Cistanche - libido boost

Just to reiterate an earlier point:

I have found that Cistanche and Sorghum seeds can both boost 5ar, but this could induce priapism if the dose is too high.

Priapism is dangerous and could cause nerve damage in the penis, prostate or surrounding area.
So be careful with dosage / frequency of dosage.

Cistanche is the only thing that has allowed me to catch a cold in the 7 years since my PSSD.
I went 6 years almost without getting ill until I took the life extension cistanche.

I understand it has some interesting immune boosting effects.

Well I certainly believe my immune system is involved in my PSSD/anhedonia somehow

Try this link

or just run a search for “Cistanche deserticola” on
There should be plenty of suppliers on there?

If you do try it, start off in low doses.
Like a pinch or two and take it from there.

** Seek medical advice prior to taking any supplement or medication.
**If you notice any side effects (stomach upset is a common problem) stop taking the supplement and/or seek medical advice.


I thought I would update this thread to offer some hope to others.

Good news is that my sexual sides have improved 100% and this has been the case for over 9 months now.

The supplements that helped me are:
Himalayan Pilex
Cistanche Deserticola (low dose)
Crushed sorghum seeds (low dose)

Bad news is that I cannot tolerate caffeine.
Drinking coffee causes a flare up of Hemorrhoids and this will cause some of my sexual sides to come back. I can tolerate one or two glasses of coffee per week but generally have to avoid it.

Also my sleep quality is still not 100%. I am finding that I need less sleep now that I am over 40. Physical exercise, valerian tablets and good foam earplugs are the things that help my sleep quality the most.

I suggest taking one supplement at a time in small doses and see if they help:

My cycle was something like this:

Take Fargelin tablets only for 2 weeks.
Take half a tablet daily. Then if no adverse reaction, increase to one or two tablets daily.

Then take Himalayan Pilex only for 2 weeks
Take half a tablet daily. Then if no adverse reaction, increase to one or two tablets daily.Continue for 2 weeks.

Then take Cistanche Deserticola extract only for 2 weeks
Put a pinch or two into a smoothie and drink.

Then take crushed Sorghum Seeds only, for 2 weeks
Put a few crushed seeds into a smoothie and drink.

I quit Finasteride and had several major “crashes” for months after quitting.
I did not notice any significant improvement in symptoms until i started taking these supplements.
Fargelin in particular has helped me the most.

I am hopeful that someday, I’ll be able to write a “100% recovery” post.

I should point out that I still take Fargelin from time to time, but not very often.
I also still take Valerian tablets to help my sleep, on most nights.


Both of the sups mentioned are bad for collagen production. Dht is terrible for collagen and cicstanch increases collagenese count me out

I prob spelled a bunch of shit wrong


Not sure if you fully read all of my post, but you will see that the first two supplements to try are Fargelin and Pilex.
These are the two supplements that have helped me the most.
The two supplements are anti-flammatory and boost blood circulation.

Just to avoid any confusion, I have created a new post which is focused on Fargelin.

If someone wants to try Fargelin, please PM with your address and I can post some to you as I have some spare.
Ideally someone who has blood flow issues / circulation issues / prostate blockage issues like me.

Hi Noniman,

I was on finasteride for 10 years too before the side effects kicked in. I’m off finasteride almost 18 months now so worrying to see that you’re still not recovered, albeit encouraged that your sexual side effects seemed to have improved significantly. My main problem now is ED, and my problem with ED is that the blood flow isn’t there anymore - for example, my penis often grows to a 25% or 50% erection, depending on how horny I am. I just can’t get a proper erection or maintain it without cialis. I get side effects from cialis such as chronic fatigue, headaches and bloody nose so I don’t like taking it - which means my sex life is almost non-existent.

So my questions are were your ED problems similar and has fargelin helped push the blood flow to the penis, and keep the blood there too so you can maintain a proper erection? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and hopefully other men will have similar success to you.

Hi Cant_Hurt_Me

I have had problems with hemorrhoids over the last few years, possibly due to a high caffeine intake.
(coffee/caffeine can agitate/irritate the gut lining)

I took Fargelin to help my hemorrhoids and noticed an improvement within 3-4 days, but as a bonus it seemed to fix a lot of my PFS issues, erectile dysfuntion mainly
There may be some correlation between hemorrhoids and erectile dysfunction.

Then I took the the Himalayan Pilex, again to help hemorrhoids
I noticed an improvement immediately but also noticed that my libido increased too!

The Cistanche Deserticola and crushed Sorghum seeds were taken afterwards and further enhanced and “fully corrected” my libido.

I would try to ween yourself off cialis if you can. You will become dependent on it.
Save the cialis for when you really need it, i.e. when you are in your 60’s / 70’s!.

