Typically it is harvested in the spring, medicinally it is used raw and sliced into portions. These herbs can range from 10cm to 100cm in height and the whole body is a dark purple or red color. This is due to the lack of chlorophyll that is within this herb. The stem is fleshy and cylindrical and is mostly buried in soil while the small top part is located above the ground.
Cynomorium has been long prized as a tonic for sexual potency and fatigue. Suo Yang is translated to locking up yang. In chinese medicine it is considered a mild, yet powerful jing herb and its primary functions are to tonify the kidney, and to fortify the yang.
HIV -1 Protease - From CH2Cl2 and MeOH extracts of the stems of Cynomorium songaricum RUPR, ursolic acid and its hydrogen malonate were isolated as inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease. Amongst various synthesized dicarboxylic acid hemiesters of related triterpenes, inhibitory activity tended to increase in the order of oxalyl, malonyl, succinyl and glutaryl hemiesters, for triterpenes such as ursolic acid, oleanolic acid and betulinic acid. The most potent inhibition was observed for the glutaryl hemiesters. From the water extract of the stems of Cynomorium songaricum, flavan-3-ol polymers, consisting of epicatechin as their extender flavan units, were also found to be potent inhibitory principles against HIV-1 protease. (Article)