Many people don’t realize the power plants can have when it comes to their health. Just look at Rehmannia root—it’s one of the 50 basic herbs that have been used in Oriental medicine for thousands of years.
And yet, many have no idea what this root is…and how it could potentially improve their health.
If you’re one of many people looking at alternative paths towards health, then keep reading. This article gives a brief introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the benefits of Rehmannia root.
What Is Rehmannia Root?
Rehmannia root, also known as Chinese Foxglove, is the name of several perennial flowers in the Lamiales family of plants native to Asian countries, including China, Korea, and Japan.
The Rehmannia parts above the ground are easy to recognize due to their unique yellow, red, or violet bell-shaped flowers. In Chinese, the brownish-black roots are also known as di huang (unprocessed root tuber) and sheng di huang (cured root tuber).
Its scientific name is Rehmannia glutinosa, which refers to the glutinous, sticky property of the root. You may see Rehmannia glutinosa benefits used instead of Rehmannia benefits when reading scientific research.
How Is Rehmannia Root Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on balancing Qi, the life source within your body, as opposed to Western medicine, which focuses on curing individual symptoms. When you start to feel ill, TCM would suggest your Qi is unbalanced due to opposing forces, yin and yang. When these forces are out of balance, various illnesses tend to develop.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Rehmannia root is believed to restore yin energy to restore balance to your body. A lack of yin energy is thought to cause problems like anemia, fevers, diabetes, and many other issues.*
So, TCM recommends using Rehmannia root as a tool for liver, kidney, and heart health by supporting healthy blood glucose levels, bowel movements, blood production, blood circulation, and menstrual cycles.*
It's also believed to help with the adrenal function of hormones and help support the body in various autonomic responses, such as muscle strength, joint formation, and cellular signaling.*
10 Benefits of Rehmannia Root
Here are just 10 of the known health benefits of Rehmannia root:
1. Helps Reduce Inflammation
Rehmannia root naturally contains nutrients like vitamins A, B, and C, amino acids, and rehmaglutin, which are known to possess potent joint and immune system-supporting properties.*
These naturally occurring nutrients may help support the body’s natural management of the depletion of glycogen supplies.*
According to a study published in 2019, Rehmannia root contains a compound known as geniposide, which is shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in rats.* There needs to be human trials to establish specific human benefits.
In 2017, a review of 30 scientific publications using Remannia showed the plant can help with various inflammatory conditions such as dermatitis, cognitive function, and immunity control.* The review does state that more research is needed to make a more definitive conclusion.
2. Stimulates Insulin Creation
Rehmannia root is one of TCM’s most recommended herbs for blood sugar regulation.* There are 30 antidiabetic formulas approved by the State Food and Drugs Administrator of China, and Rehmannia is in the top 10. The plant’s antidiabetic properties help the natural stimulation of insulin secretion and support healthy insulin sensitivity.*
A study done in 2016 induced a form of type 2 diabetes in rats (using streptozotocin and a high fat and sugar diet) to see how catalpol (which derives from Rehmannia root) could help. The study found that catalpol improved the structure of the pancreas, promoted weight loss, and enhanced antioxidative enzyme activity.*
The kidneys can be damaged significantly if the kidney’s filters are not functioningproperly, a condition known as glomerulonephritis. This can lead to swelling, high blood pressure, proteinuria, and hematuria (among many other symptoms).
Glomerulonephritis can occur suddenly or develop over time. Sometimes it occurs along with other conditions, and if this happens, you should promptly visit your healthcare provider.
In any case, Rehmannia root is believed to have potential benefits that can help support your urinary tract.* Traditionally, Rehmannia is believed to support urinary tract health by nourishing Yin, supplementing Qi, and enabling blood circulation to remove blood stasis.*
Scientifically, researchers report it might be an effective nutrient supplementation when combined with irbesartan and used alongside conventional medication.* This was reported in a 2014 study where participants who were given Rehmannia root showed progress by having lower levels of proteinuria (elevated protein in urine) after eight weeks of medical treatment.*
A 2015 study examined “Chinese herbal medicine for treating recurrent urinary tract infections in women.” They reviewed various studies using different herbs—including Rehmmania root—and found limited evidence that traditional Chinese herbal medicine could help in place of antibiotics.*
While Chinese herbs could provide effective treatment, more research is needed in this field of medicine.
