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Cynomorium (suo yang)

What is cynomorium? What is it used for?

Cynomorium is a perennial plant found in southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region. The plant is dark red to purple in appearance, with stems that grow up to two feet in length. Cynomorium root is brick-red in color, and has a somewhat fleshy texture. The root is used for its healing properties.

In traditional Chinese medicine, cynomorium is considered a mild, yet powerful, jing herb. Its primary functions are to tonify the kidney, fortify yang, nourish the blood and strengthen the sinews.

Cynomorium is used to treat impotence in men, and infertility and lack of libido in women. In both genders, it is used for strengthening the back, legs and skeleton, and weakness of the tendons due to kidney yang deficiency.

How much cynomorium should I take?

Most practitioners recommend 10-15 grams of cynomorium root, usually encapsulated or ground into a powder.

What forms of cynomorium are available?

Whole dried slices of cynomorium are available at some Asian markets. Cynomorium is also available in extract, powder and capsule forms.

What can happen if I take too much cynomorium? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

There are no known drug interactions with cynomorium. However, because cynomorium tends to loosen the stools, it should not be taken by patients with chronic diarrhea. In addition, it should not be taken by patients with deficient liver and kidney, spleen deficiency, or yin deficiency heat patterns. As always, make sure to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking cynomorium or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Harborne JB, Saito N, Detoni CH. Anthocyanins of cephaelis, cynomorium, euterpe, lavatera and pinanga. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 1994;22: 835-836.
  • Leonard J. Observations on the genus cynomorium L. in Asia (cynomoriaceae). Bulletin Du Jardin Botanique National De Belgique 1986;56(3-4):301-304.
  • Pazy B, Plitmann U, Cohen O. Bimodal karyotype in cynomorium coccineum L. and its systematic implications. J. Linn. Soc. London 1996;120: 279-281.
  • Tu L, et al. Pathogenesis of spleen deficiency in myasthenia gravis. International Conference on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology 1987, China Academic Publishers, Shanghai.
  • Zhou X, Lixiao L. The clinical application of tonifying and benefiting the kidney essence in multiple sclerosis. Journal of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1985; 4: 65–66.
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