Cnidium Monnier is a Chinese herb that has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an herbal anti-itch lotion and remedy for a variety of skin ailments and as a reproductive aid and aphrodisiac that increases sexual desire in both men and women. Today, we are told that it assists the body in producing nitric oxide, which relaxes smooth muscles and works to encourage healthy sexual function, and it has been used to treat male sexual dysfunction. It also shows promise in the areas of osteoporosis, allergies and carcinoma research. it is also said to be ‘anti-aging’ and to ‘build up strength’, highly vague claims.
So how to use common cnidium extract for herbal remedy? Let’s take a few examples:
Cnidium and Relaxation: Osthole seems to have a mechanism similar (but much weaker!) to the mechanism of phenobarbitol. It also seems to negate certain effects of other chemicals such as caffeine. Scientifically, what Cnidium does is interact with certain brain receptors called GABA- A receptors. These effects are dependent on the dose of Cnidium that is ingested – at lower doses the effects on these receptors creates relaxation, but at higher doses the effects are full sedation.
Cnidium and Erectile Dysfunction: Cnidium aslo has compounds called coumarins which may be responsible for easier erections and a decrease in impotence. These compounds have been found to achieve this in some models. This may be the mechanism of action that this natural healing remedy is best know for.
Cnidium as an Antihistamine: Purified osthol and another compound in cnidium fruit called isopimpinellin seem to have an antipyretic effect similar to but not as strong as something like over the counter antihistamine medications. And it does not appear that the compound in Cnidium fruit that have this particular mechanism of action cause tiredness.
Cnidium to Prevent Organ Damage: Some compounds in Cnidium fruit have been found, at least in the lab, to have the potential to inhibit damage to certain organs including the liver. Of course anyone suspecting that they have current liver damage should see a doctor, and in no way are we suggesting that Cnidium can be used to prevent damage from toxic substances.
While many of these mechanisms are proven in the lab only – like many natural home remedies not a lot of scientific research has been done to date on Cnidium Fruit – it is good to know that there is some science behind this herbal remedy. This is not the case with all herbal remedies.
Cnidium has been reported to work by many who have tried it, and this anecdotal evidence appears to be backed by solid information about potential mechanisms of action. Taking this herbal remedy the right way – at the right dose and through the right method is still quite vital in triggering the correct mechanism of action.
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