Although codonopsis is not of the ginseng family, it has a similar taste and benefits for the body. In Chinese medicine, it is substituted for ginseng in the summer months due to its energies and tonifying properties, which are milder in action and affect the lung and spleen.
The body’s fires rise up during the summertime, which, of course, cause the body to heat up. Using codonopsis will lower your blood pressure while Ginseng tends to raise the blood pressure.
Codonopsis is known as the ‘poor man’s ginseng’ and is much less expensive. Since it cools the body during the summer months, it’s better for the body and your comfort. It also helps the body retain fluids, promotes Qi (Chi), and is beneficial for producing milk in nursing mothers.
According to Ron Teeguarden, “Codonopsis has been demonstrated to have radiation protection activity and can be effective in protecting cancer patients receiving radiation therapy from the side effects without diminishing its benefits. Codonopsis also has interferon-inducing activity that may be of importance in many immune deficiency conditions, including HIV infection.”
You can combine Codonopsis with astragalus to build up the immune system by adding it to a soup or in your morning cereal. You can also just make a tea by bringing water to boil and adding both herbs and let sit for 5 minutes. You can also reuse both herbs making several drinks until simmering no longer changes the water color.
It will act like a general tonic, especially for kids who need help building muscles and strengthening the digestive, immune and respiratory systems.
Properties of Codonopsis
Latin name: Codonopsis pilosulae
Pin yin: Dang Shen
Part Used: root
Organs affected: Lungs, Spleen
Taste: neutral; sweet;
Actions: tonifies Qi
Properties: energy tonic, demulcent, expectorant