Codonopsis pilosula is an important
The plant has also been called "Bastard ", since the root has been perceived as a low-priced ginseng substitute in TCM
The root contains saponins, triterpenes and steroids, it is similar in action to ginseng (Panax species), but it is milder and has a shorter-lasting effect.
It is a sweet, warm, soothing herb that is taken as an energy tonic.
It acts mainly on the spleen, lungs and stomach, raising secretion of body fluids and blood sugar levels, and stimulating the immune system.
Research has shown that it increases haemoglobin and red blood cell levels and lowers the blood pressure.
It also helps increase endurance to stress and promotes alertness.
The root and the whole plant are adaptogen, appetizer, digestive, galactogogue, sialagogue, stomachic and tonic.
It is taken internally in the treatment of low energy, poor appetite and digestion, anaemia, shallow breathing and debility after illness.
It is often cooked with rice until it is glutinous and used as a tonic food.
The dried root is decocted with other and used to treat a wide range of ailments.
The roots of plants at least three years old are harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried.