Introduction of Long Dan:Chinese Gentian or Radix Gentianae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Chinese Gentian, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source four plant species, ①.Gentiana manshurica Kitag., ②.Gentiana scabra Bunge., ③.Gentiana triflora Pall., ④.Gentiana rigescens Franch., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these four plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these four plant species, the features of the herb Chinese Gentian, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Gentianae(Chinese Gentian).

several growing plants of Gentiana manshurica Pin Yin Name: Lónɡ Dǎn.
 English Name: Chinese Gentian.
 Latin Name: Radix Gentianae.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The Herb Radix Gentianae is the dried root and rhizome of Gentiana manshurica Kitag., Gentiana scabra Bunge., Gentiana triflora Pall., or Gentiana rigescens Franch., used to clear heat, dry dampness, and purge the liver and gallbladder fire for the treatment of (1).damp-heat in the liver and gallbladder with morbid leukorrhea, jaundice, or eczema, and (2).liver fire with headache, hypochondriac pain, deafness or convulsions. The herb is commonly known as Radix Gentianae, Chinese Gentian, Lónɡ Dǎn.

 Gentiana is a perennial herb which is indigenous to the alpine and sub-alpine pastures of central and Southern Europe. Ringed and forked, the thick, wrinkled root is brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. The simple, upright, glabrous stem grows to a height of 120 cm, opposite bluish-green elliptical leaves have prominent curved veins. Three to ten yellow flowers arise together in the axils of calathiform (bowl-shaped) bracts after the root is about ten years old. The fruit is an oblong, two-valved capsularfruit.

 flowering plants of Gentiana with yellow flowers Flower and Fruit: The flowers are yellow, terminal, pedicled, and axillary in cyme-like false whorls. The calyx is deeply 2-parted. The corolla is rotated and divided almost to the base into 5 or 6 lanceolate tips. There are 5 stamens with 8 mm long anthers and 1 superior ovary. The fruit is 6 cm long and capsule-shaped. The most seeds are flat, oblong, or round, with a membranous edge.

 Leaves, Stems, and Root: Yellow Gentian is a completely glabrous perennial plant that grows up to 140 cm high. The rhizome has many heads, and the top of the rhizome can attain the thickness of an arm. The main root is the taproot, which grows up to 1 meter long. The stem is round, unbranched, hollow, and grooved in the upper region to finger thickness. The leaves are elliptical and bluish-green, have strongly curved ribs, and grow up to 30 cm long and 15 cm wide.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Gentianae (Chinese Gentian) is the dried root and rhizome of species (1).Gentiana manshurica Kitag., (2).Gentiana scabra Bunge., (3).Gentiana triflora Pall., or (4).Gentiana rigescens Franch., they are plants of the Gentiana genus (Gentiana Tourn.L. genus), the Gentianaceae family (gentian family) of the Gentianales order. These 4 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Gentiana manshurica Kitag.


 flowering plant of Gentiana manshurica Kitag. with lilac flowers Botanical description: Gentiana manshurica Kitag is commonly known as Tiao Ye Long Dan, or strip-shaped leaf Gentiana, or Shui Long Dan, and so on. This species differs from Gentiana scabra Bunge in that its leaves are thick, more or less coriaceous, and sessile, leaves on the upper part are linear-lanceolate to linear, the base is obtuse, the margin is slightly revolute (curl outward). 1 or 2 Flowers; calyx lobes are linear-lanceolate, longer than or as long as calyx tube; corolla lobe is acuminate at apex.

 flowering plant of Gentiana manshurica Kitag. with lilac flowers Ecological environment: The shrub grows in grassland on hillsides or mountain slopes, or humid areas, in areas at altitudes of 110~1,100 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the northern, northwest, middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the reaches of the Zhujiang River, and other areas in China.

 Growth characteristics: Gentiana manshurica prefers a cool climate, and soil requirements are not strict, but light clay and humus soil are appropriate. It should not be cultivated in areas with high dryness and strong direct sunlight.

 dried herb slices of Chinese Gentian root are in a pile Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Gentiana manshurica Kitag are mostly straight, lumpy or in long blocks, 0.5~1.5 cm long, and 4~7 mm in diameter, with 2~16 roots, growing in a cluster at the lower part, often less than 10. The root is about 15 cm long, and 2~4 mm in diameter; the surface is yellowish-brown or taupe brown (gray-brown), has twisted vertical wrinkles, fine transverse striation is conspicuous on the upper part and has a few protruding rootlets marks.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.gentiamarin has liver protection effect, lower the glutamicpyruvic transaminase, choleretic effect, it also has anti-inflammatory, inhibiting and killing plasmodium; ②.erythricine has a sedative effect, relaxes muscles, and lowers blood pressure; ③.enhance gastric juice secretion, promote digestion; ④.diuretic; ⑤.antibacterial; ⑥.anthelmintic action.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clearing heat and drying dampness, purging the liver of pathogenic fire and calm the frightened or convulsion. It is indicated for damp-heat jaundice, drenching pain when urinating, swelling itching of genital region, dampness heat and morbid leukorrhea, head swelling and headache due to excessive fire of the liver and gallbladder, red eyes swollen and painful, deafness and swelling of the ear, hypochondriac pain and bitterness in mouth (bitter taste), pyrexia, infantile convulsions and spasm, etc.

 Administration of Radix Gentianae(Lónɡ Dǎn): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Gentianae(Lónɡ Dǎn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 3~6 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1~3 qian (about 3~9 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:prepare to ground herb powder,mashed and apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction, 3~6 grams, prepared to pill, powder.Externally:proper amount, wash with water decoction, or prepare to ground herb powder and smear.

