Introduction of Xia Ku Cao:Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike or Spica Prunellae.
✵The article gives records of the herb Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source 2 plant species, ①.Prunella vulgaris L., ②.Prunella asiatica Nakai., and other 2 ornamental species, ③.Prunella grandiflora., ④.Prunella hispida Benth., 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 Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Spica Prunellae(Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike).
Pin Yin Name: Xià Kū Cǎo.
English Name: Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike.
Latin Name: Spica Prunellae.
Property and flavor: cold, pungent, bitter.
Brief introduction: The herb Spica Prunellae is the dried fruit-spike of Prunella vulgaris L.(family Labiatae), used (1).to clear liver fire for the treatment of acute conjunctivitis, headache and dizziness, and (2).to dissipate nodulation for treating acute mastitis, mumps, scrofula and goiter. The herb is commonly known as Spica Prunellae, Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike, Xià Kū Cǎo.
Botanical source: The herb Spica Prunellae (Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike) is the dried fruit-spike of Prunella vulgaris L., it is a plant of the Prunella genus, the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) of the Lamiales order.
Herbal classic book defined the herb Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike (Xia Ku Cao) as the fruit spike of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) plant species (1). Prunella vulgaris L.or (2). Prunella asiatica Nakai. These 2 commonly used species and other 2 ornamental species (Prunella grandiflora., and Prunella hispida Benth.) are introduced:
(1).Prunella vulgaris L.
Botanical description: Prunella vulgaris L is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Prunella genus, it is commonly known as Common Selfheal, or Xia Ku Cao, or Mài Suì Xià Kū Cǎo (it means wheat stalks prunella), a perennial herb, stem grows up to 15~30 cm high. The rhizome is creeping, fibrous roots grow at nodes. Stems are ascending, the lower part lays flat on the ground, many-branched from the base, obtuse prismatic, with shallow grooves, violet red (purplish red), covered with sparse coarse hairs or nearly glabrous. Leaves are opposite, stipitate (with petiole); petiole is 0.7~2.5 cm long, gradually turns short from the lower part upward; leaf blade is ovate-oblong or ovoid, differ in size, 1.5~6 cm long, 0.7~2.5 cm wide, the apex is obtuse, the base is circular, truncated to broadly cuneate, extending to petiole and narrowly winged, the margin has inconspicuous wave-formed teeth or almost entire.
Verticillaster closely arranged into terminal spurious spikes about 2~4 cm long, shorter during the flowering period, then gradually elongated; flower bracts are reniform or horizontally elliptical, with sharp-pointed tip; the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), up to 10 mm long, bilabiate, the upper lip is flat, the apex is almost truncated, with 3 inconspicuous short teeth, middle tooth is broad and big, the lower lip is 2-lobed, lobes are lanceolate, fruiting calyx closed during the fruiting period due to the lower lip 2 teeth oblique stretch;
Corolla is purple, bluish violet (blue purple) or reddish violet, about 13 mm long, slightly beyond the calyx, its length never reaches to twice the calyx length, the middle lobe is broad and big in the lower lip, there are fimbriate lobelets on margins; 4 stamens, didynamous, filament apex is 2-lobed, 1 lobe can develop and has anther, anther is 2-loculed, anther cell is biforked; the ovary is glabrous. Nutlet is tawny (yellowish-brown), oblong-ovate, 1.8 mm long, and slightly with grooves. Its flowering period is from April to June, the fruiting period is from June to August.
Ecological environment: Prunella vulgaris L grows in the wasteland, roadsides, grass on the hillside, and woodland edges. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in China. It spread throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as most areas of temperate climate.
Growth characteristics: Prunella vulgaris prefers a warm and humid climate, and cold tolerance. Its requirement in the soil is not strict, but better choose sandy loam with good drainage for cultivation, and not suitable to cultivate in heavy clay soil or low-lying wetland.
Characters of herbs: The dried fruit spike is rod-shaped, slightly squashed, 1.5~8 cm long, 0.8~1.4 cm in diameter, pale brown or red-brown, and a few have a short stem on the base. The whole spike is composed of persistent bracts and calyx in 4~13 whorls, each whorl has 2 bracts in pairs, in transverse reniform, about 8 mm long, about 1.2 cm wide, membraneous, apex is pointed tail shape, veins are obvious, white coarse hairs outside. Each bract contains 2~3 flowers, the corolla mostly falls off, the remained corolla is about 13 mm long, the persistent calyx is bilabiate, the upper lip is 3-toothed, the lower lip is 2-toothed and closed, and there are 4 nutlets inside. The fruit is ovoid, the apex has white protrusions, when the nutlet meets water, a white slime layer is formed on its surface. The texture of the herb is light and pliable, not easy to break. The herb has a slight odor and fragrance, and a mild taste. The herb of better grade has big spikes, brownish red or purplish red, singing when it is shaken.
