Introduction of Bi Cheng Qie:Mountain Spicy Fruit or Fructus Litseae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Mountain Spicy Fruit, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Litsea cubela(Lour.) Pers., ②.Piper cubeba L., 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 Mountain Spicy Fruit, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Fructus Litseae(Mountain Spicy Fruit).

Mountain Spicy Fruit:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Bì Chénɡ Qié.
 English Name: Mountain Spicy Fruit,Mountain Spicy Tree Fruit.
 Latin Name: Fructus Litseae.
 Property and flavor: warm, pungent.

 Brief introduction: The herb Fructus Litseae is the dried ripe fruit of Litsea cubela(Lour.) Pers., used to warm the stomach for relieving vomiting, epigastric and abdominal pain due to cold. The herb is commonly known as Fructus Litseae, Mountain Spicy Fruit, Bì Chénɡ Qié.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Fructus Litseae(Mountain Spicy Fruit) as the dried ripe fruit of (1). Litsea cubela(Lour.) Pers. It is a plant of the Litsea genus, the Lauraceae family, Ranales order plant. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Fructus Litseae(Mountain Spicy Fruit) as the dried ripe fruit of (1). Litsea cubela(Lour.) Pers., or (2). Piper cubeba L. The species Piper cubeba L. is a plant of the Piperaceae family (pepper family), Piperales order. The species Litsea cubela(Lour.) Pers. is a plant of the Lauraceae family (laurel family), Laurales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Litsea cubela(Lour.)Pers.


 Litsea cubela Lour.Pers.:growing tree Botanical description: It is commonly known as Shān Jī Jiāo. Deciduous shrubs or small trees, the tree grows up to 8~10 meters tall. Bark is yellowish-green when young, turns grayish brown when old, glabrous. Leaves are alternate, papery, aromatic, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 7~11 cm long, 1.4~2.4 cm wide, apex acuminate, base cuneate, entire, the uppersurface is dark green, the undersurface is pink green, pale. Glabrous on both sides, pinnate veins, 6~10 lateral veins on each side, fine, midrib and lateral veins protruding on both sides; Petiole is 6~20 mm long, slender, glabrous.

 Inflorescences are solitary or clustered, pedicels are slender, 6~10 mm long; Bract margin has eyelash; Each inflorescence is with 4~6 flowers, opening first or at the same time, 6 perianth lobes, broadly ovate; 9 stamens are fertile, filaments at mid-lower are hairy, glands at base of 3rd wheel with short stipitate; Vestigial pistil is glabrous; Female flowers in stamens of middle-lower are pubescent; Ovary is ovate, style is short, stigma is capitate.

 Fruit is subglobose, ca. 5 mm in diameter., glabrous, green when young, turns black when mature, pedicels are 2~4 mm long, apex is slightly thickened. Its flowering period is from February to March, fruiting from July to August.

 Litsea cubela Lour.Pers.:stems and leaves Ecological environment: The plant prefers wet climate and light. The plant grows in the mountains, thickets, sparse forest or forest roadside, water edge, at area with altitude of 500~3,200 meters above sea level. Stunted growth under insufficient light. It is suitable for acid red soil, yellow soil and mountain brown soil with the deep upper layer and good drainage. The herb is produced in the lower and middle reaches area of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang river area, southwest area, and Taiwan of China. It is also distributed in Southeast Asian countries.

 Growth characteristics: The plant litsea cubela grows in shrubs, open woods, or along roads, near water.

 Characters of herbs: Mature fruit is suborbicular, 3~6 mm in diameter. The outer skin is dark brown or black-brown, with fine reticulated wrinkles. At the base of the fruit, a small persistent calyx with 6 teeth is often seen, connected with a slender stalk, which is easy to fall off. The exocarp and mesocarp are soft and oily, while the endocarp is thin and crisp. It contains 1 seed, 2 cotyledons, yellow-brown, rich in oil, with tiny flourishing roots, facing the top of the fruit. The herb has a strong fragrance, slightly similar to old ginger, it tastes slightly spicy and slightly bitter. The herb of better grade is with round grains, strong odor, and strong tastes, rich in oil.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.inhibitory effect on Japanese blood sucker; ②.inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus typhi and Bacillus dysenteriae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa; ③.inhibitory effect on skin allergic reactions; ④.anti-hypoxia; ⑤.anti-arrhythmia effects.

 Medicinal efficacy: Warm the middle and disperses cold, promoting the circulation of Qi and analgesic, warm the kidney. It is indicated for stomach cold and nausea, cold pain in the epigastric abdomen, borborygmus and diarrhea, cold hernia and abdominal pain, cold dampness stagnation, turbid urine.

 Administration of Fructus Litseae (Bì Chénɡ Qié): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Fructus Litseae (Bì Chénɡ Qié)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:1.5~3 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~1 qian (about 1.5~3 grams), or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:prepare to finely ground herb powder,smear teeth or nose; ③.Internally:water decoction, 1~5 grams,or prepared to pill,powder.Externally:proper amount,smear teeth or nose.

(2).Piper cubeba L.


 Piper cubeba L.:fruiting branch Botanical description: It is commonly known as Bì Chénɡ Qié. An evergreen climbing vine, about 6 meters long. Leaves are alternate, elliptic ovate or long ovate, apex is acuminate, base is rounded or oblique cordate, entire, both surfaces are smooth and glabrous. Flowers are unisexual, dioecious, into solitary decemes, ca. 10 cm long; Flowers are small, white, no perianth. Drupe is globose, ca. 5 mm in diameter, dark brown. Fruiting period: August to September.

 Ecological environment and distribution: The plant was introduced and cultivated in the Zhujiang river area, and Hainan of China, it is also distributed in the Malay peninsula, and other areas of East South Asia.

 Piper cubeba L.:dried fruits Characters of herbs: The upper part of the fruit is nearly spherical, with a diameter of 3~6 mm. The surface is dark brown to black-brown, with reticulated wrinkles, and there is an inconspicuous small protuberant stigma remnant at the apex; There are occasional persistent calyxes and thin pedicels at the base, and the pericarp at the base is extended to form a thin straight pseudocarp stalk, with a length of 3~7 mm, its diameter is about l mm and there are longitudinal wrinkles on the surface. The exocarp and mesocarp are slightly soft, a hard and brittle kernel can be seen after removing the exocarp, and the endocarp is thin and brittle, containing 1 immature seed, 2 cotyledons, yellow-brown, rich in oil, and some are shriveled and wizened. The herb has a strong fragrance, it tastes bitter, or slightly spicy and slightly bitter. The herb of better grade has big grains, rich in oil and strong fragrance.
 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Bi Cheng Qie:Mountain Spicy Fruit or Fructus Litseae.

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