Polygala tenuifolia 101
Polygala tenuifolia (Yuan Zhi) Frequently Asked Questions
Polygala tenuifolia provides support for mood, creative thinking, focus, and brain health. This special nootropic supports new brain cell growth.
Curious about Polygala tenuifolia (Yuan Zhi) herbal extract? Check out these resources and scroll down to find answers to common questions
“The Will Strengthener”
Do you sell Polygala tenuifolia?
We sell Polygala tenuifolia in a 100 gram size (50 servings) as OM! Mood Support. We also sell Polygala in larger 200 gram to 1,000 gram sizes (100-500 servings). In addition, Polygala is one of five nootropic extracts in our BrainStorm Nootropic Brain Health Kits. Visit our online store.
Are Polygala, Yuan Zhi, and Seneca the same?
Yes! Polygala tenuifolia also goes by the names Yuan Zhi and Seneca.
Other less common names include Chinese Senega, Herbe au Lait, Klapperschlangen, Laitier, Milkwort, Mountain Flax, Mountain Polygala, Plantula Marilandica, Polygala de Sénéca, Polygala de Virginie, Polygala glomerata, Polygala japonica, Polygala Root, Polygala reinii, Polygala sénéca, Polygala senega, Polygalae radix, Polygala virginiana, Racine de Polygala, Racine de Serpent à Sonnettes, Radix polygalae, Rattlesnake Root, Senaga Snakeroot, Seneca Snakeroot, Senega, Senega Officinalis, Senegae Radix, Senega Snakeroot, Seneka, Snakeroot, and Snake Root.
What are its health benefits?
Polygala is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It’s thought that the root can empower the sleep process by discharging repressed emotions and relaxing the body. It’s often recommended for geriatric concerns because of its ability to improve memory and protect against cognitive ailments.
Known as the “will strengthener,” it is thought to relax the soul, calm the heart, and ease restlessness and anxiety. Adherents believe it improves creative thinking and enhances dreaming and manifested ideas. The Chinese name Yuan Zhi translates to “high aspirations.” It is valued for its reputed ability to provide protection to the brain.
Buddhist monks use it to for meditation and focus. Beyond brain and mood support, it has been used to support treatment of inflammation of the throat, nose, and chest and for lung conditions including asthma, chronic bronchitis, whooping cough and emphysema. The root is considered antibacterial, cardiotonic, cerebrotonic, expectorant, haemolytic, hypotensive, sedative and tonic.
So it provides well-rounded support?
Yes. Its long list of health benefits indicates that Polygala interacts with the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, renal, and integumentary body systems. The root is considered antibacterial, cardiotonic, cerebrotonic, expectorant, haemolytic, and hypotensive. Today, it’s generally recognized that it supports a healthy lifestyle approach related to issues with cardiovascular disease, immunity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, psychological stress, and neurocognition.
Is it used to support stress management?
Polygala offers strong stress management support. It helps maintain the balance of the nerves when you’re under stress. It’s thought to relax the soul, calm the heart, and ease restlessness and anxiety.
It is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help the body combat the effects of stress and enable the body to function normally during traumatic periods. One study suggests the extract can selectively modulate protein kinase A and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways, alleviating stress-induced dermatitis.
Its anti-stress actions are believed to operate on two separate channels. One compound, 3,6′-Disinapoyl sucrose (DISS), acts on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, reversing the damage created by chronic stress to the reward functions of the HPA axis. A second compound, 3,4,5-Trimethoxycinnamic acid (TMCA), appears to suppress norepinephrine (NE) in the locus coeruleus, the part of the brain responsible for physiological responses to stress and panic.
Does it support emotional stability?
In traditional Chinese medicine terms, Polygala balances the qi of the heart and kidneys, thereby enhancing emotional stability and promoting healthy mood. The extract appears to have antioxidant and immune system-supporting properties.
Can it help improve sleep?
It’s thought that Polygala root can empower the sleep process by discharging repressed emotions and relaxing the body.
Is it a nootropic?
