The codonopsis root is the basis of a tonic for patients suffering from lethargy and related symptoms. Classified as sweet and neutral in traditional Chinese medicine, the root should be thick, moist and tight-skinned. Herbalists consider it milder and safer than Asian ginseng, and often use it as a substitute for the stronger herb. Codonopsis grows throughout northeastern China.
Taken internally for:
Codonopsis is available in bulk form at Chinese pharmacies, Asian markets and some Western health food stores. It is included in several preparations designed as tonics.
Combinations: Codonopsis mixed with atractylodes (white) is prescribed for reduced appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, while a combination with astragalus is recommended in cases where shortness of breath is added to these symptoms. A preparation containing the roots of codonopsis and dong quai in addition to Chinese foxglove root cooked in wine is given to patients suffering dizziness, weakness and lassitude. See a Chinese medicine practitioner for information on dosages and appropriate herbal combinations.
Some Chinese herbalists believe that codonopsis is incompatible with veratrum.