). But it doesn’t stop there; it also has significant vascular building effects.*
One study done on rats using rehmannia root extract found that it, “…increased EPC number, proliferation, migration and tube-formation capacity.” EPC stands for Endothelial Progenitor Cell, which eventually divides into cells that make up the blood vessels. Not only did it create a healthier vascular system but they found that it also improved ventricular heart function. (2)
Rehmannia has traditionally been utilized for these issues as well:
- Blood Deficiency*
- Overactive Immunity*
- Strengthens Reproductive Capacity*
- Bone Marrow Creation*
Rehmannia has so far been found to contain 70 monomeric compounds. Iridoids have been found to be the most active of the monomers, and over 33 of them are classified as such. Other plant herbs share these compounds like Harpagophytum procumbens, commonly called Devil’s Claw, and can be used for some of the same purposes. (3)
In Rehmannia, the most active iridoid seems to be one called catalpol.
Catalpol has neuroprotective benefits to neurons, especially those involving dopamine. Some people stop producing enough dopamine or lose dopamine receptor sensitivity. These can lead to addictive behaviors. Rehmannia could offer protection to those channels from further deteriorating. (4)(5)
It should be noted that catalpol content decreases from drying and processing the root (6).
As stated, Rehmannia contains a lot of active ingredients which is another reason a full-spectrum extract is more ideal then an isolated version.
Our Rehmannia is a water extract of 10:1.
It is moderately sweet in taste so taking it straight is no problem. It can also easily be mixed with water, juice, or blended in a shake.
Each bag contains 100 grams of Prepared Rehmannia Root Extract (a little over 3.5 ounces).
Recommended dosage: 3 to 9 grams or 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp daily. Taking after a workout to balance out is a nice time to consume it.
Rehmannia is considered a moist herb. In fact, it is so moist, people can have problems digesting it. Gastrointestinal disturbance such as loose stools or bloating can result. Combine with other herbs like astragalus, ginger, or cayenne to build that digestive fire and help avoid digestive issues if any crop up.
There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Rehmannia if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. We recommend avoiding for now.
Rehmannia can decrease blood sugar levels so anyone taking anti-diabetic medications should monitor their blood sugar carefully. The medication dose may have to change.