Research shows that its extract can go beyond simply being neuroprotective and can promote neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation, pushing the plant into a special category of nootropics that supports new brain cell growth.
Polygala tenuifolia is also one of five nootropics extracts in our BrainStorm Nootropic Brain Health Kits.
Does it support brain function and creativity?
The Chinese name for Polygala, Yuan Zhi, translates to “high aspirations.” Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, it is valued for its reputed ability to provide protection to the brain. It is commonly used to rejuvenate the mind, support meditation, and increase clarity of thought. Adherents believe it improves creative thinking, enhances dreaming, and enhances manifested ideas.
So it supports treatment of cognitive deficits?
It’s used to support the treatment of cognitive deficits and improve learning and memory. It is often recommended for geriatric concerns because of its ability to improve memory and protect against cognitive ailments. Buddhist monks use it to support meditation and focus.
Does it support treatment of lung conditions and inflammation?
Polygala extract has traditionally been used to reduce inflammation and to promote a healthy respiratory system. Beyond brain and mood support, the extract has been used for the treatment of inflammation of the throat, nose, and chest and for lung conditions including asthma, chronic bronchitis, whooping cough, and emphysema.
Scientific studies support these traditional use. Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory activity of Polygala occurs via the reduced production of inflammatory cytokines, suppression of nitric oxide and Cox-2, and inhibition of the translocation of the master-regulator of inflammation NF-κB in macrophages (white blood cells).
Are its health benefits backed by science?
The short answer is “yes.”
A study in Neurochemical Research Journal suggests that Polygala can go beyond simply being neuroprotective and can promote neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation, pushing the plant into a special category of nootropics that support new brain cell growth.
A Phytotherapy Research Journal study says the extract “promotes the proliferation of neural stem cells, [which] may contribute to the therapeutic benefits of herbal medicines containing [Polygala] for the treatment of patients with insomnia, neurosis and dementia.”
A Public Library of Science Journal study cites preclinical evidence that it “exerts rapid-onset antidepressant effects by modulating glutamatergic synapses in critical brain circuits of depression and may be worthy of further evaluation as a safe substitute to other rapid-onset antidepressants [that] have unacceptable side effects.”
Therapeutic uses may include support for improved memory, improved focus, and protection against cognitive ailments. It has potential as an anti-psychotic and antidepressant, and it and can prevent cocaine-induced behavioral effects. It appears to have adaptogenic action on cortisol (the stress hormone).
How did you choose your Polygala supplier?
For each of the products we sell, company owner Michael Van der Linden and members of our team do substantial research, visit the source, and meet with the collectors and processors personally. We back up our faith in our source and our processors with testing.
Can you describe the plant?
Polygala tenuifolia is a perennial with upright or inclined many-branched stems growing to 8-18 inches tall. The flowers are purple with obliquely oblong lateral petals and have both male and female organs (hermaphrodite). The plant prefers well-drained soil. The Yuan Zhi root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The leaves are used as a tonic for the kidneys.
It’s found in prairies, grasslands, shrub forests, and thickets on mountain slopes at elevations between 500-2300 m. It is native in Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Sichuan China. It is also found in Korea, Mongolia, and Russia.
How do I consume Polygala extract?
Does Polygala contain caffeine?
What phytochemicals does it include?
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants. They help plants thrive or thwart competitors, predators, or pathogens.
Its flavonoids include 3′,4′-Dimethoxy-7-diglucosyl-O-methylenoxy-5-hydroxyl flavol.
Its glycosides include watterrose I, fallaxose C, and reniose A, and tetrahydrocolumbamine.
Its saponins include enuigenin, senegenin and senegenin III, polygalasaponin F (PGSF), tenuifoside A,and polygalasaponin, onjisaponin V, E, L, G, F, O, S, R, W, TH, TE, TF, TG, Gg, and Ng.
Its sterols include clionasterol, 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl clionasterol, chondrillasterol and 3β-O-β-pyranoglucosyl chondrillasterol.
Its terpenes include Yuanzhi-1.
What if I have more questions about Polygala?
You can read more scientific studies by visiting the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. Also feel free to reach out!