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Thanks for getting back to me… I’ve had chronic constipation issues over the past 3-4 years although there have been issues there over the last 7-8 years… Interestingly, on the days I have a good bowel movement, I feel that I have good life in my penis and on days when I’m constipated, I can feel like I’m castrated down there… I will definitely give the fargelin a go - may I ask where you get it from? I used to live in London but recently moved out - I could get it delivered to a friend there and hopefully get it from him in March if these restrictions are lifted… I moved back to Dublin and planning to spend the next couple of months in the Canaries so I might try get it delivered to here if I settle down in a place for 2-3 weeks

I have no issues with hemorrhoids or libido and I don’t drink coffee so I’ll just stick to maybe a half tablet of fargelin a day for a couple of weeks and see if I think it’s helping

Appreciate your posting about this… My situation is so similar to yours in that I was on finasteride for 10 years and had no side effects until about years 9 and 10 - and I had no idea what was causing them… Be great if you could update the forum again over the next 6-12 months to share your progress and it’s very encouraging that you’ve had 9 months where ED doesn’t seem to be a problem

As for cialis, I’ve taken about 50mg of it over the past 18 months so almost abstaining from sex and trying to let my body heal naturally… I take your point re reliance but at the same time it’s good for the mental health to get some action, even if it is very occasionally!


I would thought I would provide a further update. after feeling felt completely normal for around nine months.

Bad news: I recently ate some rice which seems to have been contaminated and caused digestion issues (bloating) and a complete relapse of my PFS symptoms. Either that, or coming back on this site has caused some sort of anxiety.
Pretty much all of my PFS symptoms came back. I felt a ‘cold’ feeling in my prostate, thyroid/throat pain, torsion and pain in my right testicle and reduced libido.

Good news: I have taken some cistanche deserticola powder and it immediately fixed my testicle pain. Erections are libido are also back. I’m hoping it stays this way.

So it seems that I am still vulnerable to PFS.
But … cistanche deserticola seems to work on me.

I bought a capsule filling tray like this, for making my own cistanche deserticola capsules:

If anyone in UK/Europe area wants to try cistanche deserticola, I’m in the process of making up a batch of tablets and can ship them to you at no cost.


Was the rice contaminated with fin


Guys, i thought I would come back and post an update after being fully recovered for nine months, then suffering a relapse.

It seems that I had a bad dose of food poisoning by eating reheated rice. This caused a “full blown” relapse of all of my PFS symptoms (I read somewhere that reheated rice can contain Bacillus cereus bacteria)

I have just finished another cycle of Fargelin, Himalayan Pilex, then Cistanche, then crushed sorghum seeds.
I am ‘fixed’ again and hoping that it stays this way for another nine months.

I’m not currently taking any supplements at the moment, but may top up again with another dose of Cistanche or sorghum seeds.
I have found that Cistanche works best if taken with liquid, e.g. take half a teaspoon of the powder mixed in a smoothie.

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I may have to retry cistanche. When I took it, it coincided with worsened insomnia so I threw it away. I ordered off eBay from a Chinese supplier that I found on reddit:

Do you take it only for two weeks then never cycle back on it? Which cistanche do you use?


I noticed that you took Cistanche tubulosa, whereas i was taking Cistanche deserticola
The two extracts have different chemical compositions and pharmacological activities!

Hopefully you can try the Cistanche Deserticola extract and see if it works on you.

I took Cistanche deserticola for around two weeks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the powder, mixed with a smoothie (twice daily).

Then completed a 2 week cycle of crushed sorghum seeds
Around 12 crushed sorghum seeds take with half a glass of water (once or twice daily as needed).

It seems that cycling these two supplements was enough to fix my HPTA.

Please have a good read at the following extract, which suggests that Cistanche can help with the following:

  • Improve brain function
  • Boost immune system
  • Regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (PHA) axes, which may induce a smooth and balanced sexual vitality effect.

Another interesting note:- activation of the HPA axis increases plasma cytokines and acute phase protein concentrations. Thus, it can increase phytohemagglutinin-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation and enhance antibody production.

** Disclaimer: Discuss with your doctor before taking any supplements/medicines

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There are couple of findigs from different studies. Quite interesting, but to replicate them, we need high dosages 100/200/400 mg/kg. No toxicity is reported, mild hepatic edema.

“In our present study, CTE significantly improved depression-like behaviors in rats under CUS by regulating neurotransmitters and neurotrophins in hippocampus.”

“CTE exerted potent antidepressant activities via restoring the level of 5-HT, BDNF, and SCFAs, and modulating the relative abundance of gut microbiota in genus level in CUS rats. Correlation analysis revealed that altered gut microbiota genera were also substantially with changed neurotransmitters, neurotrophins, and SCFAs levels. Therefore, CTE was identified as a potential therapeutic agent for depression targeting the microbiota–gut–brain axis.”

