Introduction of Xuan Shen:Figwort Root or Radix Scrophulariae.
✵The article gives records of the herb Figwort Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., ②.Scrophularia buergeriana Miq., 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 Figwort Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Radix Scrophulariae(Figwort Root).
Pin Yin Name: Xuán Shēn.
English Name: Figwort Root.
Latin Name: Radix Scrophulariae.
Property and flavor: slightly cold, sweet, bitter, salty.
Brief introduction: The herb Radix Scrophulariae is the dried root of Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., used to clear heat, cool the blood, replenish Yin and counteract toxins for the treatment of warm diseases at the nutrient level with high fever and delirium or skin eruption, also for treating inflammation of the throat, boils and sores. The herb is commonly known as Radix Scrophulariae, Figwort Root, Xuán Shēn.
Botanical source: The herb Radix Scrophulariae (Figwort Root) is the dried root of ①.Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., or ②.Scrophularia buergeriana Miq., they are plants of the Scrophularia genus, the Scrophulariaceae family (figwort family) of the Tubiflorae order. This commonly used species is introduced:
(1).Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl.
Botanical description: Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., is a plant of the Scrophulariaceae family (figwort family) and Scrophularia genus, it is commonly known as Scrophularia ningpoensis, Scrophularia, Xuan Shen, or Ningpo figwort, or Chinese figwort, a perennial herb, the plant grows up to 60~120 cm tall. The root is hypertrophic, subcylindrical (nearly cylindrical), often branched at the lower part, root cortex is grayish yellow or taupe (gray-brown). Stems are upright, prismatic, grooved, smooth or with glandular pilose. Lower leaves are opposite, upper leaves sometimes are alternate, and all are stipitate; the leaf blade is oval (egg-shaped) or ovate-elliptic, 7~20 cm long, 3.5~12 cm wide, the apex is acuminate, the base is circular to subtruncate, the margin is serrulate, glabrous or there are hairs on the veins of the under surface.
Cyme is sparsely unfolding and conical; Pedicels are 1~3 cm long, and the inflorescence axis and peduncle are all covered with glandular hairs; the calyx is 5-lobed, the lobes are ovoid, the apex is blunt, the margin is membranous; Corolla is dark purple, the floral tube is obliquely urceolate, about 8 mm long, the apex is 5-lobed, unequal in size; stamens 4, didynamous, there is one staminode, scaly, attached to the corolla tube; Ovary is upper, 2-loculed, style is slender, stigma is shortly lobed. Capsularfruit is ovoid, the apex is shortly pointed, about 8 mm long, deep green or dark green, and the calyx is persistent. The flowering period is from July to August, and the fruiting period is from August to September.
Ecological environment: Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl. grows on mountain slopes and under forests. The plant is distributed in the north, the middle reaches of the Yellow River, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river, and southwest areas of China, it is also cultivated in areas.
Growth characteristics: The plant prefers a warm and humid climate, is resistant to cold and drought, afraid of water logging. The stems and leaves can withstand light frost. With strong adaptability, it can be cultivated in plain, hill, and low mountain slopes, requirement in the soil is not strict, better to cultivate in sandy loam with deep soil layers, loose, fertile, and good drainage. Avoid continuous cropping. It can be rotated with gramineous plants.
Characters of herbs: Figwort Root: the herb is subcylindrical, slightly thick in the middle, or thick at the upper part and thin at the lower part, and some are slightly curved like ram's horn, 6~20 cm long, and 1~3 cm in diameter. The surface is grayish yellow or tan (chocolate brown), with obvious vertical grooves or transverse lenticels, and occasionally with short fine roots or fine root marks. The texture of the herb is solid and firm, difficult to break, and the fracture surface is slightly flat, corvinus (jet black), and slightly shiny. The herb has a caramel smell, it tastes sweet and slightly bitter. Soak in water, the water is ink-black. The herb of better grade has thick strips, the texture of the herb is solid and firm, fracture surface is black.
Pharmacological actions: ①.inhibitory effect on staphylococcus aureus, Typhoid bacillus, and other bacteria; ②.lower the blood pressure; ③.slightly reduce blood sugar; ④.obviously increase coronary blood flow.
Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and cool blood, nourish Yin and eliminate internal heat, detoxify and dissipate stagnation. It is indicated for febrile heat and warm heat entering into Ying blood, body heat or fever, polydipsia (excessive thirst), dark red tongue, macula, bone steaming (hectic fever due to yin deficiency) and over-strained cough; dysphoria and insomnia (vexation or irritable, restlessness, could not sleep), impairment of body fluid and constipation, dry eyes and dim sighted, swelling and pain in the throat, scrofula and subcutaneous nodule, carbuncle ulcer and sores poison.
Administration of Radix Scrophulariae (Xuán Shēn):
Administration Guide of Radix Scrophulariae (Xuán Shēn)
①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~5 qian (about 9~15 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:mashed and apply or prepare to ground herb powder and apply; ③.Internally:water decoction, 9~15 grams, or prepared to pill, powder.Externally:proper amount, mashed apply or prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick.
Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Radix Scrophulariae should not be combined with black false hellebore.
(2).Scrophularia buergeriana Miq.
Botanical description: Scrophularia buergeriana Miq. is also known as Scrophularia buergeriana Miq. var. buergeriana., or Scrophularia oldhami Oliv., is a plant of the Scrophulariaceae family (figwort family) and Scrophularia genus, it is commonly known as Scrophularia buergeriana Miq, Northern Scrophularia, or Běi Xuán Shēn (it means northern figwort root).
Scrophularia buergeriana Miq. is extremely similar to Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., its main difference is: the root is cylindrical, with vertical wrinkles, and its surface is taupe (grayish brown), with fine roots and root marks. The leaf is small, and the leaf blade is oval (egg-shaped) to ovate-oblong, 5~12 cm long, and 2~5 cm wide. Cyme contract to spike, cymule (cymelet) has no peduncle, or with short peduncle up to 5 mm long, often alternate and not into a floral whorl, pedicel is about 5 mm long; calyx lobe is oval (egg-shaped), the corolla is yellow-green. Capsularfruit is oval (egg-shaped), and about 6 mm long.
Ecological environment: Scrophularia buergeriana Miq. grows in humid soil. The plant is distributed in the north, the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, and the lower reaches of the Yangtze river.
Characters of herbs: This species Scrophularia buergeriana Miq is very similar to the Scrophularia ningpoensis Hemsl., the main difference is: The root of Scrophularia buergeriana is cylindrical, with vertical wrinkles, the surface is taupe (grayish brown), with fine roots and fine root marks. The herb of better grade has thick strips, the texture of the herb is solid and firm, fracture surface is black.
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1.Introduction of Xuan Shen:Figwort Root or Radix Scrophulariae.