Introduction of Tong Cao:Ricepaper-plant Pith or Medulla Tetrapanacis.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Ricepaper-plant Pith, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K.Koch., 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 Ricepaper-plant Pith, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Medulla Tetrapanacis(Ricepaper-plant Pith).

whitish long herb segments of Medulla Tetrapanacis Pin Yin Name: Tōnɡ Cǎo.
 English Name: Ricepaper-plant Pith.
 Latin Name: Medulla Tetrapanacis.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold, sweet, tasteless.

 Brief introduction: The herb Medulla Tetrapanacis is the stem pith of Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K.Koch. (family Araliaceae),used (1).to clear heat and remove damp in cases of stranguria and oliguria, and (2).to promote milk secretion in cases of inadequate lactation. The herb is commonly known as Ricepaperplant Pith, Medulla Tetrapanacis, Tōnɡ Cǎo.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Medulla Tetrapanacis (Ricepaper-plant Pith) as the stem pith of the species (1). Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K.Koch. It is a plant of the Tetrapanax Koch genus, the Araliaceae family (ginseng family) of the Apiales order. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K.Koch.

 plants of Tetrapanax papyriferus Hook.K.Koch. grow in a forest Botanical description: Tetrapanax papyriferus (Hook.) K.Koch is also known as Aralia papyrifera Hook.f., is commonly known as Tōng Tuō Mù. Evergreen shrubs or small trees, the plant grows up to 1~3.5 meters tall. The stem is stout, and unbranched, in the seedling stage the surface of the stem is densely covered with yellow stellate hairs or slightly has deciduous sallow (grayish yellow) pilose. The pith of stems is big, white, and chartaceous (papery); the bark is dark brown, and slightly has crowfoot cracks; new branches are pale brown or fallow (pale yellow brown), and have conspicuous leaf marks and large lenticels. Leaves are big, alternate, clustered at the tip of the stem; petiole is stout, terete (cylindraceous), 30~50 cm long; stipule (peraphyllum) is membraneous, conical, base connate with petiole, has stellate thick hairs; leaf blade is chartaceous (papery) or thinly coriaceous, palmately 5~11 lobed, lobes are usually 1/3~1/2 the whole length of leaf, rarely to 2/3, obovate-oblong or ovate-oblong, each lobe often has 2~3 lobules (leaflets) again, entire or coarsely teethed, the upper surface is dark green, glabrous, the undersurface is densely covered with white stellate fluff.

 flowering tree of Tetrapanax papyriferus Hook.K.Koch. with many white flowers Umbels cluster to apical or subapical (adapical) big compound umbel, over 50 cm long; calyx is densely covered with stellate fluff, entire or subentire; 4 flower petals, rarely 5, triangular-ovate, 2 mm long, outside is densely covered with stellate thick fluff; 5 stamens, same number as flower petals; ovary is inferior, 2-loculed, 2 styles, free, apex is retroflexed.

 The fruit is globular, spheric shape (globular), about 4 mm in diameter, and turns atropurpureus (purple black) when it is mature. Its flowering period is from October to December, the fruiting period is from January to February the second year.

 growing plants of Tetrapanax papyriferus Hook.K.Koch. with many green leaves Ecological environment: The plant grows in sunny fields, fertile and thick soil at an elevation of 10~2,800 meters above sea level, or is cultivated in gardens, or cultivated near to courtyard. It is widely distributed from Taibai mountain in the north, the Zhujiang River in the south, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, southwest areas, and Taiwan in China.

 Growth characteristics: Tetrapanax papyriferus prefers a warm and moist climate, and sunny environment, is not tolerant to coldness, and passes winter safely at a temperature above 5 °C (Celsius, or 41 degrees Fahrenheit). It is appropriate to choose a field with fertile sandy loam for cultivation.

 whitish dried long herb segments of Ricepaper-plant Pith are piled together Characters of herbs: The pith of the stem is terete (cylindraceous), 20~40 cm long, and 1~2.5 cm in diameter. The surface is white or primrose yellow (pale yellow), and has shallow longitudinal grooves. The herb is light, the texture is loose and soft, slightly elastic, and easy to break, the fracture surface is flat, silvery white luster, and there is a hollow part with a diameter of 0.3~1.5 cm or a translucent film in the center, the vertical section is in ladder arrangement, farctate herb (only in a small section of the thin and small stem pith) is rare. The herb is odorless, it is tasteless. The herb of a better grade is thick, clean white (spotless white), elastic (stretchy), and hollow with a septum (translucent film).

 Pharmacological actions: ①.diuretic effect; ②.promoting milk secretion.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and diuretic, ventilation and prompt milk secretion, purging the lung of pathogenic fire. It is indicated for damp-warm syndrome with red urine, gonorrhea with pain, dysuria (difficulty in micturition), short urine red, oliguria with reddish urine, gonorrhea, edema, edema and oliguria, jaundice, dampness-warm syndrome, no milk, postpartum little milk, menischesis, morbid leukorrhea, blurred vision (cloudy vision), stuffy nose (nasal obstruction).

 Administration of Medulla Tetrapanacis (Tōnɡ Cǎo): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Medulla Tetrapanacis (Tōnɡ Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~5 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,wrapped with medical cotton and stuff nose; ③.Internally:water decoction, 2~5 grams.
 Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Medulla Tetrapanacis should be used cautiously during pregnancy.




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  • 1.Introduction of Tong Cao:Ricepaper-plant Pith or Medulla Tetrapanacis.

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