"The level of DA and NE in the central nervous system was measured to determine the nerve excitability. After 4 weeks of tail suspension test, compared to the stress groups, the DA level of groups treated with moderate dosage C. deserticola Y.C.Ma was upregulated significantly each by 43.5%; the DA level of groups treated with moderate dosage C. tubulosa was upregulated significantly, too (Figure 5(a)). The level of NE was mildly upregulated in the groups treated with decoction of both herbs compared to the stress groups, and no statistical difference was found (Figure 5(b)). These results might explain the molecular mechanism of antidepressant effect of herb Cistanche . "

" Daily administration of CT extract throughout Aβ 1-42 infusion periods ameliorated the cognitive deficits, decreased amyloid deposition and reversed cholinergic and hippocampal dopaminergic dysfunction caused by Aβ 1-42. Donepezil also ameliorated the cognitive dysfunction, but only blocked the amyloid deposition and cholinergic dysfunction caused by Aβ 1-42.

We suggest that CT extract, containing enough echinacoside and acteoside, ameliorated the cognitive dysfunction caused by Aβ 1-42 via blocking amyloid deposition, reversing cholinergic and hippocampal dopaminergic neuronal function."

"The effect of Cistanche Tubulosa extract (CT Ext.) on the gene expression of
3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), an enzyme that is responsible for the
synthesis of testosterone, and 5α-reductase-2 and aldo-keto reductase, enzymes that
are responsible for the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone was examined. Cistanche
Tubulosa extract (400 mg/kg) was administered to mice once daily for two weeks and
liver RNA was extracted. DNA micro array analysis was conducted on one specimen in
each group of mice. In the specimen of mice receiving Cistanche Tubulosa extract, the
genetic expression of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) was enhanced by 1.5
times. Meanwhile, the genetic expression of 5α-reductase-2 and aldo-keto reductase,
was doubled (Fig. 37). Meanwhile, gene expression not being analyzed by micro array
was analyzed by RT-PCR with exception on C17-20 lyase. As illustrated in Fig. 38,
genetic expression of P450 SCC, 17α-hydroxylase, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase,
and 5α-reductase-2 was enhanced. In particular, gene expression of 5α-reductase-2 was
15 times higher as compared to the control. The enhancement of genetic expression by
Cistanche Tubulosa extract (400 mg/kg) on enzymes responsible for the production of
male hormone suggested the positive effect of Cistanche Tubulosa Extract on male
hormone production. "

"Antidepressant-Like Effects of Cistanche tubulosa Extract on Chronic Unpredictable Stress Rats Through Restoration of Gut Microbiota Homeostasis

Growing evidence shows that neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression, are linked with gut microbiome through the gut–brain axis. Cistanches Herba is well known for the treatment of “kidney-yang” deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and has been used for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in recent years. In this study, chronic unpredictable stress (CUS)-induced depression model was established to explore the impact of Cistanche tubulosa extract (CTE) on behavioral tests, monoamine neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors in hippocampus and colon, gut microbiota composition, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production. Moreover, correlation analysis was used to evaluate the functional relationship between altered gut microbiota, changed neurotransmitters and neurotrophins in hippocampus and colon, and disturbed concentration of SCFAs. CTE significantly improved depression-like behaviors in rats under CUS. Brain level of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in CUS rats were restored by CTE. The relative abundance of gut microbiota and the concentrations of acetate and hexanoic acid could also be modulated by CTE treatment. We further showed that the application of CTE in CUS rats led to strong correlation among disrupted gut microbiota composition, hippocampus neurotransmitter levels, and production of neuroactive metabolite SCFAs . Altogether, these results identify CTE as a potential treatment for depressive symptoms by restoring homeostasis of gut microbiota for microbiota–gut–brain axis disorders, opening new avenues in the field of neuropsychopharmacology. "

“ECH combined with hypothalamic AR in the pocket of Met-894 and Val-713 to inhibit the transfer of AR from the cytoplasm to nuclei in the hypothalamus. While negative feedback of sex hormone regulation was inhibited, positive feedback was stimulated to increase the secretion of luteinizing hormone and testosterone subsequently enhancing sperm quantity. [3].”

Oops, yeah it’s for tubulosa. The Tubulosa variety is very similar to deserticola pharmacologically but it’s more abundant and hence cheaper, whereas Cistanche Salsa or Sinensis are to be avoided if I am not mistaken. Could you share a link to the one you’re taking? Never mind, saw your alibaba link for the deserticola. Is this the exact one you use?

Hi Mercked

Yes that’s the correct link for the Cistanche deserticola, on aliexpress.

But there are other places where you might be able to get it a lot quicker, e.g. here:

For sorghum seeds, I bought these on amazon:

… I do not have any affiliation with any of these suppliers.

As mentioned in a previous post, please don’t take Cistance/Sorghum seeds at the same time.
They should be cycled.

Take Cistanche deserticola only, for 2 weeks.

Then Sorghum seeds only, for 2 weeks.
(sorghum seeds can be chewed raw, or crushed with mortar and pestle).

Is there any real difference Desert vs Tubalosa?

Mercked did you recover quickly from the insomnia once you stopped and do you reckon it was linked to the cistanche?

Linking this thread just for background too