Pharmacological actions: ①. Antihypertensive effect; ②. Antibacterial effect:According to the preliminary test in vitro, the decoction of spica prunellae has an inhibitory effect on Dysentery bacillus, typhoid bacillus, Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, streptococcus, and has a wide antibacterial spectrum; ③. Other functions: The decoction of spica prunellae can make the isolated uterus of rabbits appear tetanic contraction.
Medicinal efficacy: Clear fire, clear liver, brighten eyes, dissipate stagnation, detoxify, reduce swelling. It is indicated for red eyes and sore eye pain, photophobia tears, headache and dizziness, tinnitus, scrofula, galls, mumps, breast carbuncle sore, breast cancer, goiter, lymph node tuberculosis, mammary gland hyperplasia, hypertension, facial paralysis, muscle and bone pain, carbuncle furuncle swelling and poison, tuberculosis, acute jaundice type infectious hepatitis, acute or chronic hepatitis, metrorrhagia, morbid leukorrhea.
Administration of Spica Prunellae (Xià Kū Cǎo):
Administration Guide of Spica Prunellae (Xià Kū Cǎo)
①.Internally: 9~15 grams;②.Internally:water decoction, 2~5 qian (about 6~15 grams), prepare to paste or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:wash with water decoction or mashed and apply stick;③.Internally:water decoction, 6~15 grams, big dosage could be 30 grams,prepare to paste or prepared to pill, powder.Externally:wash with water decoction or mashed and apply stick.
(2).Prunella asiatica Nakai.
Botanical description: Prunella asiatica Nakai is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Prunella genus, it is also known as Prunella vulgaris L. var. albiflora Koidz., or Prunella vulgaris L. subsp. asiatica (Nakai) Hara, or Shān Bō Cài (means mountain spinach), or Cháng Guān Xià Kū Cǎo (means long corolla prunella), this species is very similar to Prunella vulgaris L., the difference is that: the plant is relatively thick, corolla grows significantly much beyond the calyx, about 2 times the length of the calyx, up to 18~21 mm long.
Ecological environment: Prunella asiatica Nakai grows in the wasteland, roadside, and grass on the hillside. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, in China.
Characters of herbs: The herb is similar to spikes of Prunella vulgaris, but the corolla is longer, about 18~21 mm.
Botanical description: Prunella grandiflora is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Prunella genus, it is also known as large-flowered selfheal, or big flower Prunella, Dà Huā Xià Kū Cǎo (means big flower prunella), a perennial herb; rhizomes creeping underground, there are fibrous roots on nodes. Stems are ascending, grow up to 15~60 cm tall, obtusely quadrangular, with flocculence hirsute. Leaves are ovate-oblong, 3.5~4.5 cm long, 2~2.5 cm wide, the apex is obtuse, the base is orbicular, entire, both surfaces are sparsely covered with stiff hairs, but hairs on under surface often fall off, the margin has marginal seta (tricholoma), the petiole is 2.5~4 cm long, dorsal ventral surface is flat, with bristles; a pair of leaves below inflorescence are oblong-lanceolate, sessile.
Verticillaster densely form terminal oblong inflorescence about 4.5 cm long, not directly connect with leaves below it, each verticillaster is held by bracts; bracts are broad and big, cordate (heart-shaped), apex has a pointed tip, gradually turn narrow and small upward, membranous, veins are radial, weave webs from margin toward the interior, sparse pilose cover veins on the out surface, the margin has marginal seta (tricholoma), the inner surface is glabrous; pedicel is short, about 1 mm long, with flocculence hard hairs. The calyx with calyx teeth is about 8 mm long, sparse hard hairs along veins on out surface, the inner surface is glabrous, the floral tube is 3 mm long, the limb is bilabiate (2-lipped), the upper lip is orbicular, about 5 mm long or wide, the apex is orbicular, with 3 teeth, teeth are broadly triangular, with small spiny pointed tip, lateral teeth are slightly longer, lower lip is oblong, 6 mm long, 3 mm wide, 2-lobed, lobes grow to the middle of the lip, lanceolate, with spiny pointed tip.
Corolla is blue, 20~27 mm long, corolla tube is 9 mm long, curved, inner surface near to base has insequent palea tenacle, the limb is bilabiate (2-lipped), the upper lip is oblong, 1.2 cm long and 0.7 cm wide, curving downward, the lower lip is broad and big, 3-lobed, the middle lobe is larger, the edge has corrugated lobe, lateral lobes are pendulous. 4 stamens, the front pair is longer, all extending under the upper lip, filaments are separated, oblate, glabrous, apex has an inconspicuous obtuse tooth, anther is 2-loculed, cell ends are divaricated. The style is filiform (threadlike), extending over stamens, the apex is equally 2-lobed, and the lobes are subulate (diamond-shaped). The floral disc is nearly flat-topped and wavy. Nutlets are orbicular, slightly knotty raised, and apparently grooved at the margin and on the back surface. Its flowering period is in September, the fruiting period is after September.
