Introduction of Hu Huang Lian:Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome and Rhizoma Picrorhizae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source 2 plant species, ①.Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell., ②.Picrorhiza kurroa Royle., 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 Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Rhizoma Picrorhizae(Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome).

dried herb segments of Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome Pin Yin Name: Hú Huánɡ Lián.
 English Name: Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome.
 Latin Name: Rhizoma Picrorhizae.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The Herb Rhizoma Picrorhizae is the dried rhizome of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell, used (1).to remove damp-heat for the treatment of acute dysentery and jaundice, and (2).to relieve consumptive fever in cases of phthisis and infantile malnutrition. The herb is commonly known as Rhizoma Picrorhizae, Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome, Hú Huánɡ Lián.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Rhizoma Picrorhizae (Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome) as the dried rhizome of species (1). Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell., or (2). Picrorhiza kurroa Royle., they are plants of the Neopicrorhiza (Picrorhiza Royle ex Benth.). genus, the Scrophulariaceae family (figwort family) of the Tubiflorae order. These commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell.

 plant and drawing of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell Botanical description: Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell is commonly known as Xī Zàng Hú Huánɡ Lián (means Tibet Picrorhiza). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 5~10 cm tall. The rhizome is stout, long conical, creeping, and 15~50 cm long, internodes are dense, often has dark brown scaly old leaves and terete rootlets. Leaves grow almost to the base and often accumulate into a rosette; leaf blades are spatulate (spoons-shaped) to oval (egg-shaped), 2~7 cm long, 1.5~3.5 cm wide, the apex is circular or obtuse, the base gradually narrowing into a short stalk, the margin except the base is crenature, glabrous, blackened when dry.

 Scapes exsert from leaves cluster, 5~15 cm tall, covered with glandular hairs, flowers grow densely into an apical spikelike coniform cyme; bracts, calyx are both piliferous, bracts are oval; 4 sepals, 5~6 mm long, one lobe is nearly linear, the other 4 lobes are almost lanceolate, narrowly oblong to narrowly elliptic; corolla is dark violet (dull purple) or watery blue (light blue), bilabiate, inside and outside are sparse pilose; 4 stamens, didynamous, insert in the middle of corolla tube; ovary is 2-loculed; ovules are many per anther cell, style is slender, stigma is capitate.

 Capsularfruit is ovoid, 9~12 mm long, the apex is 4-lobed. Seeds are many, oblong, glossy, and reticulated. Its flowering period is from June to August, and the fruiting period is from August to September.

 a drawing of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell,flowering plant with rootEcological environment: The plant grows in the rocks and stone piles in the alpine region at altitudes of 3,600~4,400 meters above sea level, or the sunny place with shallow soil layers. The plant is distributed in the southwest area and other areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: The plant prefers a cool and moist environment and fertile soil, is suitable for cultivation in high-altitude areas.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell is cylindrical, slightly curved, and occasionally branched, 3~12 cm long, and 2~14 mm in diameter. The surface is taupe brown (grayish brown) to dark brown, with protruding bud marks, round root marks, or radicula residues, the thicker ones have tight and dense transverse wrinkles, and the upper ends are densely covered with dark brown scaly petiole residues. The herb is light, the texture of the herb is hard and brittle, easily broken, and the fracture surface is pale brown or dark brown, with 4~10 white vascular bundles arranged in a ring. The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes extremely bitter. The herb of a better grade has thick strips, and the texture of the herb is crisp and tastes strong bitter.

 Pharmacological actions: The herb has ①.hepatoprotective, cholagogue function; ②.The antifungal effect, the water infusion of the herb Rhizoma Picrorhizae (1:4) in vitro, have different degrees of inhibition on Trichophyton violaceum, Trichophyton concentricum, Trichophyton gypseum, Achorion schoenleinii, Microsporon audouini, Microsporum ferrugineum, Microsporum lanosum, Microsporum gypseum, Epidermophyton inguinale, Epidermophyton rubrum, Kaufman-Wolf's Epidermis, Nocardia stella, and other dermatophytes, etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear dampness and heat, eliminate deficiency heat, remove bone steaming, clear heat and drying dampness, purge fire and detoxify. Indicated for dampness-heat dysentery, jaundice, hemorrhoid disease, Yin deficiency and bone steaming, bone steaming and hot flushes, hot flushes and night sweats, infantile infatile malnutrition with fever, dampness heat and dysentery, jaundice, vomiting blood, epistasis (nose bleeding), red eyes and swelling pain of eyes, carbuncle swelling ulcer sore, hemorrhoids swelling poison, etc.

 Administration of Rhizoma Picrorhizae (Hú Huánɡ Lián): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Rhizoma Picrorhizae (Hú Huánɡ Lián)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:1.5~9 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~1.5 qian (about 1.5~4.5 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick, or drop to eyes with infusing liquid; ③.Internally:water decoction, 6~12 grams, prepared to pill, powder.Externally:proper amount, prepare to ground herb powder and apply stick, or drop eyes with infusing liquid.

(2).Picrorhiza kurroa Royle.

 flowering plants of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora Pennell with yellow flowers Botanical description: Picrorhiza kurroa Royle is commonly known as Hú Huánɡ Lián. A perennial herb, piliferous. The rhizome is cylindrical, slightly ligneous (woody), and 15~20 cm long. Leaves grow near to the root (almost radicicolous), slightly coriaceous; leaf blades are spatulate (spoons-shaped), 5~10 cm long, the apex is pointed, the base narrowing into a winged sheathed petiole, and the margin is serrulate.

 Scapes are longer than leaves; spikes are 5~10 cm long, with a few bracts growing underside; bracts are oblong or lanceolate, equal length as calyx; 5 sepals, lanceolate, about 5 mm long, with marginal seta; corolla is shorter than the calyx, and apex has 5 equal lobes, lobes are oval, with marginal seta, the inner surface is sparsely pilose, the out surface is glabrous or glabrate; 4 stamens, filaments are slender, stretch beyond the corolla, glabrous; ovary is 2-loculed, style is slender, stigma is solitary.

 Capsularfruit is ovate-oblong, 6 mm long, sides are slightly slotted, and main locules are dehiscent. Seeds are oblong, 1 mm long. Its flowering period is in June, and the fruiting period is in July.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in alpine meadows. The plant is distributed in the west area of the Himalayas, China.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome of Picrorhiza kurroa Royle is cylindrical, straight or curved, and mostly unbranched, most of the herbs on the market are in small segments, 2~9 cm long, and 3~8 mm in diameter. The surface is sallow (grayish yellow) to yellowish brown, and glossy, coarse, with vertical wrinkles and transverse ring lines, and the part where the cork bark falls off is brown; there are residual leaf marks on the upper end, densely and scaly, reddish dark brown, or semicircular knot marks after falling off. The root marks are dotted, and there are many dots near the nodes. The texture of the herb is hard and brittle, easily broken, with stive and dust when it is broken; 4-7 vascular bundles dots are visible on the fracture surface, arranged in a ring. The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes extremely bitter and lasts. The herb of a better grade has thick strips, there is stive and dust when it is broken, and the fracture surface is somber black (gray-black) and tastes bitter.



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  • 1.Introduction of Hu Huang Lian:Figwortflower Picrorhiza Rhizome and Rhizoma Picrorhizae.

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