Introduction of Di Gu Pi:Chinese Wolfberry Bark or Cortex Lycii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Chinese Wolfberry Bark, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Lycium chinense Mill., ②.Lycium barbarum L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Chinese Wolfberry Bark, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Cortex Lycii(Chinese Wolfberry Bark).

dried herb segments of Chinese Wolfberry Bark are piled in a plate,and fruiting plant of Lycium chinense Mill with red berries Pin Yin Name: Dì Gǔ Pí.
 English Name: Chinese Wolfberry Bark.
 Latin Name: Cortex Lycii.
 Property and flavor: cold, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Cortex Lycii is the dried root-bark of Lycium chinense Mill. Or Lycium barbarum L., used for treating chronic fever and hemoptysis in cases of consumptive diseases, and also for diabetes. The herb is commonly known as Cortex Lycii, Chinese Wolfberry Bark, Dì Gǔ Pí.

 Botanical source: The herb Cortex Lycii (Chinese Wolfberry Bark) is the dried root-bark of Lycium chinense Mill. Or Lycium barbarum L., they are plants of the Lycium genus, the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) of the Solanales order. The herbal classics CHMM defined the Cortex Lycii (Chinese Wolfberry Bark) as the dried root-bark of Lycium chinense Mill. These two commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Lycium chinense Mill.

 growing trees of Lycium chinense Mill in a field Botanical description: The plant, Lycium chinense Mill is commonly known as Gou Qi, or Zhong Hua Gou Qi, is a plant of the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) and Lycium genus. A deciduous shrub, the plant is relatively shorter and smaller, and grows up to about 1 meter high. A vining plant (trailing plant), stem and branch are slender, over bark is gray, has short thorns, grow in the leaf axil, about 0.5~2 cm long. Leaf blades are smaller, oval (egg-shaped), ovate-rhombus, oblong oval, or ovate-lanceolate, 2~6 cm long, 0.5~2.5 cm wide, the apex is pointed or obtuse, the base is narrowly cuneate, entire, both surfaces are glabrous.

 Flowers are purple, the margin has dense marginal seta (tricholoma); the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), 3~5-lobed; the corolla tube and lobes are equal in length, and the lower part of the corolla tube is narrowing, then enlarged upward to funnelform (funnel-shaped), corolla tube and lobe are wide; 5 stamens, insert in corolla, slightly shorter than corolla, anthers are T-shaped and insert, filaments usually stretching out.

 Berries is oval (egg-shaped) or oblong, 10~15 mm long, 4~8 mm in diameter, and seeds are yellow. Its flowering period is from June to September, and the fruiting period is from July to October.

 Ecological environment: Lycium chinense grows on hillsides or mountain slopes, the ridge of a field, and hilly areas. It is distributed in most areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: Lycium chinense likes cold climates and has strong cold tolerance. When the temperature is stable and above 7 °C (Celsius, or 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the seeds can germinate, and the seedlings can resist the low temperature of -3 °C (Celsius, or 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Its germination begins when the temperature is above 6 °C (Celsius, or 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in spring. Lycium chinense can pass winter safely at -25 °C (Celsius, or -13 degrees Fahrenheit) without freezing injury. Lycium chinense has a developed root system and a strong drought resistance and can even grow in the arid desert. High yield can be obtained by ensuring water supply, and enough water is necessary for the flowering period and fruiting period. The low-lying land with long-term water logging is unfavorable to the growth of Lycium chinense, and even causes root rot. In an environment with sufficient light, the branches of Lycium chinense grow healthily, have many flowers and fruits, large fruit berries, high yield, and good quality. Lycium chinense mostly grows in alkaline soil and sandy loam, it is most suitable for cultivation in field of fertile loam with deep soil layers.

 dried khaki herb segments of Chinese Wolfberry Bark are piled together Characters of herbs: The root bark is cylindrical, grooved, or irregularly rolled, not of uniform size, generally 3~10 cm long, 0.5~2 cm in diameter, and 1~3 mm thick. The outer surface is khaki or sallow (grayish yellow), coarse and rough, with irregular vertical fissuring, easy to turn to scaly and fall off; the inner surface is yellow-white with fine vertical stripes. The texture of the herb is loose and crisp, easy to break, the fracture surface is uneven, the fracture surface has inner and outer layers, the outer layer is thicker and khaki, and the inner layer is ash gray (grayish white). The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes slightly sweet, then bitter. The herb of a better grade has thick tubes, thick bark layer, regular and neat, no duramen (wood core) and fragments.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.the decoction can inhibit typhoid bacilli, Paratyphoid A, and Dysentery fretella, and can significantly improve the IL-2 deficiency of mouse spleen cells caused by cyclophosphamide; ②.a strong antipyretic effect; ③.antihypertensive effect; ④.lowering blood sugar, lowering blood fat and stimulating the uterus.