Ecological environment: Prunella grandiflora grows in a high humid environment, do not choose soil, cold-resistant. Geographical distribution: This species was native to Europe, and distributed from the Balkan Peninsula and West Asia to Central Asia. The plant was introduced and cultivated in Jiangsu of China.
(4).Prunella hispida Benth.
Botanical description: Prunella hispida Benth is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Prunella genus, it is also known as Prunella stolonifera H. Lév. et Giraudias, Prunella vulgaris L. var. hispida (Benth.) Benth., Brunella vulgaris L. var. hispida Benth., or Hard Hairy Prunella, Rigid Hair Prunella, or Yìng Máo Xià Kū Cǎo (means hard hairy prunella), a perennial herb, creeping underground rhizome has dense fibrous roots. Stems are upright, the base is often creeping on the ground, 15~30 cm tall, obtusely quadrangular, striate, densely covered with flat hard hairs with nodes. Leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 1.5~3 cm long, 1~1.3 cm wide, the apex is sharp-pointed, the base is circular, the margin is sinuolate serrature to crenature, both surfaces are densely covered with nodiferous hard hairs, sometimes somewhat fall off, lateral veins 2~3 pairs, not obvious, the petiole is 0.5~1.5 cm long, nearly flat, inconspicuous narrow wings grow near the base, covered with hard hairs; the terminal pair of stems and leaves directly hold the inflorescence or with a short distance, nearly sessile.
Verticillaster usually has 6 flowers, many flowers grow densely and compose terminal spikes, 2~3 cm wide and 2 cm long, each verticillaster is held by its bracts, bracts are broad and big, nearly cordate, 0.8~1 cm wide, the apex is acuminate with 2 mm pointed tip, out surface is densely covered with nodiferous hard hairs, the inner surface is glabrous, the margin is distinctly strigose, membranous, veins are radial, growing out from the base, apex is netted, more or less conspicuous; pedicel is extremely short, less than 1 mm long, with bristles. Calyx is purple, tubular-campanulate(tubular-bell shaped), with teeth about 1 cm long, dorsal ventral part is oblate, 10 veins, conspicuous, during which connected by reticular veins, veins are obviously with nodiferous hard hairs, teeth margin has cilia, the limb is bilabiate(2-lipped), the upper lip is flat, broad and big, orbicular, 6 mm long, nearly 5 mm wide, the apex is nearly truncate, with 3 pointed teeth, the middle tooth is broad and big, side teeth are thin and small, the lower lip is narrow, about 3 mm wide, 2-parted, lobes grow to the middle of the lip, lanceolate, with spiny pointed tip.
Corolla is dark purple to bluish violet (blue-purple), about 15~18 mm long, corolla tube is 10 mm long, the basal part is about 1.5 mm wide, gradually enlarged forwardly upward, slightly constricted at the throat, 4 mm wide, out surface is glabrous, there is a slight leaning palea (scale) hair ring near the base on the inner surface, the limb is bilabiate(2-lipped), the upper lip is oblong, about 5 mm long, about 4 mm wide, carinate (keel-shaped), concave, apex is emarginate, the ridge has a clear hard hairband, the inner surface is glabrous, the lower lip is broad and big, 5 mm long, 6 mm wide, 3-lobed, middle lobe is larger, orbicular, the margin is with corrugated lobelet, lateral lobes are oblong, small, pendulous. 4 stamens, the front pair is longer, all extend beyond the corolla tube, filaments are separated, oblate, glabrous, front pair filaments obviously have terminal subulate (diamond-shape) lobes longer than anther, the back pair is not significant, the anther is 2-loculed, cell ends are divaricated. The style is filiform (threadlike), slightly extending over stamens, the apex is equally 2-lobed. The floral disc is nearly flat-topped. The ovary is tan (chocolate brown), and glabrous. Nutlets are ovate-bead shape, 1.5 mm long, 1 mm wide, dorsal ventral part is slightly flattened, the top end is perfectly round, brown, and glabrous. Its flowering and fruiting period is from June to January of the following year.
Ecological environment: Prunella hispida Benth grows on the roadside, forest edge, and hillside grassland, in areas at altitudes of 1,500~3,800 meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in Yunnan and southwestern Sichuan of China. It also distributes in Sikkim.
URL QR code:
1.Introduction of Xia Ku Cao:Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike or Spica Prunellae.