4. Helps Improve Brain Function
Rehmannia root is believed to support healthy brain development and normal cognitive function.* It also reported that herbal nutrient supplementation could help patients or eldersreceive sufficient nutrition for healthy brain function.*
A 2019 study found the geniposide compound, which is found in the Rehmannia root, has protective benefits and antioxidant qualities known to support brain health.* It helps reduce the plaque in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s and offers protection from oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.*
A 2017 study focused specifically on how Rehmannia protects the brain. The study discovered that dried Rehmannia root has protective properties against glutamate-induced injuries in PC12 cells.* This is important because glutamate injuries can cause cellular damage, and the PC12 cells help release various chemicals that make your brain function.
5. Helps with Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak due to tissue loss resulting from calcium or vitamin D deficiency or hormonal changes. Rehmannia root contains bone health nutrients, which are attributed to its ability to support healthy kidney and liver function while helping blood circulation.*
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In a 2017 review, researchers analyzed 300 research papers and studied 107 clinical trials showing that Rehmannia root, combined with other herbs, can help with osteoporosis management. The researchers reported that “most of the clinical trials are characterized by [promising benefits] and no obvious adverse [side] effects.”*
However, more research is required to ascertain the bone-supporting properties of Rehmannia root supplementation.
6. Relieves Fatigue and Supports Endurance
One of the most popular uses of Rehmannia root is as a refreshing tonic. The energy properties of Rehmannia root were tested in mice in 2012, and researchers reported it might be beneficial in combating exhaustion and supporting endurance.*
According to a 2018 study, Rehmannia root has the potential to help the natural resistance of the problems caused by stressful conditions.* Rehmannia is considered an adaptogen, which helps the body deal with different biological stressors.*
However, further studies are required.
7. Helps Red Blood Cell Systems
Anemia is a medical condition where the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to body tissues. While there is no specific cure for anemia, it can be corrected and managed under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Rehmannia root is believed to help with blood circulation and, as such, may help deliver nutrition to the vital blood systems.*
In a 2012 study, Rehmannia root was used as part of an herbal decoction, where participants with red blood cell goals showed progress in achieving their goals.* Researchers reported that when used as supplementation with conventional medicine, the herbs plus Rhemannia had the potential to help with natural inflammation and bone marrow health.*
Rehmannia root was also reported to increase in serum erythropoietin concentration (blood levels) in rats in a 2014 study when combined with other supplements.*
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8. Supports Digestive Tract Function
Rehmannia root contains numerous compounds that assist natural healthy inflammation responses in the digestive tract and support the healthy growth of gut microbiota.*
A study done in 2022 found that Rhemnnia can improve microbiota in the intestines and protect from DSS-induced colitis.*
9. Supports Liver Function
Among all these benefits, Rehmannia root is also firmly believed to support liver function. Some of its nutritive compounds can help with capillaries and adrenal glands and support the operation of the liver.*
One study found that Rehmannia root helped in the recovery of damaged rat liver tissue and didn’t affect enzyme activity within the liver.
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10. Improves Metabolism
Rehmannia root potentially boosts metabolism and helps with weight loss.* In a 2015 weight management study, the supplementation of Rehmannia root in participants was measured. It was reported that some of the participants met their health goals after eight weeks of taking steamed Rehmannia root.*
Researchers speculated the mechanism of action was due to the Rehmannia root’s nutritional benefits with gut microflora.*
When You Shouldn’t Use Rehmannia
There are times when Rhemannia could cause harm. Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t ingest Rehmannia. You also have to be careful if you’re taking antidiabetic medications, as Rehmannia may lower blood sugar levels and poorly interact with medication.*
There have also been some reports of Rehmannia side effects—if you feel any of these symptoms after ingesting, stop taking it and talk to your doctor or a TCM practitioner:
- Heart palpitations
Support Your Health with Traditional Chinese Ingredients
Now you understand why Rehmannia root is such a powerful herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The many benefits of Rehmannia make it a popular choice of medicine for kidney function, the urinary tract system, and cardiovascular health.*
Since 1979, Solstice Medicine Company has been the premier distributor of authentic Traditional Chinese Medicine in the USA. With over 40 years of experience in sourcing products from proven Traditional Chinese manufacturers to make them available and accessible to the global market.