Codonopsis is a family of plants used in China and Korea to replenish vital energy, or qi. It's sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to Panax ginseng.

Codonopsis contains chemicals that seem to slow down the growth of cancer cells. It also seems to affect the immune system.

People use codonopsis for HIV/AIDS, cancer, obesity, diabetes, heartburn, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Codonopsis is sometimes called "poor man's ginseng" because it's used in commercial products as a substitute for Panax ginseng. But none of the active chemicals in ginseng have been found in codonopsis. They are not the same.

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