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Cnidium monnier is a species of perennial or biennial herb in the Apiaceae , or parsley, family. It has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to improve libido, reproductive functioning, and help with skin conditions. Cnidium monnier is currently being studied for its effectiveness in allergy management, osteoporosis, and cancer. It is also used as a general tonic. This herb is considered safe when taken at the recommended dosage.
Cnidium monnier, also known as Monnier's snow parsley and she chuang, is native to Asia and Europe. It can be found growing on the margins of fields and along the edges of streams and lakes. This species' height ranges from 4 to 24 inches (10-60 cm) tall. It produces clusters of pinkish white flowers from April to July and bears fruit from July to October.
Practitioners of TCM prescribe Cnidium monnier to improve libido in both men and women. The nitric oxide in the herb relaxes the muscles in the genital area and works similarly to sex hormones. This allows increased blood flow to these areas, which enhances sexual performance.
This herb is also used to treat wet skin conditions, particularly eczema, acne, and scabies. It is included in many anti-itch lotions, skin toners, and other beauty products. Cnidium monnier also appears to be useful in treating skin allergies, such as contact dermititis. Its effectiveness on other allergic reactions is currently being studied.
Osthol, bergapten, and imperatorin, all coumarins, were found and isolated in the monnier species. Studies show that these coumarins may improve osteoblastic cell activity. This is good news for people suffering with osteoporosis. It appears that Cnidium monnier strengthens bones and may work against osteoporosis.
The same coumarins being studied for use in the treatment of osteoporosis are also being studied in connection with cancer treatment. Studies reveal that osthol, imperatorin, bergapten, isopimpinellin, and xantotoxin may kill cancer cells. Osthol was apparently good at killing cells that cause leukemia, cervical cancer, and colorectal carcinoma.
TCM teaches that Cnidium monnier has a warming, strengthening effect on the body. Herbal tonics containing this herb are reportedly used to restore a sense of well-being and overall strength. In addition, it is said to improve digestion and may relieve bloating, gas, and indigestion.
The American Herbal Products Association rates Cnidium monnier as safe if no more than one capsule is taken per day. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take this herb, however. The herb is also contraindicated for people on blood thinner medication, and people who have liver or kidney conditions. Some side effects include nausea, vomiting, muscle spasticity, seizures, or breathing difficulty. Anyone interested in taking this supplement should consult a doctor first.