 Medicinal efficacy: Cool blood in reduce steaming, clear lung and down bear fire, clear deficiency heat, purging lung fire, cool blood. It is indicated for Yin deficiency and hectic fever, Yin deficiency and consumptive heat, bone steaming and night sweat, lung heat and cough, infantile malnutritional stagnation and fever, vomiting blood, hemoptysis, epistaxis, hematuria, endogenous heat and consumptive thirst.

 Administration of Cortex Lycii (Dì Gǔ Pí): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Cortex Lycii (Dì Gǔ Pí)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~6 qian (about 9~18 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:mouth wash with water decoction,drip washing,prepare to ground herb powder and apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction, 9~15 grams, big dosage could be 15~30 grams.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Cortex Lycii should avoid ironware during preparation.

(2).Lycium barbarum L.

 fruiting tree branches of Lycium barbarum L with many red fruit berries Botanical description: The plant, Lycium barbarum L is also known as Lycium halimifolium Mill, it is commonly known as Ningxia Gou Qi, or Ningxia Wolfberry, a plant of the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) and Lycium genus. It is a shrub or grows into a large shrub or small tree after cultivation, and the plant grows up to 1 to 3 meters tall. The main stems are several, thick and thickset; branchlet has vertical ribs, with short thorns without leaves and long thorns with leaf and flower; fruiting branches are slender, usually, its tip is pendulous, cortex or out bark is ravous (pale gray yellow), glabrous. Leaves are alternate, or several leaves cluster and grow on short branches; petioles are short; leaf blades are lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 2~8 cm long, 0.5~3 cm wide, the apex is pointed, the base is cuneate or narrowly cuneate and extending download to petiole, entire, the upper surface is dark green, the undersurface is pea green (pale green), glabrous.

 Flowers are axillary, usually 1 solitary, or 2 to 6 flowers cluster and grow in short branches; pedicel (flower stalk) is thin; the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), 4~5 mm long, the apex is 2~3 parted, lobes are broad-ovate or ovate-triangular; corolla is funnelform (funnel-shaped), corolla tube is about 8 mm long, the apex is 5-lobed, lobes are oval (egg-shaped), about 5 mm long, pink or pale violet-red (light purplish red), with dark purple veins, a round of pilose grow in the tube where stamens insert; 5 stamens; 1 pistil, ovary is oblong, 2-loculed, style is linear, stigma is capitate.

 Berries are ovoid, elliptic, or broadly ovate, 8~20 mm long, 5~10 mm in diameter, red or orange-red, and the pericarp is pulpose. Many seeds, subrounded reniform and flattened, yellowish brown. Its flowering period is from May to October, and the fruiting period is from June to October.

 Ecological environment: Lycium barbarum grows on ditch banks, hillsides or mountain slopes, the ridge of irrigation fields, or along sluice-way, and so on. It grows in the wild field or is cultivated. The plant is distributed in northern, and northwest areas of China, and is also cultivated in other areas.

 Growth characteristics: Lycium barbarum has a strong adaptability. The annual average temperature in its main producing areas is 9.2 °C (Celsius, or 48.56 degrees Fahrenheit), the average temperature in January is -7.1 °C (Celsius, or 19.22 degrees Fahrenheit), and the average temperature in July is 23.2 °C (Celsius, or 73.76 degrees Fahrenheit). It is cold-resistant and there is no freezing injury when it passes winter at -25.6 °C (Celsius, or -14.08 degrees Fahrenheit). The plant likes light. Its soil requirement is not strict, it is tolerant to salt and alkali soil, fertilizer, drought, avoid water logging. It is suitable to cultivate in fertile neutral or slightly acidic light loam with good drainage, and the salt content of saline-alkali soil should not exceed 0.2%. It is not suitable for cultivation in strongly alkaline, clay loam, paddy field, and swamp areas.



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  • 1.Introduction of Di Gu Pi:Chinese Wolfberry Bark or Cortex Lycii.

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