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 is used to reduce fevers, rashes, inflammation, infections, and rheumatoid arthritis which can all be described in Chinese medicine 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's a great alternative for fatigue if licorice is contraindicated. 

Botanical Name

Rehmannia glutinosa



Formerly: Scrophulariaceae

Alt: Gesneriaceae?

Part Used


Herbal Actions:

  • Adrenal tonic
  • Antinflammatory
  • Anti-allergic
  • Antipyretic
  • Antihemmorhagic
  • Mild laxative
chinese foxglove


Uncured (Raw)


10-30 g/dried root/day

Liquid Extract (1:2)

4.5-8.5 ml/day

Special Notes:

*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. **

Shop Rehmannia


+ Endocrine System

  • Diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Weak adrenal function
  • To prevent the suppressive effects of corticosteroid drugs on endogenous corticosteroid levels.
  • Adrenal insufficiency

+ Cardiovascular System

  • Hemmorhage

+ Nervous System

  • Insomnia

+ Other

  • Urticaria
  • Asthma
  • Constipation
  • Fevers
  • Chronic nephritis
rehmannia glutinosa.jpeg

Traditional Uses:

+ Western Herbal Medicine

Still compiling research.

+ Traditional Chinese Medicine

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].

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].

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)

    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 hypertensive like licorice but is toning to the adrenals and may be useful for preventing the suppressive effects corticosteroid drugs. [1]. 

    It appears to  antagonize the suppressive effect of glucocorticoids on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (uncured) [CITATION NEEDED]. 



    None reported.



    None reported


    Combines well with Astragalus for chronic nephritis.

    More herbs



    Justin Cooke

    The Sunlight Experiment

    Updated: May 2017

    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
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    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