English: Cynomorium stems

Chinese: 锁阳

Parts used: Stems

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Cynomoerium songaricum

Other names: Songaria Cynomorium

Use of Suo Yang (cynomorium stems) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Collects and dries the stems

Dosage: 6-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang. Nourishes the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Suo Yang may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Impotence Frequent urination Premature ejaculation Spermatorrhea Weak ligaments Paralysis Constipation

Contraindications*: Not for patients with symptoms of Kidney Yin Deficiency or diarrhea.

Key TCM concepts behind Suo Yang's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Suo Yang belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore Suo Yang is Warm in nature. This means that Suo Yang tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Suo Yang can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Suo Yang also tastes Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like Suo Yang tends to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Suo Yang is thought to target the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Liver. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.