Introduction of Lao Guan Cao:Wilford Ganesbill Herb or Herba Erodii seu Geranii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source three plant species, ①.Erodium stephanianum Willd., ②.Geranium wilfordii Maxim., ③.Geranium carolinianum L., and other three usable plant species, ④.Geranium sibiricum L., ⑤.Geranium nepalense Sweet., ⑥.Geranium dahuricum DC., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these six plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these six plant species, the features of the herb Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Erodii seu Geranii(Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb).

Wilford Ganesbill Herb Pin Yin Name: Lǎo Guàn Cǎo.
 English Name: Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb,Common Heron.
 Latin Name: Herba Erodii seu Geranii.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, slight pungent, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The Herb Herba Erodii seu Geranii is the dried aerial part of Erodium stephanianum Willd., or Geranium wilfordii Maxim., used to dispel wind-damp, unblock collateral meridians and stop dysenteric diarrhea in cases of rheumatalgia with muscular contracture, and also for treating enteritis and dysentery. The herb is commonly known as Herba Erodii seu Geranii, Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb, Lǎo Guàn Cǎo.

 Botanical source: The herbal classic book defined the herb Herba Erodii seu Geranii (Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb) as the dried aerial part of (1).Erodium stephanianum Willd., (2).Geranium wilfordii Maxim., (3).Geranium carolinianum L. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Herba Erodii seu Geranii (Heron's Bill or Wilford Ganesbill Herb) as the dried aerial part of (1).Erodium stephanianum Willd., (2).Geranium wilfordii Maxim., (3).Geranium sibiricum L., (4).Geranium nepalense Sweet., (5).Geranium dahuricum DC. They are plants of the Erodium L'Herit. Genus, or Geranium L. Genus, Geraniaceae family (geranium family), Geraniales order. These 5 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Erodium stephanianum Willd.


 Erodium stephanianum Willd.:growing plant Botanical description: The plant Erodium stephanianum Willd is commonly known as Máng Niú Er Miáo, or Cháng Zuǐ Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means long-beak Geranium), or Mián Mián Niú, Chē Chē Lù, a plant species of the Erodium L'Herit. Genus, Geraniaceae family (geranium family). An annual herb or biennial herb, the plant grows up to 10~50 cm tall, and its roots are cylindrical, stout, and less branched. Stems are procumbent or obliquely climbing, many-branched and pilose. Leaves are opposite; petioles are 4~6 cm long; stipules (peraphyllum) are lanceolate, 5~10 mm long, the margin is membraneous; leaf blades are ovate-oblong or oblong-triangular, 4~6 cm long, 3~4 cm wide, 2-pinnately parted (bipinnatipartite), pinnae are in 5~9 pairs, the base is decurrent, pinnules are strip-shaped, entire or have 1~3 coarse teeth, both surfaces are pubescent.

 Umbels are axillary, peduncles are 5~15 cm long, usually have 2~5 flowers, pedicels are 1~3 cm long; sepals (calyx lobes) are oblong, the apex is aristiform (awn-shaped), awn is 2~3 cm long; 5 flower petals, obovate, mauve (lilac), royal purple (bluish violet), nearly equal length as sepals, the apex is blunt, the base is covered with white hairs; 10 stamens, in 2 whorls, 5 stamens in the outer whorl have no anther, 5 stamens in the inner whorl have anthers, 5 nectarium (nectar gland); the ovary is densely covered with white pilose.

 Capsularfruit, 3~4 cm long, apex has a long rostrum (beak), 5 fruit valves separate from the fruit shaft, the rostrum (beak) part is torsive, its inner side has brown hairs. Its flowering period is from April to August, and the fruiting period is from June to September.

 Erodium stephanianum Willd.:flowering plant Ecological environment: The plant grows on hillsides or mountain slopes, in grassland, on ridges of fields, roadsides, and near dwelling houses in villages. The plant is distributed in the north region of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, as well as in the northern, northwest, and west areas of China. It is also widely distributed in Siberia and the far east of Kazakhstan, Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, and the Kashmir region, Nepal.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Erodium stephanianum prefers a warm and humid climate; it is tolerant of coldness and moisture, and it prefers sufficient sunshine. It is better to choose fertile, loose, moist loam for planting.

 Erodium stephanianum Willd.:flowering plant Characters of herbs: The whole plant is covered with white fluff. The stem is quasi-circular (sub-circular), 30~50 cm long or longer, 1~7 mm in diameter, the surface is celadon (sage green) or purplish, has branches, nodes are conspicuous and slightly enlarged, with longitudinal grooves and sparse fuzz, and the texture of the herb is crisp, and fibrous when it is broken. The leaf blades are curly and shriveled, the texture of the leaf is crisp and fragile, the intact leaves are 2-pinnately parted (bipinnatipartite), and the lobes are narrowly linear, entire or have 1~3 coarse teeth. The capsularfruit is oblong oval, about 4 cm long, the persistent styles are 2.5~3 cm long, similar in shape to a stork's rostrum (beak), 5-lobed at maturity, and curl upward spirally. The herb has a slight odor and a mild taste. The herb of a better grade is dark green and has many flowers and fruits.

