Bastard Ginseng a.k.a. The Poor Man’s Ginseng (Tea Recipe)

My family and I have been under the weather lately and being quite the traditional mom when it comes to dietary supplement, Chinese herbal concoctions seemed the most appropriate way to soothe and pamper peaked bodies in my household.

Chinese Red Dates (紅棗) & sliced dried Codonopsis Pilosula Root (Dang Shen 党参).

As I believe this herbal tea to have a good number of excellent actions to aid our health, and is particularly helpful for the tiredness of Adrenal Fatigue, it might be also prove worthy for you, too! BUT as I am not a qualified nutritionist, naturopath or medical practitioner, you should always seek qualified opinions (or family doctor who knows your medical history) before embarking on this or any diet(s) that is out of your norm.

The use of Chinese herbs for cooking exists since ancient times. Chinese herbs are not only used in enhancing the flavour of the dish but they could also possess properties to improve overall health and may at times aid healing.

Codonopsis Pilosula or Dang Shen is a perennial flowering plant native to northeast Asia and Korea. Its root is widely used as an ingredient in Chinese cuisine to make nutritional herbal soup as well as a tonic beverage when used on its own.

Its health benefits are similar to that of Ginseng. It is sold at a more affordable price, thus it is also known as the ‘poor man’s Ginseng’.

Dang Shen is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to correct ‘Qi’ (气) deficiency and improve blood circulation to revitalise the body.

Dang Shen also possesses other health benefits such as:
Stimulates appetite.
Improves blood circulation.
Stimulates the central nervous system and increases endurance.
Boosts immunity by increasing white blood cells, activating macrophages and other key components of the immune system.
Treatment of chronic upper respiratory tract infection.
Reduces fatigue and increases white blood count in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Warning: However, if Dang Shen is used excessively, it may interfere with blood clotting and is best to be avoided prior to surgery.

Text Credit and to see 3 special edition of ‘Healthy Recipes’ using Codonopsis Pilosula by Ms. Dora Ng (Principal Acupuncturist of the Complementary Integrative Medicine (CIM) Clinic of Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) click here:

Codonopsis Root & Red Dates Tea Drink.

Bastard Ginseng a.k.a. The Poor Man’s Ginseng Tea Recipe: (serves 2-4)
10g sliced Codonopsis Pilosula Root (Dang Shen 党参).
2 pitted Chinese Red Dates (紅棗), cut into quarters lengthwise.
Boiling Hot Water for tea and more for rinsing.

Optional Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Chinese Wolfberry (Gou Qi 枸杞).
Honey, to taste, optional (I don’t).

General Dosage and Administration: 10-15g. Up to 30g for being used to replace ginseng.

Not to use in cases of infection of the digestive system. Incompatible with li lu (藜芦 or 藜蘆) (Veratrum nigrum L.)

Side effects have been reported, like : dizziness, discomfort in the chest area, nervous and uneasy, dry mouth, etc.

1 French Press or a Glass/Porcelain Cup with porcelain or plastic cover for steeping purposes (I personally do not like to use metal pot/kettle as they may react with the herbs).

Boil some water. Fill your French press about one-third full with hot water and press the plunger all the way down. Swirl the hot water around inside the French press for about 15 seconds. Pull the plunger up and remove the lid to discard the rinsing water.

Put the sliced Codonopsis root and red dates into the French press or a big cup, filled with about half of your press/cup with boiling water evenly over the sliced herbs. This step is called the bloom. Hot water forces the herbs to release its nutrients, leading to expansion of the herbs and wonderful aromas for you to enjoy. Steep for at least 15 minutes before drinking it warm.

Do not throw away the herbs. Do a second or even a third brew by repeating step above.

Or you can make a huge jug and serve it chilled. Being traditional, I like to serve herbal stuff hot or warm but that’s just my personal preference! I also keep recycling the brewed herbs by refilling and steeping with boiling water till the herbs are blend and drink it as “plain water” throughout the day whenever I make this tea which is quite often.

Codonopsis is an herb. People use the root to make medicine.

Codonopsis is used to treat HIV infection and to protect cancer patients against side effects of radiation treatment. It is also to boost the immune system; and to treat weakness, loss of appetite (anorexia), chronic diarrhea, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeat (palpitations), asthma, cough, thirst, and diabetes.

Although codonopsis is sometimes used as a substitute for ginseng in general tonic formulas, none of the chemicals called saponins that are responsible for some of the effects of ginseng have been found in codonopsis.

How Does It Work?
Codonopsis seems to stimulate the central nervous system. It also seems to promote weight gain and increase endurance, as well as increase red and white blood cells counts and promote blood circulation.

Other Names: Bastard Ginseng, Bellflower, Bonnet Bellflower, Campanule à Bonnet, Chuan Dang, Codonopsis Modestae, Codonopsis pilosula, Codonopsis Pilosula Modesta, Codonopsis tangshen, Codonopsis tubulosa, Dangshen, Dong Seng, Ginseng Bâtard, Ginseng du Pauvre, Racine de Campanule à Bonnet, Radix Codonopsis, Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae.

