Rehmannia

Jeannie Randall
Ganges Primrose/Rehmannia; © Oilchai | Dreamstime.com

Rehmannia is an herbal plant that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Another common name for this herb is Shu Di Huang or Chinese foxglove. The plant is endemic to Japan, Korea, and China. It was brought to the west sometime in the 18th century and is used mostly as an ornamental plant in Europe and the United States. The plant has flowering blooms ranging in color from yellow to burgundy. The entire plant, including the root is used for medicinal reasons.

Uses

As Chinese Traditional Medicine has gained popularity in the West, medical research on potential benefits have shown great promise for certain herbs and their therapeutic effects. Rehmannia has shown to be beneficial for many physical conditions including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Wound Healing
  • Liver Function
  • Anemia
  • Allergies

Osteoporosis

A study published in the May, 2013 edition of Molecules discussed rehmannia's impact on bone loss prevention in laboratory rats. The researchers' findings show a group of rats that were fed an extract of dried rehmannia for a two month period showed significant decrease in bone marrow density loss with no corresponding change in hormonal levels when compared to a control group, which did not receive the extract. The researchers conclude rehmannia may play an effective role in the prevention of bone density loss and osteoporosis prevention.

Wound Healing

Researchers looked at the effect of rehmannia in regards to wound healing in diabetic patients. During the study, patients consumed an herbal supplement of rehmannia for six weeks. The researchers discovered the rehmannia herbal concentrate has an impact on molecular pathways and promotes formation of new blood vessels, which significantly improved wound healing. The researchers conclude rehmannia has a significant impact on wound healing and sensory perception due to its biochemical effects on the body.

Liver Function

The American Journal of Chinese Medicine published a study investigating the effects of rehmannia on liver function. Laboratory rats were given a rehmannia extract for eight weeks, while concurrently being injected with components known to cause liver damage. The rats supplied with rehmannia extract exhibited significantly less cell and liver damage than rats that were not treated with the rehmannia extract. The researchers conclude rehmannia may have significant impact on prevention of liver damage.

Anemia

The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology published a study showing the positive effects rehmannia has on anemia. In the study, laboratory rats were infected with a compound known to cause break down of red blood cells and resulting anemia. After infection, one group of rats was supplied an herbal extract rich with rehmannia. This group of rats demonstrated increase in red blood cell production compared to a group that did not receive the herbal extract. The researchers conclude that the herbal extract has a significant effect on red blood cell production and may be an effective treatment for anemia.

Allergies

Total Health Magazine published an article in its June, 1992 issue discussing best herbal remedies to treat allergies. The author describes rehmannia's effect on supporting the function of the adrenals and how this helps the body combat an allergic response. The author concludes rehmannia is a good natural remedy to help prevent hay fever, or allergies.

Side Effects

According to WebMD, there is not enough research to determine the safety of rehmannia consumption. As rehmannia has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, anecdotal evidence would suggest a low risk of negative side effects when taken in recommended dosages. Due to a lack of research, WebMD discourages the use of rehmannia for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Also, due to the effects on blood sugar levels, diabetics should be cautious about taking rehmannia.

Dosage and Where to Buy

A recommended daily intake of rehmannia has not been established. Most manufacturers will provide recommendations with their product, however.

  • Starwest Botanicals offers four ounces of organic rehmannia root for about $11. The manufacturer does not provide dosage suggestions with this product.

  • VitaDocs offers an herbal supplement featuring rehmannia in combination with other herbs in tablet form. A bottle of 75 tablets costs about $9. The manufacturers recommend taking one tablet three times a day between meals.

  • iHerb offers a one-ounce liquid extract of rehmannia root for about $9. The manufacturers recommend using 30 to 40 drops mixed with water, two to three times a day.

Consult Your Primary Care Provider

As with any herbal supplement, it is best to consult with a primary care provider before beginning use. Make sure you discuss any other medications or supplements, as well as any underlying health concerns. When used as directed, Rehmannia may offer some positive therapeutic benefits.

Rehmannia