 Wilford Ganesbill Herb:herb photo Pharmacological actions: ①.strong inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus, beta streptococcus, Pneumococcus, Mlicrococcus catarrhalis, Shigella flexneri, and influenza virus; ②.inhibit intestinal peristalsis and have an antidiarrhoea effect; ③.promote intestinal peristalsis, can cause diarrhea; ④.antitussive effect; ⑤.antioxidant properties.

 Medicinal efficacy: Dispel wind and dampness, free meridians and collaterals, relieve diarrhea, promote blood circulation, clear heat and remove dampness through diuresis, clear heat, and detoxify. It is indicated for rheumatism pain, numbness and constriction, skin numbness, aching muscles and bones, diarrhea and dysentery, carbuncle-abscess, ulcer, injury of fall, enteritis, etc.

 Administration of Herba Erodii seu Geranii (Lǎo Guàn Cǎo): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Erodii seu Geranii (Lǎo Guàn Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 2~5 qian (about 6~15 grams), infusing in wine or prepare paste; ③.Internally:water decoction, 9~15 grams, or infusing in wine or prepare paste. Externally:proper amount, mashed and fried hot with wine added, apply stick or prepare to ointment and smear.

(2).Geranium wilfordii Maxim.


 Geranium wilfordii Maxim.:drawing Botanical description: The plant Geranium wilfordii Maxim is commonly known as Lǎo Guàn Cǎo, or Yā Jiǎo Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means duck feet-shaped Geranium), a plant species of the Geranium L. Genus., Geraniaceae family (geranium family). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~80 cm tall. Its rhizome is short and upright and has a slightly thickened long root. Stems are upright, or the lower part is slightly trailing, and have anatropous pilose. Leaves are opposite; basal leaves and leaves on the lower part have long petioles, gradually turn short upward; stipules (peraphyllum) are narrow-lanceolate, the apex is acuminate, piliferous; leaf blades are reniform-triangular, the base is cordate, 3~5 cm long, 4~6 cm wide, deeply 3-parted (trisected), central lobes are slightly larger, ovate-rhombic, the apex is pointed, the upper part is incised or coarsely serrate, tooth top has a short concave tip, leaves on lower part sometimes are nearly 5-parted, the upper and under surfaces more or less have appressed hairs.

 Geranium wilfordii Maxim.:flowering plant Flowers are solitary and grow in the leaf axils, or 2~3 flowers form a cyme; pedicels are elongated in the flowering phase, curved, and decline in the fruiting phase; 5 sepals (calyx lobes), oval (egg-shaped) or lanceolate, apex has awns, 5~6 mm long, pubescent, 5 flower petals, faint red (rose colour) or pink, nearly equal length to sepals, has 5 prunus (violet red) longitudinal veins; 10 stamens, base connate, the base of the filament is suddenly enlarged, the enlarged part has marginal seta (tricholoma); the ovary is superior, 5-loculed, 5 styles, inconspicuous or extremely short.

 Capsularfruit is mucoreous, the rostrum (beak) is short, five fruit valves separate from the fruit shaft when the fruit is mature, and the rostrum (beak) part involute from the bottom to top, about 2 cm long. Its flowering period is from July to August, and the fruiting period is from August to October.

 Geranium wilfordii Maxim.:flowering plant Ecological environment: The plant grows in grassland on hillsides and mountain slopes, on roadsides of plains, and in woods. It is distributed in the northern area, the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the southwest area, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The stem is thin, 1~3 mm in diameter, with longitudinal grooves; the surface is purplish, or taupe (dust color or grayish brown), and it has anatropous appressed hairs. Leaves are reniform-triangular, deeply 3~5-parted, lobes are nearly rhombic, edges are serrate, and two surfaces are covered with appressed hairs. Capsularfruits are about 2 cm long, the persistent styles are 1~2 cm long, 5-lobed when they are mature, and curl upward in an umbrella shape. The herb of a better grade is dark green and has many flowers and fruits.

(3).Geranium carolinianum L.


 Geranium carolinianum L.:growing plant Botanical description: The plant Geranium carolinianum L is commonly known as Yě Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means wild Geranium), a plant species of the Geranium L. Genus., Geraniaceae family (geranium family). An annual herb, the plant grows up to 20~60 cm tall; roots are slender, simple or branched; stems are upright or supine, simple or many, have edges and corners, and are densely covered with anatropous pubescence. Basal leaves wither early, cauline leaves are alternate, or the uppermost leaves are opposite; stipules (peraphyllum) are lanceolate or triangular-lanceolate, 5~7 mm long, 1.5~2.5 mm wide, outside is pubescent; cauline leaves on the lower part of the stem have long petioles, and petioles are 2~3 times as long as leaf blades, covered with anatropous pubescence, petioles on the upper part are gradually shorter; leaf blades are rounded reniform, 2~3 cm long, 4~6 cm wide, base is cordate, palmately 5-7 lobed almost to the base, lobes are cuneate obovoid or rhombic, lower part is cuneate, entire, upper part is pinnately parted, lobules are strip rectangular-circular, the apex is sharp-pointed, the surface is covered with short appressed hairs, the back surface is mainly covered with short appressed hairs along veins.

