Introduction of Zi Cao:Arnebia Root,Gromwell Root or Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Arnebia Root or Gromwell Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Arnebia euchroma(Royle) Johnst., ②.Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb.et Zucc., 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 Arnebia Root or Gromwell Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi(Arnebia Root or Gromwell Root).

Lithospermum erythrorhizon:flowering plant Pin Yin Name: Zǐ Cǎo.
 English Name: Arnebia Root or Gromwell Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi is the dried root of Arnebia euchroma(Royle) Johnst. Or Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb.et Zucc.(family Boraginaceae), used for promoting eruption in cases of measles, and externally for treating burns, frostbite, dermatitis and eczema. The herb is commonly known as Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi, Arnebia Root, Gromwell Root, Zǐ Cǎo.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi is the dried root of Arnebia euchroma(Royle) Johnst., or Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb.et Zucc., they are plants of the Lithospermum genus, the Boraginaceae family of the unplaced order.

(1).Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb. et Zucc.


 Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb. et Zucc.:growing plants Botanical description: The Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb. et Zucc., is a plant of the Boraginaceae family and Symphytum genus, it is commonly known as "Lithospermum erythrorhizon,", "Zi Cao, Zi Dan, Zi Cao Gen(Purple Grass Root), Ying Zi Cao.", etc. herbs perennial, 50~90 cm high. Root coarse, thick, conical, slightly curved, often branched, unbranched, or with branches above, whole plant densely covered with white coarse bristles. Leaves alternate; Sessile; Leaf blade oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 3~8 cm long, 5~17 mm wide, apex acuminate, base cuneate, entire, both surfaces strigose.

 Racemes racemose, terminal or axillary; Flowers small, bisexual; Bracts lanceolate or narrowly ovate, 3 cm long, with coarse hairs on both sides; 5 calyx deeply divided near base, lobes linear, ca. 4 mm long; Corolla white, simple, 6~8 cm long, apex 5-lobed, lobes broadly ovate, laryngeal appendage hemispherical, apex slightly concave; 5 stamens, inserted slightly above the middle of corolla; filaments about 0.4 mm long; anthers 1~1.2 mm long; ovary deeply 4-lobed; style linear, 2~2.5 mm long; stigma globose, 2-lobed.

 Small nut ovoid, ca. 3 mm long, gray-white or yellowish brown, smooth, shiny. 4 seeds. Its flowering period is from June to August, fruiting period is from August to September.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Lithospermum erythrorhizon is resistant to cold, avoid high temperature, afraid of water immersion. It is better cultivated in calcareous loam, sandy loam, and clay loam.

 Arnebia Root:herb photo Characters of herbs: The herb is also known as hard gromwell root, the root is conical, twisted and branched, with a length of 7~14 cm and a diameter of 1~2 cm. The surface is purple-red or purple-black, rough with longitudinal stripes, and the cortex is thin and easy to peel off. The texture of the herb is hard and brittle, easily broken, the cortex of the fracture surface is deep purple, the wood part is large and grayish yellow. The herb has a special smell, sour and sweet taste. It is better to have long, thick, purple, thick skin and small wooden heart.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.contraceptive effect; ②.impact on the circulatory system; ③.other effects: mild antipyretic effect, enhance the tension and contraction of the small intestine.

 Medicinal efficacy: Cool blood, activate blood, detoxify, and promoting eruption. It is indicated for blood heat and excessive toxicity, macula, macula purplish-black, measles, measles without adequate eruption, vomiting blood, epistaxis(nosebleed), hematuria, purpura(peliosis, hemokelidosis), jaundice, ulcer, swelling and ulcer on the body surface, eczema, ulcers, burns due to hot liquid or fire.

 Administration of Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi(Zǐ Cǎo): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi(Zǐ Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:5~9 grams. Externally:proper amount, prepare paste or infusing in vegetable oil and smear; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1~3 qian(about 3~9 grams), or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:prepare paste and smear apply;③.Internally:water decoction, 3~9 grams, prepared to powder. Externally:proper amount, prepare to paste or oil paste and smear apply.

(2).Arnebia euchroma (Royle) Johnst.


 Arnebia euchroma Royle Johnst.:flowering plant Botanical description: The Arnebia euchroma (Royle) Johnst., is a plant of the Boraginaceae family and Arnebia genus, it is commonly known as "Lithospermum euchroma Royle", "Arnebia euchroma", "Arnebia Root", "Ruan Zi Cao", etc. Herbs perennial, 15~40 cm tall. Whole plant covered by white or light yellow long hard hair. Root stout.

 Stem erect, single or base divided into dichotomies, base with stem sheath formed by residual leaf base. Basal leaves tufted, linear lanceolate or linear, 5~20 cm long, 5~15 cm wide, apex short acuminate, base unsheathed. Without a petiole.

 Sickle cyme dense in stem leaf axils, 2~6 cm long; Flowers bisexual, bracts lobed, lanceolate, hirsute; Calyx short and simple, 5-lobed, lobes narrowly linear, both sides densely light yellow bristles; Corolla simple campanulate, purple or mauve, 1~1.5 cm long, lobes elliptic, spreading; Lateral slightly white, throat and base smooth, no appendage; 5 stamens, filaments short or absent, closed in the middle of corolla or larynx; Ovary 4-deep cleft, style slender, apex 2-lobed, stigma 2-obovate.

 Small nuts are broadly ovate, brown, 3.5 mm long and about 3 mm wide. Rough mesh and a few warts. Its flowering period is from June to July, fruiting period is from August to September.

 Characters of herbs: The herb is also known as soft gromwell root, the roots are irregular long cylindrical, twisted, 7~20 cm long and 1~2.5 cm in diameter. The surface is purple-red or purple-brown, and the cortex is loose and strip-shaped, often with more than 10 layers overlapping and easy to peel off. Some have divergent stem residues at the top. The texture of the herb is loose and soft, easily broken, the fracture surface is irregular, the wood part is small, yellow or yellowish white. The herb has a specific smell, it tastes bitter and puckery. The herb which stripe is long, thick, purple, thick cortex and small wood pith is better.
 
Herbs Clearing Heat and Cooling the Blood.

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  • 1.Introduction of Zi Cao:Arnebia Root,Gromwell Root or Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi.

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