Introduction of Lou Gu:Mole Cricket or Gryllotalpa.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Mole Cricket, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its source two insect species, ①.Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure., ②.Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois., with a detailed introduction to the features of these two insect species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two insect species, the features of the herb Mole Cricket, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Gryllotalpa(Mole Cricket).

a insect sample of Gryllotalpa Pin Yin Name: Lóu Gū.
 English Name: Mole Cricket.
 Latin Name: Gryllotalpa.
 Property and flavor: cold, salty, mild toxic.

 Brief introduction: The herb Gryllotalpa is the dried body of Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure or Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois, a diuretic for treating severe edema, ascites, and retention of urine. The herb is commonly known as Gryllotalpa, Mole Cricket, Chinese Mole Cricket, African Mole Cricket, Lóu Gū.

 Animal source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Gryllotalpa (Mole Cricket) as the dried body of the species (1). Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure., or (2). Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois. They are insects of the Grylloidea family (Gryllotalpidae family) of the Orthoptera order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure.

 a Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure crawling out from soil Insect description: Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure is commonly known as Gryllotalpa unispina, Huá Běi Lóu Gū, mole cricket, Tǔ Gǒu (means a Dog in soil).

 a colorful drawing of Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure. Adult: the female adult insect is 45~50 mm long, and the male adult insect is 39~45 mm long. The shape is similar to Gyllotalpa africana, but the body is yellowish-brown to dark brown, front chest backplate center has 1 cordate red spot. The back side of the metathoraeic tibia internal edge has 1 volitant sting. The abdomen is nearly cylindrical, the back is dark brown, the ventral part is yellowish-brown, and the caudate beard is as long as the body.

 a colorful drawing of Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure which is digging tunnels under ground of a grass field Egg: oval. Lengths of eggs at the first delivery are 1.6~1.8 mm wide, 1.1~1.3 mm long, before hatching, the sizes are 4~2.8 mm long, 1.5~1.7 mm wide. It is yellowish-white at birth, turns tawny (yellow-brown) later and charcoal gray before hatching.

 Nymphs: similar to adults, small, cream white at the initial incubation, turns yellow-brown after two instars, and turns the same color as adult insects after five instars or six instars.

 The main difference between Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure and Gyllotalpa africana is: the insect body is big, 3.9~4.5 cm long, the color is slightly shallow, the abdomen is cylindraceous, the back side of metathoraeic tibia internal edge has 1 volitant sting, sometimes disappear.

 a big Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure craws on ground beside some plants Ecological environment: The insect lives all over China, but mainly in the northern areas, north of 32 degrees latitude. Gryllotalpa unispina, is a kind of omnivorous insect, it can harm a variety of garden plants and flowers, fruit, and trees, and a variety of tuber and bulb, and reed plant, mainly biting the underground part of the plant. The adults and nymphs bite the seedling roots and young stems of plants, and at the same time, the adults and nymphs dig tunnels under the soil to separate the seedling roots and the seedlings, causing the death of the seedlings, resulting in the seedling bed lack of seedlings and ridging.

 Characters of herbs: The body of the insect is slightly larger, 3.9~4.5 cm long, the body color is slightly lighter, the abdomen is cylindrical, and the dorsal side internal edge of the metathoraeic tibia has 1 volitant sting.

(2).Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois.

 a Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois craws on ground Insect description: Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois is commonly known as Nán Fāng Lóu Gū (means South Gryllotalpa), or Fēi Zhōu Lóu Gū (means African Gryllotalpa). The adult insect is pale yellowish brown or darkish brown, the whole body is densely covered with short soft hairs. The body length of an adult insect is 2.8~3.3 cm, taupe, abdominal color is relatively shallow. The head is conical, darkish brown, antennae are filamentous. Compound eyes are oval (egg-shaped), and yellowish brown. Mandibulate mouthparts(chewing mouth parts). Protergum is hard and enlarged, oval (egg-shaped), and has a sunken longitudinal groove in the center of the back. The forewings are grayish brown, leathery, soft and short, yellowish brown, the hind wings are big, membraneous and transparent, pale yellow, fan-shaped, exceeding the end of the abdomen. The end of the abdomen has 1 pair of caudate whiskers. The anterior foot can exhume or dig, and the posterior foot has 4 spaces on the back and medial side of the shin joint. The male adult insect is 2.8~3.2 cm long, the female insect is 3.2~3.4 cm long. The posterior plate of the anterior chest is peltate (shield-shaped) and has a fusiform region with fine hairs in the center. The forewings are yellowish-brown, with no articulator, and the hind wings are folded into a strip, slightly longer than the end of the abdomen.

 a Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois laying on on its back on the ground. Ecological environment: South Gryllotalpa lives in courtyards, fields, and damp places, especially in places where organic fertilizers have been applied in large quantities, nocturnal, and has a strong habit of phototaxis. The insect is distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, northwest, Hainan, Taiwan, and other areas of China, it is also distributed in Oceania, Hawaii, and other areas.

 Gryllotalpa africana Palisot et Beauvois is a major pest in the world. It is an omnivorous insect, the insect and nymphs all eat crops. It feeds on all kinds of tree seedlings and freshly picked seeds, and digs holes in the ground to arch the seedlings down, causing great economic losses to the nursery garden.

 Growth characteristics: South Gryllotalpa habitat in courtyards, fields, and wet places, especially in the area where a large amount of organic fertilizer is not used, many and dense. It hides in the daytime and comes out at night, has a strong phototropic habit, most of them are active in spring and autumn, often comes out at night and digs from the soil surface into tunnels, hides in holes during the daytime, and can fly.

 several dried yellow brownish herb of Mole Cricket Characters of herbs: The body of the insects is mostly broken, and the intact ones are 2~3.3 cm long, and 4~10 mm wide. The head is tea brown and mixed with dark brown; The compound eye is black and shiny; The membranous wings are mostly broken, the foot is mostly broken, and there are 3~4 spines on the dorsal inner edge of the metathoraeic tibia. The abdomen is nearly fusiform (spindle-shaped), knotted, shriveled, and pale yellow. The texture of the herb is soft and easy to break, and has a special odor when it is crushed.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.diuretic effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: Alleviate water retention, alleviate water retention and treat stranguria, relaxing the bowels, detumescence (reduce swelling) and detoxification. It is indicated for edema, urolithiasis (urolithic stranguria), dysuria (difficulty in micturition), scrofula (lymphoid tuberculosis), carbuncle swollen boils and malignant sore, etc.

 Administration of Gryllotalpa (Lóu Gū): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Gryllotalpa (Lóu Gū)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:water decoction, 1~1.5 qian (about 3~4.5 grams), or prepare to powder.Externally:prepare to finely ground herb powder and sprinkle, or stuff nose; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~4.5 grams, prepare to finely ground herb powder, 1~2 grams.Externally:proper amount,prepare to finely ground herb powder,apply smear.
 Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Gryllotalpa forbidden using during pregnancy.




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  • 1.Introduction of Lou Gu:Mole Cricket or Gryllotalpa.

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