Semen Cuscutae herb benefit and side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
October 19 2017

Semen Cuscutae, or Cuscuta seed, is a parasitic vine that wraps around other plants for nourishment. Cuscuta seed is used in China for kidney deficiency. Semen Cuscutae has a high content of flavonoids and has strong antioxidant properties. Cuscuta seed has been found in studies to have positive effects on sperm health and motility, and invigorates the reproductive system. I could not find any human studies involving cuscuta seed.

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Am J Chinese Medicine. 2014. Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Cuscuta chinensis Seeds in Mice. The seeds of Cuscuta chinensis, Cuscutae Semen, are commonly used as a medicinal material for treating the aching and weakness of the loins and knees, tonifying the defects of the liver and the kidney, and treating the diarrhea due to hypofunction of the kidney and the spleen. Since aching and inflammation are highly correlated with such diseases, the aim of this study is to investigate the possible antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of the seeds of C. chinensis. The antinociceptive effect of the seeds of C. chinensis was evaluated via the acetic acid-induced writhing response and formalin-induced paw licking methods. The anti-inflammatory effect was evaluated via the λ-carrageenan induced mouse paw edema method. The results found that 100 and 500 mg/kg of the methanol extract of the seeds of C. chinensis( CC MeOH ) significantly decreased the writhing response in the acetic acid assay. Additionally, 20-500 mg/kg of CC MeOH significantly decreased licking time at the early (20 and 100 mg/kg, p < 0.001) and late phases (100 mg/kg) of the formalin test, respectively. Furthermore, CC MeOH (100 and 500 mg/kg) significantly decreased edema paw volume four hours after λ-carrageenan had been injected. The results in the following study also revealed that the anti-inflammatory mechanism of CC MeOH may be due to declined levels of NO and MDA in the edema paw by increasing the activities of SOD, GPx and GRd in the liver. In addition, CC MeOH also decreased IL-1β, IL-6, NF-κB, TNF-α, and COX-2 levels. This is the first study to demonstrate the possible mechanisms for the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of CC MeOH in vivo. Thus, it provides evidence for the treatment of Cuscutae Semen in inflammatory diseases.

Parkinson's disease
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014. Neuroprotective effects of cuscutae semen in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Results suggest that CS may be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as PD.

Semen Cuscutae studies
Effects of flavonoids from Semen Cuscutae on the reproductive system in male rats.
Shantou University School of Medicine, China. Asian J Androl. 2000.
Flavonoids were obtained from the semen of Cuscuta sinensis through solvent extraction and polyamide columnar chromatography; Effect of Semen Cuscutae on the reproductive organs was assessed in immature rats. Rats were administered Semen Cuscutae through gastric gavage at a dose of 300 mg/kg per day for 7 days and the weights of testis, epididymis, seminal vesicle and pituitary gland were then observed; To observe the effect of Semen Cuscutae on the reproductive endocrine function: same dose level of Semen Cuscutae was given to male rats of different age groups for 7 days; on day 8, the plasma testosterone (T), estradiol (E2) and LH were determined by RIA, the specific binding of LH was estimated and the testes were weighed. Effect of Semen Cuscutae on LH secretion was assessed in vitro on cultured adenohypophysis. (Effect of Semen Cuscutae on T secretion was assessed in vitro on Leydig cell culture. Semen Cuscutae increased the weights of testis, epididymis and pituitary gland, and stimulated T and LH secretion both in vitro and in immature rats. Semen Cuscutae invigorates the reproductive system and reproductive endocrine function in male rats.

Effects of semen Cuscutae, rhizoma Curculiginis, radix Morindae officinalis on human spermatozoan's motility and membrane function in vitro
Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1997.
To observe the effects of Semen Cuscutae and Radix Morindae Officinalis (RMO) on human sperm motility in vitro and cytomembrane function. The sperm motility improved markedly and sperm membrane function became more stabilized after incubation, the Semen Cuscutae had best effect, RMO was relatively poor. Semen Cuscutae decoction is an effective promoting preparation for sperm motility and the membrane function stabilized. Therefore, Semen Cuscutae may be beneficial in treating male sterility and may raise success rate in artificial insemination.

Quantitative analysis of semen Cuscutae
Second Military Medical University, Shanghai.
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1991.
In this paper, the quantitative analysis of the total flavone in 7 species revealed the contents: Semen Cuscutae Chinensis (3.0%), Semen Cuscutae Australis (3.2%) as compared with Semen Cuscutae Europaea (4.5%). Semen Cuscutae Chinensis has the highest content of polysaccharide of about 5-6%. The experimental results provide a scientific basis the rational use of Semen Cuscutae.

Additional articles of interest
Resveratrol is becoming quite popular due to some studies in mice that showed it to enhance lifespan. Rhodiola is an herb used for energy, so is Royal jelly. Saw palmetto has several phytosterols and is found in prostate products. dmae is a methyl donor. 5-HTP can cause sexual inhibition.

List of herbs for health and medical conditions. List of Chinese herbs, list of Ayurvedic herbs.

Information on semen collection
Semen analysis initiates the evaluation of the male partner of an infertile couple, and is generally the first test ordered when a couple presents with concerns of infertility.

For men undergoing a fertility check-up, a semen specimen obtained at home rather than in a medical clinic is adequate for analysis. The results are the same for either collection location. Many men find a medical office less than ideal for producing a semen specimen.

Semen health
Fertil Steril. December 2013. Semen quality in relation to antioxidant intake in a healthy male population. In a population of healthy young men, carotenoid intake was associated with higher sperm motility and, in the case of lycopene, better sperm morphology. Our data suggest that dietary carotenoids may have a positive impact on semen quality.

J Complement Integr Med. 2012. Efficacy of aphrodisiac plants towards improvement in semen quality and motility in infertile males. Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. In the present study, herbal composition prepared by using medicinal plants having aphrodisiac potentials was administered orally to the albino rats for 40 days and to the oligospermic patients for 90 days in order to prove the efficacy of herbal composition. Herbal composition was the mixture (powder form) of the medicinal plants namely, Mucuna pruriens, Chlorophytum borivillianum, and Eulophia campestris. In the neem oil treated albino rats, there was significant reduction in almost all the parameters viz. body weight, testes and epididymes weight, sperm density and motility, serum levels of testosterone, FSH, and LH compared with control rats. Treatment with said herbal composition for 40 days results significant increased in the body weight, testis, and epididymes weight in rats. Concomitantly the sperm motility and the sperm density were significantly increased. After 90 days of treatment with this herbal composition, sperm density vis-a-vis motility was increased in oligozoospermic patients as a result of elevation in serum testosterone levels. No side effects were noticed during the entire duration of the trial.

Q. I am interested in increasing semen volume. Are there any credible study that suggests that there is a product that tends to increase semen volume.
   A. See sperm for more information.