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Rehmannia glutinosa is also known as di huang in traditional Chinese medicine, beloNgs to the family Phrymaceae and native to China. It is easy to recognize due to the flowers shaped-like bells that are yellow or red/violet in color. It is one of 50 most commonly used herbs in strengthening the kidney organRehmannia glutinosa (shu li huang) is a perennial herb with reddish-violet flowers, native to China, Japan and Korea. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine in treating rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and kidney disorder. This origin made it one of the 50 basic herbs that have been used in Oriental medicine for thousands of years. Over 70 active compounds have been found in Rehmannia. These include amino acids, simple and complex sugars, vitamins, and plant-specific compounds. Their composition in extracts mostly varies according to the plant species and the root preparation method.

One of the most well-known plant-specific compounds in Rehmannia is called catalpol. It accounts for 0.3 0.5% of the dried root. Catalpol is an iridoid glycoside, a group of molecules plants creates to defend against predators. They also have a range of health effects in humans. Catalpol is likely responsible for the plant's sugar-lowering, inflammation-fighting, and immune-balancing benefits. Rehmannia also contains rehmapicrogenin, a strong anti-inflammatory. This compound that helps deactivate one of the most important inflammation-triggering factors in the body (NF-kB).


Slices ​​of Rehmannia Glutinosa Root

Rehmannia root is often used in Chinese herbal medicine, and known as Chinese Foxglove. It is used often in Asia as an effective tonic for the liver, kidney, and heart to treat many ailments, such as diabetes, constipation, anemia, dizziness and regulation of the menstrual cycle. Rehmannia root has Vitamin A, B, C, amino acids, and rehmaglitin, all of which have strong anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. This root helps to stop the depletion of glycogen for hypoglycemia. It has a rich, starchy and sweet content that makes it effective as a cloying agent. This makes it good for improving liver function and digestion.

Rehmannia root has long been associated with better adrenal gland and kidney function. It appears to cut down on adrenal suppression of steroid hormones. Additionally, it seems to help support the body in various autoimmune disorders, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. It also contains astringent compounds that can support the body against the formation of ulcers, and to generally reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Other compounds in the root help to cut down on the fragility of the capillaries, and to protect your adrenal glands and function of the liver.

Other uses for rehmannia root include:

  • Prevents inflammation
  • As a diuretic
  • Vitality
  • Regulates the menstrual cycle
  • Relieve symptoms of anemia
  • Helps with high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol problems
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves the function of the digestive tract

Chinese herbalists often use rehmannia root as a tonic with many purposes. The action seems to help improve the function of the kidneys, for a better urinary tract system and better cardiovascular health. The roots of this plant have been used in Traditional Chinese and Korean Medicine for over 2,000 years.

Depending on how the roots are prepared, they are called:

  • Xian-Di-Huang (for the fresh root)
  • Sheng-Di-Huang (for baked roots)
  • Shu-Di-Huang (for steamed roots) in Chinese.

Health Benefits of Rehmannia

Enhancing mood and stress resilience

In a study of 20 people with depression, a Rehmannia-containing combination of herbs improved mood after four weeks. Six people experienced significant improvements, while six had some improvement. It's difficult to say whether Rehmannia was the herb responsible for these benefits. And since no control was included, any response could just be a placebo effect.

May protect the brain

Rats with dementia given a Rehmannia extract performed better on memory and learning tests. Catalpol also protected brain cells in dishes and helped them survive the effects of bacterial toxins. Its brain-protective effects are probably closely linked to its ability to lower the stress response, neutralize free radicals, and affect important brain regions like the hippocampus.

May fight fatigue and improve endurance

Rehmannia is often described as an invigorator or a tonic - essentially, a substance to wake you up and make you feel more energized. Anecdotal evidence for this effect is abundant, but the actual scientific studies are scarce.

May help diabetes

Rehmannia, alone or in combination with other herbs, holds promise for diabetes. In one study, its components lowered blood sugar and improved kidney function in diabetic rats. Aside from its effects on glucose control, it may reduce diabetic complications. In one study, it decreased the size of diabetic foot ulcers in rats. In an analysis of 18 clinical studies including over 1,200 people with diabetes, adding Rehmannia-containing Liuwei Dihuang Pills to typical western medicine regimes improved kidney function. However, the quality of the analyzed studies wasn't great.

Improving anemia

Aplastic anemia is a rare disease in which the body stops making enough blood cells due to bone marrow damage. In a clinical study of 34 people with this disease, Rehmannia extract added to standard treatment sped up symptom remission better than standard treatment alone. A combination of traditional medicines, including Rehmannia, had promising effects in another trial of 64 people with the same type of anemia. An integrative medicine approach could protect the bone marrow and red blood cells and reduce inflammation. As a result, 12 people were "basically cured".

