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Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula Campanulaceae) Seeds by Salt Spring Seeds


In stock

SKU 841660P Category


Dang Shen, as codonopsis is known in its native China, is a widely used herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) due to its similar, all be it milder, adaptogenic properties to ginseng. The lower cost and greater availability of codonopsis root has led to it becoming the standard replacement for ginseng in many TCM formulas, earning it the name “Poor Man’s Ginseng”.

This vining herbaceous perennial can grow upwards of 7 feet, prefers full sun to part shade and definitely requires something to twine around and climb. In flower from June to August, it produces beautiful 5-pointed violet-streaked, green bell-shaped flowers, giving rise to seed-heads from August to September that are full of tiny red/brown seeds. The plant refers slightly acidic, moderately fertile and fairly well drained soils, is not drought tolerant, and is frost hardy down to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit!

Codonopsis seeds are best sown in the early spring or late autumn/early winter, benefiting from a cold spell to break their dormancy. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out and pot them up, overwintering them in the greenhouse for their first winter and planting them out in mid spring.

The roots are carrot-shaped or cylindrical, sometimes branched, and up to a foot long by an inch or more wide. When at least three seasons old, the roots are harvested in the autumn after the aerial parts have died down and the plant is dormant. The roots can be used fresh or dried and are rich in many trace elements, 17 different amino acids plus saccharides, glycosides, and alkaloids.

The herb root is crunchy, sweet, warm, and soothing. Taken as a gentle tonic, it increases energy levels, helps the body adapt to stress, tones the blood, builds Chi and strengthens the immune system. It invigorates the spleen and lungs, lowers blood pressure and is used to treat a variety of disorders, including memory loss and insomnia, anemia, shallow and strained breathing, poor appetite and digestion, dyspepsia and debility after illness.

Research has shown that codonopsis increases haemoglobin and red blood cell levels, helping to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and other medical treatments that utilize powerful chemicals and drugs.