Enhancement of Kidney Invigorating Function in Mouse Model by Cistanches Herba Dried Rapidly at a Medium High Temperature

J Med Food. 2019 Dec;22(12):1246-1253. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2018.4354.


Cistanches Herba is a popular Traditional Chinese Medicine and functional food that is used to treat kidney yang deficiency (KYD) in China. In this study, we investigated the effects of different drying methods for Cistanches Herba on kidney invigoration and yang strengthening. We established a mouse model of KYD by intraperitoneal injection of hydrocortisone for 8 days. We dried slices of Cistanches Herba in the sun, in the shade, in a microwave, or in an oven at 40°C, 60°C, 80°C or 100°C, then prepared and administered extracts to the mice by gastric gavage. We measured and evaluated the echinacoside (ECH) and acteoside (ACT) contents of the extracts, as well as the mice's body weight; testicular, epididymal, hepatic, and renal coefficients; and semen quality. All the Cistanches Herba extracts, obtained using different drying techniques, improved symptoms of KYD diagnosis in mice. Among them, treatments with Cistanches Herba dried in a microwave and dried in an oven at 100°C had the best therapeutic effects. Our results suggested that the higher the total content of ECH and ACT in Cistanches Herba extracts, the better the effects of kidney invigoration and yang strengthening. In addition, shorter drying times at higher temperatures lead to the highest recoveries of active components, and Cistanche dried in the sun at a medium-high temperature can improve sperm quality in mice.

Keywords: Cistanches Herba; drying method; kidney invigorating function; kidney yang deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China
  • Cistanche / chemistry*
  • Desiccation / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Functional Food
  • Glycosides
  • Hydrocortisone / adverse effects
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mice
  • Temperature*
  • Yang Deficiency / chemically induced
  • Yang Deficiency / drug therapy*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Glycosides
  • echinacoside
  • Hydrocortisone