Introduction of Hai Tong Pi:Coral-bean Bark or Cortex Erythrinae.

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:Dispelling Wind-Damp Herbs.

 TCM Herbs Icon06 Introduction: Dispelling Wind-Damp Herbs: an agent or substance herbs that dispels wind and damp, mainly for relieving rheumatism and related conditions.

 
Cortex Erythrinae(Coral-bean Bark).

Cortex Erythrinae Pin Yin Name: Hǎi Tónɡ Pí.
 English Name: Coral-bean Bark.
 Latin Name: Cortex Erythrinae.
 Property and flavor: neutral, pungent, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Cortex Erythrinae is the dried bark of Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis(L.) Merr.or Erythrina arborescens Roxb.(family Legumonisae), used to dispel wind-damp, unblock the collateral meridians and relieve itching in cases of rheumatalgia, and also externally for treating neurodermatitis and chronic eczema. The herb is commonly known as Cortex Erythrinae, Coral-bean Bark, Hǎi Tónɡ Pí.

 Botanical source: Famous herbal classics defined the herb Cortex Erythrinae(Coral-bean Bark) as the dried bark of (1). Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis(L.) Merr., or (2). Erythrina arborescens Roxb. They are plants of the Erythrina. Genus, Leguminosae family, Rosales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced as:

 Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis L.Merr. (1).Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis(L.)Merr.:
 Botanical description: It is commonly known as Cì Tóng. Large trees, up to 20 meters high. Bark grayish brown, branches yellowish to drab, densely gray tomentose, with black conical spines, shed after two or three years. Leaves alternate or clustered in branches; 2 stipules, linear, 1~1.3 cm long, caducous; 3 compound leaves; Lobules broadly ovate to obtuse ovate, 10~15 cm long, apical lobules broadly longer, apex acuminate and obtuse, base sub truncate or broadly lozenge, both veins sparsely hairy. Racemes ca. 15 cm long, tomentose; Pedicels 7~10 cm long; Calyx Buddha flame bract, 2~3 cm long, calyx mouth oblique, dorsally dehiscent to base; Corolla saucer, bright red, flag 5~6 cm long, wing and keel nearly equal, shorter than calyx; Male blue 10, dichromatic, filament mauve, 3~3.5 cm long, anther yellow; 1 style, pale green, stigma undivided, densely with soft purple hairs. Pod beaded, slightly curved. 1~8 seeds, spherical, dark red. It is flowering in March.

 Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis L.Merr. Ecological environment: The plant grows in wild fields or cultivated. The plant mainly distributes in the middle reaches area of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang river area, southwest area, Taiwan, and other areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Erythrina variegata prefers a warm, wet climate, like sunshine, not resistant to cold. It can grow in the area where the annual average temperature is 20.1℃, the average temperature in January is above 8℃, and the precipitation is above 110 mm. The soil requirements are not strict, but the sandy loam with good drainage is better.

 Erythrina variegata L.var.orientalis L.Merr. Characters of herbs: It is semi-cylindric or platy, slightly curly on both sides, about 40 cm long, 0.25~1.5 cm thick, with yellowish-brown to brownish-black outer surface, often with different width and width of the longitudinal groove. The cork of old bark is thicker, the cork is sometimes scraped away, the surface of the cork is rough with yellow pores, and is scattered with spikes, or the round scar after removing the spikes, the spikes are long and conical, 5~8 mm high, apical and acute, the base is 5~10 mm in diameter. The inner surface is yellowish-brown, relatively flat, with fine longitudinal reticulation. Root bark without a thorn. Tough, easy longitudinal crack, not easy to break, section light brown, crack sheet. Slight smell, taste bitter.

 Pharmacological actions: The Cortex Erythrinae aqueous extract had a different degree of inhibitory effect on dermatophytes such as Trichoderma blue, Achorion schoenleinii, Rust-colored Trichomycetes, and Epidermophyton inguinale in the test tube. The Cortex Erythrinae has an inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus in vitro.

 Medicinal efficacy: Dispel wind and eliminate dampness, activating tendon and collaterals, kill worms and stop itching. It is indicated for rheumatic numbness, rheumatic arthralgia, muscular constricture, lumbar and leg muscle pain, traumatic injury of fall, dysentery, toothache. Topically used to treat all kinds of stubborn dermatitis, scabies, eczema.

 Administration of Cortex Erythrinae(Hǎi Tónɡ Pí): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Cortex Erythrinae(Hǎi Tónɡ Pí)
TCM Books: NA(CP),Internally:water decoction, 2~4 qian(about 6~12 grams),or infusing in wine.Externally:wash with water decoction,or grinded into fine powder and apply stick(DCTM),Internally:water decoction, 6~12 grams,or infusing in wine.Externally:proper amount,fumigation wash with water decoction,or infusing in wine and smear,or grinded into fine powder and apply stick(CHMM).


 Erythrina arborescens Roxb. (2).Erythrina arborescens Roxb.:
 Botanical description: It is commonly known as Qiáo Mù Cì Tóng. Trees, 7~8 meters tall. Bark has thorns. Trifoliate, lobules oblate, 10~20 meters long, 8-19 meters wide, apex acute, base sub truncate, both surfaces glabrous; The petiole is stout. Racemes axillary, flowers densely on upper part of total pedicels; Inflorescence axis and pedicels glabrous; Calyx 2-lipped, glabrous; Corolla red, up to 4 cm, wing short, only 1/4 of the length of the flag, keel lozenge, longer than the wing, no claws; 10 stamens, 5 long, 5 short; Ovary stipitate, with yellow hairs. Pod fusiform, slightly curved, apex beaked, base stipitate, ca. 10 cm long, ca. 1.2 cm wide.

 Erythrina arborescens Roxb. Ecological environment: The plant grows in gullies or grassy slopes. The plant mainly distributes in the southwest area and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: Basically the same as the bark of Erythrina variegata, a horizontal strip or flat small square rolled inward, 3~6 mm thick, the outer surface yellow-brown or brown to brown-black, some show dark green, rough; The embolus is more exfoliated and the border between the base of the nail and the embolus are not obvious. The inner surface is light yellowish brown, smooth, with fine longitudinal lines. Hard, broken face yellow, fibrous. Slight smell, slightly bitter taste. Thin skin with spikes is preferred.
 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Hai Tong Pi:Coral-bean Bark or Cortex Erythrinae.
  • 2.TCM Books:DCTM(Dictionary of the Chinese Traditional Medicine),CHMM(Chinese Herbal Materia Medica).

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