Introduction of Hu Lu:Calabash Gourd or Pericarpium Lagenariae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Calabash Gourd, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., 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 Calabash Gourd, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Pericarpium Lagenariae(Calabash Gourd).

five dried calabash gourd of Pericarpium Lagenariae Pin Yin Name: Hú Lu.
 English Name: Calabash Gourd, Semen Langenariae Sicerariae.
 Latin Name: Pericarpium Lagenariae, or Pericarpium Lagenariae Depressae.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tasteless, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Pericarpium Lagenariae is the dried pericarp of Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., a diuretic for treating severe edema and ascites. The herb is commonly known as Pericarpium Lagenariae, Calabash Gourd, Hú Lu.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Pericarpium Lagenariae (Calabash Gourd) as the dried pericarp of the species (1).Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. It is a plant of the Lagenaria genus, the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, cucurbits, gourd, squash family) of the Cucurbitales order. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl.

 growing plants of Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl with five calabash gourds hanging on stem Botanical description: Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl is also known as Cucurbita siceraria Molina., commonly known as Calabash, or Hú Lu. An annual climbing herb; Stems and branches are furrowed, covered with sticky pilose, gradually fall off when it is old and turns glabrescent.

 Petioles are slender, 16~20 cm long, piliferous, apex has 2 glands; Leaf blades are ovate-cordate or reniform ovate, length and width are about 10~35 cm, not divided or 3-5 lobed, with 5~7 palmate veins, the apex is sharp-pointed, the margin is irregular serrate, base is cordate, recurved incised part open, semicircle (semicircular) or orbicular, 1~3 cm deep, 2~6 cm wide, both surfaces are puberulent, denser on the back surface and veins of the leaf. Tendrils are slender, initially puberulent, then gradually glabrescent, becoming smooth and glabrous, the upper part is dichotomous (dichotomously branched).

 plant of Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl grow with three big calabash gourds and green leaves The plant is monoecious, female and male flowers are solitary. Male flowers: pedicels are thin and fine, slightly longer than petiole, pedicels, calyx, and corolla are all puberulous; Calyx tube is funnelform (funnel-shaped), about 2 cm long, lobes are lanceolate, 5 mm long; Corolla is white, lobes are crisped, 3~4 cm long, 2~3 cm wide, tip is emarginate and apex has small pointed tip, 5 veins; 3 stamens, filaments are 3~4 mm long, anthers are 8~10 mm long, oblong, anther cell is flexed.

 The pedicel of the female flower is slightly shorter or nearly equal in length to the petiole; Calyx and corolla are similar to male flowers; the calyx tube is 2~3 mm long; Ovary is constricted in the center, densely covered with sticky pilose, style is stubby (stout and short), 3 stigmas, enlarged, 2-lobed.

 plant of Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl with one small and four big calabash gourds Fruit is green at first, turns white to yellowish later, due to long-term cultivation, the variation of fruit shape is big (varied from different species or varieties), some are dumbbell-shaped, constricted among thin, and the upper is bigger than the lower, length is tens of cm, some are only 10 cm long (small gourd), some are oblate, bar-shaped or arytenoidal, pericarp (fruit peel) turns ligneous when the fruit is mature. Seeds are white, obovate, or triangular, the apex is truncate or 2-dentate lobed, rarely rounded (crenate), about 20 mm long. It is flowering in summer, and fruiting in autumn.

 Ecological environment: The plant is cultivated all over China. It is also widely cultivated in tropical to temperate regions of the world. According to archaeological records, China, Thailand in Asia, Mexico, Peru in South America, and Egypt in Africa have unearthed Stone Age calabash fossils. As early as nearly ten thousand years ago, in ancient China, this plant was already growing. According to the archaeological findings of the Hemudu Primitive Social Site in Zhejiang province, ancient Chinese began to cultivate calabash more than 7,000 years ago, and the use of calabash as a container for water was earlier than pottery and bronze ware.

 traditional Chinese propitious handicrafts made of a big calabash with traditional colorful drawings on it Growth characteristics: Lagenaria siceraria prefers a warm, sheltered environment and needs a lot of space to grow. Young shrubs fear the cold. Fresh calabash has pale green skin and white flesh. The fruit, also known as calabash, can be harvested as a vegetable when it is not mature. The plant is not tolerant to low temperatures, likes sunlight, and has no strict requirements in soil, but it is appropriate to choose fields with deep soil layers, humus-rich loam with good fertilizer and water-holding capacity for cultivation.

 Characters of herbs: The herb is dumb-bell shaped or oval, the middle turns thin, and the upper and lower parts are enlarged. The lower part is small, oval (egg-shaped), and connects with a carpopodium (fruit stalk); the upper part is big, near-spherical, and stylopodium (stylopod) grows on the top. The surface is yellowish-brown or whitish, and smooth. The texture of the herb is firm and hard. The herb has a slight odor and a mild taste. The herb of a better grade is yellow-white, clean, and has no abnormal taste.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.significant diuretic effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: Diuretic, detumescence (reduce swelling), alleviate water retention and detumescence (reduce swelling), removing stasis, relieve diarrhea, emetic. It is indicated for edema, scrofula (tuberculosis of cervical lymph nodes), pyretic dysentery (heat dysentery), lung disease, rash, severe edema, ascites (abdominal dropsy).

 Administration of Pericarpium Lagenariae (Hú Lu): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Pericarpium Lagenariae (Hú Lu)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:water decoction, 6~9 grams for pyretic dysentery, lung disease, rash, or 15~30 grams for severe edema and ascites.




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