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.var.depressa(Ser.)Hara., 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).

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 in nature, tasteless, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Pericarpium Lagenariae is the dried pericarp of Lagenaria siceraria(Molina)Standl.var.depressa(Ser.) Hara, 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.var.depressa(Ser.) Hara. 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.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 are furrowed, mucinous villous, deciduous in age, becoming nearly glabrous.

 Petiole is slender, 16~20 cm long, hairy like stem twigs, apex with 2 glands; Leaf blade is ovate-cordate or reniform ovate, 10~35 cm long and wide, not divided or 3-5 lobed, with 5~7 palmate veins, apex is pointed, margin is irregularly dentate, base is cordate, recurved, semicircular or subcircular, 1~3 cm deep, 2~6 cm wide, both surfaces are puberulent, dorsum and veins denser. Tendrils are 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 are fine, slightly longer than petiole, pedicels, calyx, corolla are all puberulent; Calyx tube is funnelform, ca. 2 cm long, lobes are lanceolate, 5 mm long; Corolla is yellow, lobes are ruffled, 3~4 cm long, 2~3 cm wide, apex emarginate and apex with small tip, 5 veins; 3 stamens, filaments are 3~4 mm long, anthers are 8~10 mm long, oblong, drubbed.

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

 Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl:growing plant with one small and four big calabash gourds Fruit is 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 is dumbbell-shaped, constricted among thin, lower and upper), upper is bigger than the lower, dozens of cm long, some is only 10 cm long (small gourd), some is flat spherical, bar or structure shaped, wooden mature skin. Seeds are white, obovate or triangular, apex is 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 mature.

 Characters of herbs: The herb is a flat rectangle or oval, 1.2~1.8 cm long and 0.6 cm wide. Its surface is light-brown or light-white and smooth, and it has four dark patterns with symmetrical sides. The patterns are densely covered with light yellow fluff, one end is truncated or heart-shaped concave, and the other end is tapered or blunt. The seed cortex is hard and brittle, 2 cotyledons, milky white, rich in oil. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly sweet.

 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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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Hu Lu:Calabash Gourd or Pericarpium Lagenariae.

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