(2).Gentiana scabra Bunge.


 flowering plants of Gentiana scabra Bge.,with purple flowers Botanical description: Gentiana scabra Bunge is commonly known as Long Dan or Guan Yin Cao (means grass of Guanyin goddess mercy). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~60 cm tall. The rhizome is short, tufted with many slender roots, up to 30 cm long. Scapes (flower stalks) are solitary and unbranched. Leaves are opposite; sessile; leaves on the lower part are scaly, base connate, 5~10 mm long, leaves in the middle and upper part are more or less coriaceous, leaf blades are oval or ovate-lanceolate, 2.5~7 cm long, 0.7~3 cm wide, the apex is sharp-pointed or long acuminate, the base is cordate or circular, the upper surface is dark green, the undersurface is pale, the margin is revolute (curls outward), coarse and rough; 3~5 leaf veins.

 Flowers are many, grow in tufts terminally or in leaf axils, without pedicels; every flower has 2 lanceolate or linear-lanceolate bracts, 2~2.5 cm long; Calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), 2.5~3 cm long, the apex is 5-lobed, often evaginated outwardly or stretching, untidy; corolla is tubular-campanulate, royal purple (bluish violet or blue purple), 4~5.5 cm long, sometimes corolla throat has many flavovirens (yellow-green) spots, corolla apex is 5-lobed, lobes are oval (egg-shaped), the pleat is triangular; 5 stamens, insert in the middle of calyx tube, filaments are wide at the base; the ovary is narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, 1~1.4 cm long, ovary stalklet is about 1 cm long, style is short, stigma is 2-lobed.

 Capsularfruit hides inside, oblong, and petiolate. Seeds are many, brown, glossy, have reticulated patterns, with broad wings at both ends. Its flowering period is from August to September, and the fruiting period is from September to October.

 a colorful drawing of Gentiana scabra Bunge,root,plant and herb Ecological environment: The plant grows in grassland on hillsides or mountain slopes, roadside, bushes on river banks, and grassy marshland in forests, in areas at altitudes of 200~1,700 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the northern and northwest area, the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Gentiana scabra Bunge is mostly transverse, 0.5~3 cm long, and 3~8 mm in diameter, there are many stem marks, there are 4~30 roots at the lower part, often more than 20 roots, roots are slender and cylindrical, slightly twisted, 1~3 mm in diameter; the surface is ash gray (grayish white) or brown, with more obvious transverse stripes on the upper part, and vertical wrinkles and fine root marks on the lower part; the texture of the herb is crisp, easy to absorb moisture and soften, and the fracture surface is yellowish-brown, the xylem (wood part) is yellowish-white dotted, circular row, and central pith is conspicuous. The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes extremely bitter.

(3).Gentiana triflora Pall.


 a drawing of Gentiana triflora Pall.,flowering plant and herb Botanical description: Gentiana triflora Pall is commonly known as San Hua Long Dan, or Triple-Flowers Gentiana, Gentiana Trifolium. This species differs from the first two species in that the leaves on the upper and middle parts are more or less coriaceous, linear-lanceolate to linear, the base is circular. 3 flowers, rarely 5; Calyx lobes are narrowly triangular, shorter than calyx tube; corolla lobes are blunt at apex.

 flowering plants of Gentiana triflora Pall with purple flowers Ecological environment: The plant grows in grasslands, glade, and bushes, in areas at altitudes of 440~950 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the northern area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Gentiana triflora Pall is mostly straight, 1~5.5 cm long, and 0.7~1-5 cm in diameter. There are more than 4–30 roots on the lower part, often more than 15 roots, roots are 1~6 mm in diameter; the surface is yellowish-white. The transverse striations on the whole root are conspicuous.

(4).Gentiana rigescens Franch.


 plants of Gentiana rigescens Franch grow in a field Botanical description: Gentiana rigescens Franch is also known as Gentiana rigescens Franch. ex Hemsl., or Gentiana regescens Franch.ex Hemsl.var.stictantha Marq., it is commonly known as Dian Long Dan, Gentiana yunnanensis, Ku Cao (means bitter grass), Qing Yu Dan, Xiao Qin Jiao, and so on. Its different features from the first three species are: rosette is absent, cauline leaves are in many pairs, 2 types, leaves on the lower part are in 2–4 pairs, scaly, leaf blade in the middle and upper part is ovate-oblong, obovate or oval (egg-shaped), the base is cuneate, the margin is slightly revolute (curls outward). Flowers are many, tufted on branch top apically and capitate, sparsely axillary, surrounded in the uppermost bracteal leaf-like leaf clusters; calyx lobes are irregular, 2 and large, obovate-oblong, base is narrowing and shrink to claws; stamen insert on the lower part of the corolla tube. The seeds are tawny (yellow brown).

 flowering plant of Gentiana rigescens Franch with pink flowers Ecological environment: The plant grows in grassland and bushes on hillsides and mountain slopes, in forests and valleys, and in areas at altitudes of 1,100~3,000 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the Dongting Lake area, the west of the Zhujiang River area, southwest area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Gentiana rigescens Franch is nodular, has more than 1~10 residual stems, and more than 4~30 roots on the lower part, roots are slender, fusiform (spindle-shaped), slightly curved, and 1~4 mm in diameter; the surface is pale brown or tan (chocolate brown), there is a white duramen (wood core) in the center of the cross-section.
 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Long Dan:Chinese Gentian or Radix Gentianae.

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