Introduction of Lou Lu:Uniflower Swisscentaury Root or Radix Rhapontici.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Uniflower Swisscentaury Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC., ②.Echinops latifolius Tausch., 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 Uniflower Swisscentaury Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Rhapontici(Uniflower Swisscentaury Root).

dried herb slices of Radix Rhapontici Pin Yin Name: Lòu Lú.
 English Name: Uniflower Swisscentaury Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Rhapontici.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Rhapontici is the dried root of Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC., used (1).to clear heat and counteract toxins for mastitis, and (2).to promote lactation in cases of galactostasis. The herb is commonly known as Radix Rhapontici, Uniflower Swisscentaury Root, Root of Broadleaf Globethistle, Lòu Lú.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Radix Rhapontici (Uniflower Swisscentaury Root) as the dried root of (1).Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC., or (2).Echinops latifolius Tausch. They are plants of the Stemmacantha genus, Asteraceae family (Compositae, daisy family), Asterales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC.

 flowering plants of Rhaponticum uniflorum L.DC. grow on slope with pinkish purple flowers Botanical description: Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC is also known as Stemmacantha uniflorum (L.) Dittrich., or Cnicus uniflorus L., it is commonly known as Qí Zhōu Lòu Lú, or Dà Huā Jì. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~100 cm tall. The rhizome is thick and stout, taproots are cylindrical, 1~2 cm in diameter, and the upper part is densely covered with residual petioles. Stem is upright, unbranched, tufty or solitary, striate, covered with white woolly hairs or short hairs. Basal leaves have long petioles, and petioles are 6~20 cm long and thickly woolly; basal leaves and lower cauline leaves are all elliptic, 12~25 cm long, 5~10 cm wide, pinnatisect is lyriform, lobes are often pinnately parted or parted, both surfaces are covered with arachnoid hairs or rough trichomes; leaves of the middle and upper part are smaller, with short stipitate or are sessile.

 Capitulum (flower head), solitary and grows apically on top of stems, about 5 cm in diameter; involucre is broad campanulate (broad bell-shaped), the base is concave; involucral bracts are in layers, with a dry membranous appendage, and bract in the outer layer is short, oval (egg-shaped), appendage on middle layer is wide, palmately split, bract in the inner layer is lanceolate, the apex is pointed; corolla is mauve (lilac), about 2.5 cm long, lower part is strip-shaped, the upper part is slightly expanded into cylindrical shape, the apex is 5-lobed; 5 stamens, anther polymerize; the ovary is inferior, style stretches out, stigma is 2-lobed, purple.

 Achenes are obconical, 5~6 mm long, tan (chocolate brown), with four edges; pappus is setiform, with plumelike short hairs. Its flowering period is from May to July, and the fruiting period is from June to August.

 flowering plants of Rhaponticum uniflorum L.DC. with pinkish flowersEcological environment: The plant grows on hilly slopes, under pine or birch forests, in areas at altitudes of 390~2,700 meters above sea level. The plant is distributed in the northern, northwest, western, northeast, south of the Yangtze River area and other areas of China.

