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J Chromatogr A. 2009 Mar 13;1216(11):1970-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.07.031. Epub 2008 Jul 18.

Analysis of chemical constituents in Cistanche species.

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  • 1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China.


Species of the genus of Cistanche (Rou Cong Rong in Chinese) are perennial parasite herbs, and are mainly distributed in arid lands and warm deserts. As a superior tonic for the treatment of kidney deficiency, impotence, female infertility, morbid leucorrhea, profuse metrorrhagia and senile constipation, Cistanche herbs earned the honor of "Ginseng of the desert". Recently, there has been increasing scientific attention on Herba Cistanche for its remarkable bioactivities including antioxidation, neuroprotection, and anti-aging. The chemical constituents of Cistanche plants mainly include volatile oils and non-volatile phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs), iridoids, lignans, alditols, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Pharmacological studies show that PhGs are the main active components for curing kidney deficiency, antioxidation and neuroprotection; galactitol and oligosaccharides are the representatives for the treatment of senile constipation, while polysaccharides are responsible for improving body immunity. In this paper, the advances on the chemical constituents of Cistanche plants and their corresponding analyses are reviewed.

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