May reduce inflammation

In rats, an extract of Rehmannia and another herb decreased inflammation after liver damage and reduced scarring. Sugars from this plant also lowered liver inflammation in mice. These benefits were confirmed in mice and rats with diabetes. Rehmannia decreased the inflammatory activity of mouse immune cells.

Preventing Bone Loss

Rehmannia, in combination with other herbs, may prevent bone loss. An analysis of over 100 study including Rehmannia found that herbal formulations were generally effective, although many of the studies had limitations. Rehmannia, alone or in combination with other herbs, also helped prevent bone loss in menopausal rats and mice.

Kidney Health

Evidence suggests that Rehmannia may help prevent kidney failure in diabetic humans and animals. Notably, the benefits vary depending on how the roots were prepared: dry, raw, and steamed Rehmannia roots each had different effects on the kidneys of rabbits. Only dry and steamed Rehmannia reduce renin, which would be beneficial for people with high blood pressure caused by kidney disease (renal hypertension). Raw Rehmannia, on the other hand, increased renin.

May help with allergies and asthma

Despite a long history of use as a remedy for allergies and asthma, there are few studies directly examining how Rehmannia affects these conditions. In rats with allergies, its extracts decreased inflammatory symptoms. Similarly, an extract of this herb lowered inflammation and skin lesions in mice with eczema.


In a study of 60 people with throat cancer, those given a Rehmannia extract had better short-term response rates and fewer radiation-related side-effects. In people with lung cancer, Rehmannia-containing herbal concoctions improved responses to treatment when used in combination with chemotherapy. Rehmannia sugars inhibited the growth of lung and skin tumors in mice. Rehmannia can also stop liver and lung cancer cells in dishes from growing and even kill them.

Heart Rate Variability

Heart rate variability measures how much your heart rate fluctuates. A higher heart rate variability is desirable. It's linked to good health, better emotional control, and indicates a dominance of the rest-and-digest nervous system. A lower heart rate variability indicates a dominance of the fight-or-flight nervous system, which is associated with stress, anxiety, and inflammation.

Rehmannia for Pets

There are a lot of anecdotal reports and pseudo-scientific claims about using Rehmannia to treat diseases in veterinary medicine, especially kidney failure. It is used in dogs, cats, and even horses. However, there isn't actually much hard scientific evidence to back this up.

General Benefits

Kidney Jing

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that rehmannia glutinosa is a kidney tonic medicine when it is used in combination with other yang tonic herbs. It helps revitalize the steroid growth hormone in the body by strengthening the kidney jing, resulting in harmonizing the levels of hormones secretion from the glands, leading to increasing the production of quality sperm and sperm count.

Yin Deficiency

Besides stimulating the kidney jing, it also helps to balance the sexual desire as well as erectile dysfunction caused by kidney yin deficiency as resulting in over-stimulating kidney yang of other herbs such as deer antler, thereby increasing the chance of fertility.


It is said rehmannia glutinosa also increases the production of blood and stimulates the production of iron, thus increasing the blood transportation nutrients and oxygen to the body cell needs, resulting in increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs, leading to fertility.

Irregular cell growth

It also contains a high amount of vitamin A and C, that help to improve immune function in fighting against infection and inflammation caused by foreign bacteria and virus, thereby reducing the chance for irregular cell growth other than where they supposed to be growth such as endometrial adhesion and implants.


Rehmannia glutinosa also contains certain chemicals which help to improve spleen function in regulating the production of insulin caused by type 2 diabetes with hyperlipidemia, resulting in lessening the risks of sugar fluctuation in the bloodstream of which causing irregular menstruation in women and lower sperm count in men.

Side Effects

  • The most commonly noted side effects of Rehmannia are stomach problems like tenderness, nausea, and diarrhea. However, many published studies did not report what, if any, side effects were experienced.
  • Rehmannia pharmacopuncture (herbal injections) partially activates the fight-or-flight nervous system. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, carefully watch your response to Rehmannia. In the traditional sense, this herb is considered to be an invigorating tonic and it's unknown if it can trigger a negative reaction in people with high anxiety.
  • There isn't currently enough evidence to say whether Rehmannia is safe in particular groups, like pregnant or breastfeeding women and children. The herb's proponents tout its long history of safe use, but pregnant or breastfeeding women and children should avoid it until more clinical data are available.
  • Because Rehmannia can affect blood sugar, people with diabetes should exercise caution in taking Rehmannia, especially if they're already on medication. It's always best to ask your healthcare provider what the exact risks are for your specific situation before supplementing.


It is a pure Rehmannia root tea. It is naturally caffeine-free, packed to ensure freshness. Due to various factors in harvest, each lot may differ in cut, color, taste, etc. Product images are used for illustration purposes only. Actual product may vary from image shown.

If you are pregnant, nursing or taking any medications, consult your doctor before use. Consult your health care provider before beginning use of any herb.