Rehmannia Summary:

Rehmannia is the root of the Rehmannia glutinosa, or closely related species. It's an important traditional Chinese herbal medicine. In this medical system its uses vary depending on whether the root has been cured or not. Curing rehmannia involves washing the fresh roots in millet wine before steaming and drying several times. It is used to treat hot conditions, which translate well into western herbal medical uses as well. 

Rehmannia isused to reduce fevers, rashes, inflammation, infections, and rheumatoid arthritis which can all be described as "hot" conditions. Additionally rehmannia is used to treat diabetes, adrenal fatigue, heart conditions, hemmorhaging, and insomnia. 

The best use of this plant is in combination with other herbs. It is a great alternative for fatigue if licorice is contraindicated. 

Herbal Actions:

[1, 5]

  • Adrenal tonic (trophorestorative)
  • Antinflammatory
  • Anti-allergic
  • Antipyretic
  • Antihemorrhagic
  • Mild laxative

Botanical Name:

Rehmannia glutinosa




Former: Scrophulariaceae

Alt?: Gesneriaceae


Part used:



Uncured (Raw) Rehmannia

Decoction (1:30): simmered 20 mins

10-30 g/day dried root material

Liquid Extract (1:2):

4.5-8.5 ml/day


*Unless stated otherwise, rehmannia is generally used in the uncured form.*

Long term use is appropriate [1]. 

Rehmannia is generally used at fairly high doses. **


[1, 5]

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Urticaria
  • Chronic nephritis
  • Fevers
  • Diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Weak adrenal function
  • Asthma
  • Hemorrhage
  • Constipation
  • To prevent the suppressive effects of corticosteroid drugs on endogenous corticosteroid levels

Common Names:

  • Rehmannia
  • Prepared/Raw Rehmannia
  • Chinese foxglove
  • Glutinous rehmannia
  • Di Huang (China)
    • Shu Di Huang (Cured)
    • Shen Di Huang (Uncured)
  • Shojio (Japan)
  • Saengjihwang (Korea)

Traditional Uses:

In traditional Chinese medicine, cured rehmannia and uncured rehmannia is used differently. Uncured rehmannia is used to reduce fevers and heat conditions, as a haemostatic, to remove heat from the blood, for rashes, diabetes, low grade fevers and for bleeding. [1]. Cured rehmannia on the other hand, was used to regulate mentruation, promote blood production, correct anaeima dizziness, weakness, tinnitus, amenorrhea, and mettorhagia [1]. 


    Botanical Description:

    Rehmannia is a perennial herb growing up to 40 cm in height. The flowers are reddish-purple and tubular in shape. The root is a thick orange tuberous root. [1]. 


    Habitat Ecology, and Distribution:

    Still compiling research 


    Harvesting Collection, and Preparation:

    Curing rehmannia (prepared rehmannia) involves washing the fresh root in millet wine, before steaming, and drying several times each. [1]. In Chinese medicine, the prepared version is more highly regarded than fresh rehmannia. 


    Rehmannia contains around 31 different iridoid glycosides (including aucubin, catalpol, ajugol, rehmanniosides A-D, jioglutosides, and rehmaglutins A-D), as well as other glycosides such as phenethyl alcohol glycosides (jionosides) ionine glycosides, and terpenoid glycosides, as well as polysaccharides,  [1-4, 7-10]. 

    Pharmacology and Medical Research:

    Adrenal Tonic

    Not hypertension like licorice but is toning to the adrenals and may be useful for preventing the suppressive effects corticosteroid drugs. [1]. 


    Toxicity and Contraindications:

    None reported



    None reported


    Traditional Chinese Medicine:

    In traditional Chinese medicine, prepared rehmania is generally preferred over fresh rehmannia. [6]. 


    Fresh Rehmannia:

    Added to formulas to tonify yin in the liver, kidney and heart, and add a cooling, anti-inflammatory actions. [4, 6]. 


    Prepared Rehmannia:

    Prepared rehmannia is a fundamental kidney tonic in Chinese herbalism and is often associated with longevity. It is a yin jing tonic, and frequently added to formulas designed to strengthen sexual function.  [6]. 



    Combines well with Astragalus for chronic nephritis.


    Recent Blog Posts:


    1. Bone K, Mills S. (2013). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Elsevier health. China. (Pg. 799-803). 
    2. Y.F. Liu, D. Liang, H. Luo, Z.Y. Hao, Y. Wang, C.L. Zhang, Q.J. Zhang, R.Y. Chen, and D.Q. Yu, J. Nat. Prod. 75, 1625 (2012).
    3. Liu, Y.-F., Liang, D., Luo, H., Hao, Z.-Y., Wang, Y., Zhang, C.-L., ... Yu, D.-Q. (2014). Ionone glycosides from the roots of Rehmannia glutinosa. Journal Of Asian Natural Products Research, 16(1), 11-19.
    4. Fu G.-M., Shi S.-P., Ip F.C.F., Pang H.-H., & Ip N.Y. (2011). A new carotenoid glycoside from Rehmannia glutinosa. Natural Product Research, 25(13), 1213 1218. doi:10.1080/14786419.2010.514268
    5. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: Herbal formulations for the individual patient. Edinburgh [u.a., MO: Churchill Livingstone.
    6. Teeguarden, R. (2000). The ancient wisdom of the Chinese tonic herbs. New York, NY: Warner Books. (Pg. 179-180). 
    7. Morota, T., Nishimura, H., Sasaki, H., Chin, M., Chen, Z., Sugama, K., ... , Mitsuhashi, H. (1989a). Chemical and biological studies on Rehmanniae radix Part 5. Five cyclopentanoid monoterpenes from Rehmannia glutinosa. Phytochemistry, 28, 2385–2391.
    8. Yoshikawa, M., Fukuda, Y., Taniyama, T., Bae, C.C., & Kitagawa, I. (1986). Absolute configurations of rehmaionosides A, B, and C and rehmapicroside three new ionone glucosides and a new monoterpene glucoside from Rehmanniae radix. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34, 2294–2297.
    9. Sasaki, H., Nishimura, H., Chin, M., Chen, Z., & Mitsuhashi, H. (1989). Chemical and biological studies on Rehmanniae radix. Part 2. Hydroxycinnamic acid esters of phenethyl alcohol glycosides from Rehmannia glutinosa var. purpurea. Phytochemistry, 28, 875–879.
    10. Morota, T., Sasaki, H., Nishamura, H., Sugama, K., Masao, C.C.Z., & Mitsuhashi, H. (1989b). Chemical and biological studies on Rehmanniae radix. Part 4. Two iridoid glycosides from Rehmannia glutinosa. Phytochemistry, 28, 2149–2153

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