Introduction of Ku Shen:Light-yellow Sophora Root or Radix Sophorae Flavescentis.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Light-yellow Sophora Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Sophora flavescens Ait., 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 Light-yellow Sophora Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Sophorae Flavescentis(Light-yellow Sophora Root).

dried herb slices of Light-yellow Sophora Root are in a pile Pin Yin Name: Kǔ Shēn.
 English Name: Light-yellow Sophora Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Sophorae Flavescentis.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The Herb Radix Sophorae Flavescentis is the dried root of Sophora flavescens Ait., used to clear heat, dry dampness, kill parasitic worms and induce diuresis for treating acute dysentery, jaundice, morbid leukorrhoea, and externally for eczema and scabies. The herb is commonly known as Radix Sophorae Flavescentis, Light-yellow Sophora Root, Kǔ Shēn.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Sophorae Flavescentis (Light-yellow Sophora Root) is the dried root of Sophora flavescens Ait., it is a plant of the Sophora Genus, the Fabaceae family (Leguminosae, legume, pea family) of the Fabales order. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Sophora flavescens Ait.

 growing plants of Sophora flavescens Ait. with white flower spikes Botanical description: Sophora flavescens Ait is also known as Sophora angustifolia Zucc., a plant of the Fabaceae family (Leguminosae, legume, pea family) and Sophora genus, it is commonly known as Sophora flavescens, Light yellow Sophora, or shrubby sophora. A deciduous subshrub, the plant grows up to 1.5~3 meters high. The root is cylindrical, and the outer bark is yellowish-white. Stems are upright, many-branched, have vertical grooves; young branches are covered with sparse hairs and turn glabrous later. Imparipinnate leaves, 20~25 cm long, alternate; 15~29 leaflets, leaf blades are lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 3~4 cm long, 1.2~2 cm wide, the apex is acuminate, the base is circular, has a short petiole, entire, the back surface is covered with appressed dense pilose; stipule (peraphyllum) is linear.

 flowering plant of Sophora flavescens Ait with a small yellow flower. Racemes are terminal, 15~20 cm long, covered with short pubescence, bracts are linear; the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), oblate, 6~7 cm long, slightly obliquely, the apex is 5-lobed; corolla is papilionaceous (butterfly-shape), light yellowish-white; vexilla is spatulate (spoons-shaped), alae (winged stem) has no ears, as long as tropis (keel pelals); 10 stamens, filaments are free; 1 pistil, ovary is superior, ovary stalklet is covered with fuzz (fine hairs), style is circular.

 Legumes (pods) are linear, have a long rostrum (beak) at the front end, not cracking at maturity, and 5~8 cm long. The seeds are usually 3 to 7 grains, and the seeds are slightly shriveled, black, and look like an inconspicuous string of beads, sparsely covered with pubescence. The flowering period is from May to July, and the fruiting period is from July to September.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in sandy land or sunny grassland on hillsides and mountain slopes, and gully sides. The plant is distributed throughout areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: The soil requirements are not strict, the plant can grow in general sandy loam and clay loam, it is a deep-rooting plant, should choose a plot with a low groundwater level, and good drainage for planting. Seedlings of the same year mostly are not flowering, in winter the leaves turn yellow and fall off and enter dormancy, in the next spring, the plant turns green and grows again. In June, the buds bloom, the fruits mature from July to mid-August, and the annual vegetation period is about 210 days.

 dried herb slices of Light-yellow Sophora Root Characters of herbs: The root is long cylindrical, often branched at the lower part, 10~30 cm long, and l~2.5 cm in diameter. The surface is brown to taupe brown (grayish brown), has vertical wrinkles and transverse lenticels. The cork bark is thin, often broken and reflexed (rolled back), and easy to peel off, revealing the yellow inner bark. The texture of the herb is hard, not easily broken, and the fracture surface is fibrous. The slices are 3~6 mm thick, and the cross-section is yellow-white, has radial veins. The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes bitter. The herb of a better grade has uniform strips, and the cross-section is yellow white, and has a extremely bitter taste.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.Diuretic effect; ②.Resistance to pathogens: a high concentration of decoction in the test tube, has an inhibitory effect on tuberculosis bacilli. Decoction 8%, water infusion (1:3) in vitro have different degrees of inhibition on dermatophytes.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and drying dampness, insecticide, diuretic. It is indicated for heat dysentery, hemafecia, jaundice and urodialysis, leukorrhea with reddish discharge, swelling and itching of the genital region, eczema, wet sores, skin itching, scabies and leprosy, externally for trichomonas vaginitis.

 Administration of Radix Sophorae Flavescentis (Kǔ Shēn): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Sophorae Flavescentis (Kǔ Shēn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:4.5~9 grams. Externally:proper amount,wash the affected area with water decoction; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:wash with water decoction; ③.Internally:water decoction, 3~10 grams, prepared to pill, powder.Externally:proper amount,fumigation wash with water decoction,or prepare to ground herb powder and apply stick, or infusing in wine and smear.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Radix Sophorae Flavescentis should not be combined with black false hellebore.




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  • 1.Introduction of Ku Shen:Light-yellow Sophora Root or Radix Sophorae Flavescentis.

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