 dried herb slices of Uniflower Swisscentaury Root Characters of herbs: The roots are obconical cylindrical, some of which are slightly twisted or flattened, usually unbranched, and the intact ones are 10~30 cm long, and 1~2.5 cm in diameter. The surface is dark brown or black brown, coarse and rough, has irregular longitudinal grooves and rhombic reticular cracks, and the cortex often has spalling cracks. The root head is enlarged, has a few stem bases and scaly leaf bases, and there is grayish-white fluff growing on the top. The texture of the herb is light and fragile, and easy to break. When it is broken, the cortex is often separated from the xylem (wood part). The cortex is dark, the xylem (wood part) is yellowish-white, and it is in a radial pattern, the wood rays are mostly broken, and the center of the xylem (wood part) has a stellated fissure due to decay, dark brown. The herb has a peculiar odor, and the taste is slightly bitter. The herb of a better grade is thick, dark brown, solid and firm, and does not disintegrate.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.anti-atherosclerosis; ②.antioxidant effect; ③.lipid peroxidation effect on tissue; ④.inhibition of type B monoamine oxidase activity in rats; ⑤.effect on animal immunity, etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and detoxification, eliminate carbuncle, lactogenesis, free tendons and promote blood circulation, activate blood circulation and lactogenesis. It is indicated for acute mastitis and swelling pain, carbuncle boils swelling pain, carbuncle-abscess, scrofula, tuberculous lymphadenitis, obstruction of milk, rheumatic obstruction, hemorrhoid complicated by anal fistula, scabies prurigo, red eyes swollen and pain, dysentery, ascarid abdominal pain, rheumatism arthralgia, lumbar sprain and feel pain in the chest, traumatic injury of fall, no milk after childbirth, etc.

 Administration of Radix Rhapontici (Lòu Lú): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Rhapontici (Lòu Lú)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:5~9 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), fresh herb 1~2 liang (about 30~60 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:wash with water decoction,or prepare to ground herb powder and apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction, 9~15 grams.Externally:proper amount,prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick with vinegar, or mash fresh herb and apply stick.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Radix Rhapontici should be used cautiously during pregnancy, should avoid using in conditions Qi deficiency, ulcer and pregnancy.

(2).Echinops latifolius Tausch.

 flowering plants of Echinops latifolius Tausch. with whitish flowers Botanical description: Echinops latifolius Tausch is commonly known as Yu Zhōu Lòu Lú or Huǒ Róng Cǎo. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to about 1 meter high. The stem is upright, unbranched or few branched, densely white woolly piliferous on the upper part, and the lower part is sparsely covered with arachnoid hairs. Leaves are bipinnatifid or parted, the upper surface is sparsely covered with arachnoid hairs or glabrous, the undersurface is densely covered with white woolly hairs, and the margin has short thorns; basal leaves have long petioles, and leaf blades are rectangular-circular obovoid, about 20 cm long; upper leaves gradually turn smaller, oblong oval to oval (egg-shaped), 10~20 cm long, the base is amplexicaular (stem-clasping).

 Compound capitulum, accumulates to spheric shape, about 4 cm in diameter; capitulum (flower head) is nearly 2 cm long, out involucral bracts are setiform (bristly), the base connate; out layer bracts of the inner involucre are spatulate, the apex is acuminate, the margin has castor-like cilia; bracts of the inner layer are narrowly rhombic to rectangular-circular, the apex is sharp-pointed, the part above the middle has cilia; corolla is tubular, 5 lobes, strip-shaped, pale blue, corolla tube is white; 5 stamens, anther polymerize; the ovary is inverted campanulate (inverted bell-shaped), tomentose, stigma is 2-lobed.

 Achenes are cylindrical, densely covered with tawny (yellow brown) pilose; pappus is about 1 mm long, lower part connate. Its flowering period is from July to September, and the fruiting period is in October.

 flowering plants of Echinops latifolius Tausch grow in fieldEcological environment: The plant grows on the forest edge, dry hillsides, and mountain slopes, grass to the sun. The plant is distributed in the northern, northwest, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The roots are subcylindrical, slightly twisted, varying in length, and 0.5~1.5 cm in diameter. The surface is khaki or taupe brown (gray-brown), rough and longitudinally wrinkled, with fibrous brown bristles on the top, which are residual petiole vascular bundles. The texture of the herb is firm, the fracture surface is coarse fibrous, the cortex is brown, and there are yellow and black chrysanthemum patterns on the xylem (wood part). The herb has a slight odor and tastes slightly puckery. The herb of a better grade has thick and long branches, the surface is earth brown (dark yellowish brown), and the texture is firm and solid, in regular length.



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  • 1.Introduction of Lou Lu:Uniflower Swisscentaury Root or Radix Rhapontici.

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