Introduction of Mu Dan Pi:Tree Peony Bark or Cortex Moutan.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Tree Peony Bark, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Paeonia suffruticosa Andr., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Tree Peony Bark, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Cortex Moutan(Tree Peony Bark).

dried herb slices of Tree Peony Bark are in a pile Pin Yin Name: Mǔ Dān Pí.
 English Name: Tree Peony Bark.
 Latin Name: Cortex Moutan.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold, pungent, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Cortex Moutan is the dried root-bark of Paeonia suffruticosa Andr., used (1).to clear heat and cool the blood for the treatment of febrile diseases with eruptions and bleeding, and (2).to activate blood and eliminate stasis for treating amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, traumatic injuries, boils, sores and appendicitis. The herb is commonly known as Cortex Moutan, Tree Peony Bark, Mǔ Dān Pí.

 Botanical source: The herb Cortex Moutan (Tree Peony Bark) is the dried root-bark of Paeonia suffruticosa Andr., it is a plant of the Paeonia genus, the Paeoniaceae family (peony family) of the Saxifragales order. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Paeonia suffruticosa Andr.

 flowering plants of Paeonia suffruticosa Andr with white flowers Botanical description: The plant, Paeonia suffruticosa Andr is a plant of the Paeoniaceae family (peony family) and Paeonia genus, it is also known as Paeonia moutan Sims., or Paeonia yunnanensis Fang., it is commonly known as Paeonia suffruticosa, Tree Poeny, Mu Dan, Shu Gu, Lu Jiu, Mu Shao Yao, Luo Yang Hua, etc. A perennial deciduous semishrub (small shrub) that grows slowly, the plant grows up to about 0.5~2 meters tall, or 1~2 meters tall. The root is thick, big and long, and the center is lignified. The stem is upright, the branch is thickset, the bark is charcoal grey (black-gray). Leaves are alternate, chartaceous (papery); petioles are 5~11 cm long, glabrous; leaves are usually biternate compound leaves, or pinnately compound leaf, leaves that approach to stem top are trifoliate; terminal leaflets are usually 3-lobed, 7~8 cm long, 5.5~7 cm wide, lobes are 2~3-lobed or undivided, the upper surface is green, glabrous, the undersurface is pale green (pea green), sometimes is glaucous (covered with white powder), sparse short soft hairs cover the leaf veins or is glabrate (nearly glabrous), petiolules are 1.2~3 cm long; lateral leaflets are narrowly ovate or oblong-ovate, 4.5~6.5 cm long, 2.5~4 cm wide, 2~3-lobed or undivided, subsessile.

 Flowers are hermaphroditic, single and terminal, 10~20 cm in diameter; pedicels are 4~6 cm long; 5 flower bracts, oblong oval, different in size; 5 sepals, broad-ovate, different in size, green, persistent; 5 petals, or polyphyll, obovate, 5~8 cm long, 4.2~6 cm wide, the apex is irregular undulating, purple, red, pink, roseous, yellow, pea green or white, quite variable; many stamens, 1~1.7 cm long, filaments are in violet red and so on, anther is yellow; the floral disc is cyathiform (cotyloid), coriaceous, several sharp teeth or lobes on the top end, completely wrap carpels, carpel cracks at maturity; 5 carpels, rarely more, free, green, densely covered with pubescence.

 Follicles are oblong, with ventral suture cracks, densely covered with yellow-brown hirsute. Its flowering period is from April to May, and the fruiting period is from June to July.

 flowering plants of Paeonia suffruticosa Andr with pink flower Ecological environment: Paeonia suffruticosa Andr is cultivated in various areas of China as an ornamental flower.

 After Paeonia suffruticosa Andr is changed from a wild species, it is continuously cultivated due to changes in environmental conditions and artificially. Except for flower color, flower type, and flowering date, there is variability in the morning and evening, as well as the shape of the plant, the length of the root, the thickness, and the color and shape of the leaves. Other aspects have also been mutated.

 Growth characteristics: The plant prefers a warm and humid climate, is resistant to coldness and drought, afraid of water logging, and high temperatures, and avoids strong light. It prefers deep soil layers, good drainage, and fertile and loose sandy loam or silty loam. Saline-alkali soil and clay soil are not suitable for cultivation. It should avoid continuous cropping, better be cultivated every three to five years.

 dried herb slices of Tree Peony Bark are in a pile Characters of herbs: Cortex moutan: the root bark is fistuliform (tubulose), semi-tubular or broken into pieces, with a vertically split fissuring, both sides mostly are inflexed (curl inward), 5~20 cm long, 0.1~1.5 cm in diameter, and a thickness of 0.1~0.4 cm. The outer surface is taupe (grayish-brown) or puce (purple-brown), and the part is pink when the coarse bark falls off, with slightly protruding oblong transverse lenticels and remnants after the rootlets are eradicated; the inner surface is brown or ravous (light grayish yellow), with fine vertical lines, and the glossy silver stars (paeonol crystal) are often visible. The texture of the herb is hard and fragile, easy to break, the fracture surface is flat, with powder, the outer layer is taupe (grayish brown), and the inner layer is pink white or light pink, slightly with circular ring pattern. The herb has a special strong aroma, it tastes slightly bitter and cool, puckery when chewed and has a slight benumbing tongue sensation.

 Scraped peony bark: there are knife scratches on the surface, the surface is reddish-brown or pinkish yellow, many shallow cross scars and rootlets remnants, and a very few taupe (grayish-brown) spots, which are coarse bark that has not been cleaned.

 The herb of a better grade has long strips, thick bark, no wood core (duramen), the fracture surface is pink-white, has mealiness (powdery or rich in powder), many glossy silver stars, and a strong aroma.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.The herb decoction has a strong inhibitory effect on subtilis, Escherichia coli, typhoid bacillus, etc; ②.significantly reduce cardiac output; ③.slightly reduces the oxygen consumption of the myocardium; ④.paeoniflorin and paeonol have antiplatelet aggregation effect; ⑤.paeonol can inhibit the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in experimental animals, and can inhibit mast cell degranulation and anti-allergic reaction; ⑥.antihypertensive effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: The herb can clear heat and cool blood, activate blood circulation and dissipate stasis, indicated for heat entering into blood phase due to fibrile or warm disease, hematemesis, epistaxis, heat hidden in Yin phase and fever in later stage of fever, etc.

 Administration of Cortex Moutan (Mǔ Dān Pí): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Cortex Moutan (Mǔ Dān Pí)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:6~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally: water decoction, 6~9 grams, or prepared to pill, powder.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Cortex Moutan shoud be used cautiously during pregnancy, or woman with profuse menstruation.




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