Text (2nd block quote) Credit: (see *Clinical References further below)

Links To Detailed Reads:

*Clinical references for this vitamin or supplement (Codonopsis) in context to block quote by WebMD
Han, C., Li, L., Piao, K., Shen, Y., and Piao, Y. [Experimental study on anti-oxygen and promoting intelligence development of Codonopsis lanceolata in old mice]. Zhong.Yao Cai. 1999;22(3):136-138. View abstract.

Han, G., He, X., Yang, J., Yuda, M., Kasai, R., Otani, K., and Tanaka, O. [Chemical constituents of Codonopsis pilosula Nannf.]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1990;15(2):105-6, 127. View abstract.

Han, G., Wang, C., Su, X., He, X., Wang, Y., Kenji, M., and Osamu, T. [Determination of tangshenoside I in Codonopsis pilosula Nannf. by TLC-UV spectrophotometric method]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1990;15(9):553-5, 577. View abstract.

Lee, K. T., Choi, J., Jung, W. T., Nam, J. H., Jung, H. J., and Park, H. J. Structure of a new echinocystic acid bisdesmoside isolated from Codonopsis lanceolata roots and the cytotoxic activity of prosapogenins. J Agric.Food Chem 7-17-2002;50(15):4190-4193. View abstract.

Lee, K. W., Jung, H. J., Park, H. J., Kim, D. G., Lee, J. Y., and Lee, K. T. Beta-D-xylopyranosyl-(1–>3)-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyl echinocystic acid isolated from the roots of Codonopsis lanceolata induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in human acute promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28(5):854-859. View abstract.

Liu, J. H., Bao, Y. M., Song, J. J., and An, L. J. Codonopsis pilosula (Franch) Nannf total alkaloids potentiate neurite outgrowth induced by nerve growth factor in PC12 cells. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2003;24(9):913-917. View abstract.

Liu, Z. Y., Yang, Y. G., and Zheng, B. [Effect of improving memory and inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity by invigorating-qi and warming-yang recipe]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1993;13(11):675-6, 646. View abstract.

Ng, T. B., Liu, F., and Wang, H. X. The antioxidant effects of aqueous and organic extracts of Panax quinquefolium, Panax notoginseng, Codonopsis pilosula, Pseudostellaria heterophylla and Glehnia littoralis. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;93(2-3):285-288. View abstract.

Prakash, A. O., Saxena, V., Shukla, S., Tewari, R. K., Mathur, S., Gupta, A., Sharma, S., and Mathur, R. Anti-implantation activity of some indigenous plants in rats. Acta Eur Fertil. 1985;16(6):441-448. View abstract.

Qin, L. M., Yan, Y. F., and Wang, Z. C. [Experimental study on the cardiotonic action of extract from Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.)Nannf.]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1994;19(4):238-40, inside. View abstract.

Wang, W., Zhao, D. Z., and Sun, B. H. [Study on effects of Codonopsis eupolyphaga anti-obesity powder in mice with nutritive obesity]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(12):739-741. View abstract.

Wang, Z. T., Du, Q., Xu, G. J., Wang, R. J., Fu, D. Z., and Ng, T. B. Investigations on the protective action of Condonopsis pilosula (Dangshen) extract on experimentally-induced gastric ulcer in rats. Gen.Pharmacol 1997;28(3):469-473. View abstract.

Wang, Z. T., Ng, T. B., Yeung, H. W., and Xu, G. J. Immunomodulatory effect of a polysaccharide-enriched preparation of Codonopsis pilosula roots. Gen.Pharmacol 1996;27(8):1347-1350. View abstract.

Xiao, J. C., Liu, H. J., Han, D., Li, Z., Jiang, J. X., and Qing, C. [Protective effects of the pollen of Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. on liver lesions at the ultrastructural level]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1989;14(3):42-4, 64. View abstract.

Xu, X., Wang, S. R., and Lin, Q. [Clinical and experimental study on codonopsis pilosula oral liquor in treating coronary heart disease with blood stasis]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1995;15(7):398-400. View abstract.

Zheng, T. Z., Li, W., Qu, S. Y., Ma, Y. M., Ding, Y. H., and Wei, Y. L. Effects of Dangshen on isolated gastric muscle strips in rats. World J Gastroenterol 1998;4(4):354-356. View abstract.

Reid D. A handbook of Chinese healing herbs. Boston, MA:Shambhala, 1995.

Chen, Y., Zhu, Y., Wei, J., and Liang, N. [Chemical components of Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. var. volubilis (Nannf.) L.T. Shen]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1995;20(10):611-640. View abstract.

Happy brewing, drinking and bonding! 🙂

2 Responses to “Bastard Ginseng a.k.a. The Poor Man’s Ginseng (Tea Recipe)”
  1. thainhatoi says:

    Wow. I am impressed with they way you presented this article. Very detailed information with trusted references.

    I want to learn more about DangShen, could please share me some sources with scientific study?

    Thank you verymuch

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