In Chinese herbal medicine, codonopsis is considered to tone the qui, lungs, and spleen. It improves vitality and helps to balance metabolic function. It is a gentle tonic remedy that helps to revive the system as a whole. Codonopsis is taken in particular for tired limbs, general fatigue, and for digestive problems such as appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Botanical Name

Codonopsis pilosula

Part Used


Common Names

Dang Shen

Brief History

Codonopsis has a central place in Chinese herbal medicine as a gentle tonic that increase energy levels and helps the body adapt to stress for both sexes. Research has confirmed this use. Codonopsis is thought to be similar in action to ginseng, but it is milder and has a shorter-lasting effect. It is given to those who find ginseng too strong a tonic and is used interchangeably with ginseng in Chinese herbal formulas.


triterpenoid saponins, sterins, alkaloid (perlolyrin), alkenyl & alkenyl glycosides, polysaccharides, tangshenoside I

Therapeutic Properties

adaptogenic, stimulant, chi tonic, demulcent, expectorant

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Warm

Moisture: Neutral

Therapeutic Indications

Fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath associated with chronic cough or palpitation. Coronary heart disease. Improving red blood cell production and haemoglobin concentration. Adjuvant therapy for cancer

Primary Uses

Blood and Stamina

Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that codonopsis increases haemoglobin and red blood cell levels, and lowers blood pressure.

Other research has confirmed the ability of codonopsis to help increase endurance to stress and to maintain alertness. Codonopsis is reputedly more successful in reducing levels of adrenaline, and therefore stress, than ginseng.

Fatigue, Milk Production.

Codonopsis is taken in particular for tired limbs, general fatigue, and for digestive problems such as appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

The herb is taken regularly by nursing mothers in China to increase milk production and as a tonic to build strong blood.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Herb: 3,000 – 6,000mg

• Herbal tea: 1/2 cup twice daily

Buy Codonopsis capsules at Herbosophy
Dried Codonopsis Root


None known

Side effects

None known

Interactions with other drugs

None known


  1. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: Herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Chevallier, A. (2000) Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.

  3. Herbalpedia (2013)

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