Introduction of Hu Lu:Calabash Gourd or Pericarpium Lagenariae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The TCM herbalism is also known as pharmaceutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Chinese pharmaceutics, is the branch of health science dealing with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of Chinese herbs. It is majorly composed of Introduction of Chinese Medicinals, Classification of Chinese Herbs, Formulas, and Patent medicines.

Classifications of Herbs:Diuretics and Hydragogues Herbs:Herbs Diuretics.

 TCM Herbs Icon09 Introduction: Herbs Diuretics: also known as damp-draining diuretic herbs,an agent or substance herbs that increases urine excretion and water discharge for treating internal retention of dampness.

 
Pericarpium Lagenariae(Calabash Gourd).

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

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

 Botanical source: Official herbal classics and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Pericarpium Lagenariae(Calabash Gourd) as the dried pericarp of the species (1).Lagenaria siceraria(Molina)Standl.var.depressa(Ser.) Hara. It is a plant of the Lagenaria genus, the Cucurbitaceae family of the Cucurbitales order. This commonly used species is introduced as:

(1).Lagenaria siceraria(Molina)Standl.var.depressa(Ser.)Hara.


 Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl:growing plant with five calabash gourds Botanical description: It is commonly known as Lagenaria siceraria(Molina)Standl, Calabash, or Hú Lu. Annual climbing herbs; Stems and branches furrowed, mucinous villous, deciduous in age, becoming nearly glabrous.

 Petiole slender, 16~20 cm long, hairy like stem twigs, apex with 2 glands; Leaf blade ovate-cordate or reniform ovate, 10~35 cm long and wide, not divided or 3-5 lobed, with 5~7 palmate veins, apex acute, margin irregularly dentate, base cordate, recurved, semicircular or subcircular, 1~3 cm deep, 2~6 cm wide, both surfaces puberulent, dorsum and veins denser. Tendrils slender, initially puberulent, then gradually glabrescent, becoming smooth and glabrous, upper part 2 dissimilar. Monoecious, female and male flowers are single.

 Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl:growing plant with three big calabash gourds Male flowers: pedicels fine, slightly longer than petiole, pedicels, calyx, corolla all puberulent; Calyx tube funnelform, ca. 2 cm long, lobes lanceolate, 5 mm long; Corolla yellow, lobes ruffled, 3~4 cm long, 2~3 cm wide, apex emarginate and apex with small tip, 5 veins; 3 stamens, filaments 3~4 mm long, anthers 8~10 mm long, oblong, drubbed.

 Female flower pedicel slightly shorter or subequal than petiole; Calyx and corolla like male flowers; Calyx tube 2~3 mm long; Ovary medium constricted, densely clayey villous, style stubby, 3 stigmas, enlarged, 2-lobed.

 Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl:growing plant with one small and four big calabash gourds Fruit green at first, white to yellow later, due to long-term cultivation, the fruit shape variation is very big(varied from different species or varieties, some dumbbell-shaped, constricted among thin, lower and upper), upper is bigger than the lower, dozens of cm long, some only 10 cm long (small gourd), some flat spherical, bar or structure shaped, wooden mature skin. Seeds white, obovate or triangular, apex truncate or 2-dentate, thinly rounded, ca. 20 mm long. It is flowering in summer, fruiting in autumn.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows to need well-drained and fertile plain and low-lying land and hilly land with irrigation conditions. It is planted 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.

 Calabash:traditional Chinese handicrafts Growth characteristics: It prefers a warm, sheltered environment and needs a lot of space to grow. Young plants 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 not ripe.

 Characters of herbs: The length of the vines, the size of the leaves, the size of the flowers and the size and shape of the fruits of calabash are different. The fruit has club shape, gourd shape, dolphin shape, pot shape, the name of the type also depends on the shape of the fruit. Besides, in ancient times, people dried calabash and emptied it to make things.

 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: N/A(CP),Internally:water decoction,6~9 grams for pyretic dysentery,lung disease,rash,or 15~30 grams for severe edema and ascites.(DCTM).

 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Hu Lu:Calabash Gourd or Pericarpium Lagenariae.
  • 2.TCM Books:DCTM(Dictionary of the Chinese Traditional Medicine),CHMM(Chinese Herbal Materia Medica).

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