Along with other members of the genus Cistanche, Cistanche deserticola is a noted source of the Chinese herbal medicine cistanche (Chinese: 肉苁蓉; pinyin: ròucōngróng), commonly called Rou Cong Rong. Pharmaceutical materials, known in Chinese as suosuo dayuan (Chinese: 索索大元), are produced by slicing the stems of the plant. Inner Mongolia is the top native-producing area of the species; annual production is about 70 tons. The stems are gathered in the spring, when the sprouts have not come out of the ground or have just come up, dried in the sun and cut into slices for medicinal use. Cistanche deserticola has been placed on CITES Appendix 2, a list of endangered species not banned from trade but requiring monitoring.[2] With increased consumption of cistanche, the population of the species has decreased and its area of distribution has shrunk. Aside from over-collection or indiscriminate collection, an important factor in the diminished supply of cistanche is a loss of the saxaul host, which is widely used for firewood.[3]