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Codonopsis pilosula - Dang Shen

Just had to post about this wee beauty of a plant. This is the Chinese herb Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen in China) used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is one of the many Chinese and Asian plants we grow to process into medicine for use in clinic. We use the root of this plant which is harvested after 3-4 years growth.. so one that require a little patience :) It is a climber and likes shelter and a little shade. As we live in a windy spot we grow it in one of our polytunnels. It grows easily here and is one of those plants that you may even find growing as an ornamental in your neighbours garden!

I use Codonopsis in clinic mixed with other herbs to bring balance and revive the whole system. It is thought of as a Spleen Qi tonic and blood nourisher. Some of the symptoms that I come across in clinic that indicate using Codonopsis are general fatigue, tired limbs, lack of appetite, loose stools, pale stools, headaches, stress and irritability. Other symptoms may include any sort of signs of prolapse, ie. uterine or rectal. This herb has also been shown to reduce blood pressure but may not be one I would consider first in a high blood pressure herbal mix. In Traditional Chinese Medicine Dang Shen is also considered a Lung Qi tonic - supporting and strengthening the lungs and useful for shortness of breath and cough.

This herb is probably most known to people for its ability to boost energy. As herbalists we tend to consider Codonopsis where herbs like Ginseng (Panex), called Ren Shen in TCM could be too strong and stimulating for some people. Codonopsis (Dang Shen) has a gentler tonifying effect on the adrenals.

As beautiful as this delicate plant is we look forward to harvesting our Codonopsis root for tincturing

About Ivywood

Herbalists Ross Hennessy and Marina Kesso have moved their businesses and family to a new piece of land in Co Clare. They are busy creating new spaces on the land to reestablish their clinical practice and medicinal herb nursery. Formerly Bareroot Botanicals and Iona Herbal they have now renamed the woodland and business Ivywood.