 Geranium carolinianum L.:flowering plant Inflorescences are axillary and apical, longer than leaves, covered with anatropous pubescence and unfold long glandular hairs, every peduncle has 2 flowers, several apical peduncles are often aggregated, and the inflorescence is umbelliform (umbellated); pedicels are similar to peduncles, equal to or slightly shorter than flowers; flower bracts are subulate, 3~4 mm long, pubescent; sepals are ovate-oblong or nearly elliptic, 5~7 mm long, 3~4 mm wide, apex is sharp-pointed, has a tip which is about 1 mm long, outside is pubescent or covered with unfold coarse fluff and glandular hairs along veins; petals are lilac red (lavender blush), obovate, slightly longer than the calyx, the apex is rounded, the base is broadly cuneate, stamens are slightly shorter than sepals, the lower part is covered with long coarse fluff; the pistil is slightly longer than the stamen, densely covered with rough pubescence.

 Capsularfruit is about 2 cm long, covered with a short, rough pubescence; fruit valves crack at the upper part of the rostrum (beak) and curl downward. Its flowering period is from April to July, and the fruiting period is from May to September.

 Geranium carolinianum L.:growing plant Ecological environment: Geranium carolinianum L grows in weeds on waste slopes, roadsides and sides of the ditch. The plant is native to America, and also grows in wild fields in China, it is distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and southwest area of China.

(4).Geranium sibiricum L.


 Geranium sibiricum L.:flowering plant Botanical description: The plant Geranium sibiricum L is commonly known as Xī Bó Lì Yà Lǎo Guàn Cǎo, Siberian Geranium or Shǔ Zhǎng Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means mouse palm-shaped Geranium), a plant species of the Geranium L. Genus., Geraniaceae family (geranium family). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 20~100 cm tall. Roots are upright, branched or unbranched, usually simple, rarely 2~3. The stem is thin and long, humifuse or the upper part obliquely climbing upward, many-branched, and slightly has anatropous hairs. Leaves are opposite; basal leaves and lower cauline leaves have long petioles, petioles of apical leaves are short, petioles have anatropous pilose or anatropous appressed hairs; stipules are lanceolate, long and acuminate; basal leaves wither early, isomorphic to cauline leaves, reniform pentagonal, base is broadly cordate, 3~6 cm long, 4~8 cm wide, palmately 5-parted, lobes are obovate or narrowly obovate, the base is cuneate, the upper part is pinnately parted or deeply dentate incised; leaves on the upper part is 3-parted, the upper surface and undersurface have sparse appressed hairs, and are densely piliferous along veins on the undersurface.

 Flowers are usually solitary and axillary; petioles are 4~5 cm long, filamentous, with anatropous pilose or appressed hairs, has 2 lanceolate bracts near the middle part, anatropous appressed fluff, curve sideway in fruiting phase; sepals are oblong-lanceolate, about 4 mm long, the margin is membranous; petals are faint red (rose color) or white with purplish veins, length of the flower petal is near to sepals.

 Capsularfruits are 1.5~2 cm long, and puberulent. Its flowering period is from June to July, and the fruiting period is from July to September.

 Geranium sibiricum L.:flowering plant Ecological environment: The plant grows on riverbanks, wetlands, mountain forests, roadsides, and mountainous regions. It is distributed in the northern, northwest, and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and southwest areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The stems are many-branched and slightly have anatropous hairs. Leaves are reniform pentagonal, palmately 5-parted, lobes are ovate-lanceolate, pinnately parted, or deeply dentate incised, piliferous. Capsularfruits are 1.5~2 cm long, the persistent style is 5-lobed at maturity and curls upward in an umbrella shape. The herb of a better grade is dark green and has many flowers and fruits.

(5).Geranium nepalense Sweet.


 Geranium nepalense Sweet.:flowering plant Botanical description: The plant Geranium nepalense Sweet is commonly known as Duǎn Zuǐ Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means short beak Geranium), or Ní Bó ěr Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means Nepal Geranium), a plant species of the Geranium L. Genus., Geraniaceae family (geranium family). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~50 cm tall or higher, sometimes very short. The roots are slender and slanting sideways. Stems are slender, overspread on the ground, obliquely ascending, nearly square, and often have anatropic sparse pilose. Leaves are opposite; petioles of cauline leaves on the lower part are longer than the leaf blade; stipules are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, 0.4~1 cm long, apex is acuminate; leaf blades are reniform pentagonal, 2~5 cm long, 3-5.5 cm wide; 3-5 parted and not to base, lobules (lobelets) are broadly ovate, the margin is dentate incised or lobed, the upper surface has sparse appressed hairs, the undersurface has sparse pilose.

 Several cymes, axillary, each cyme has 2 flowers, sometimes 1 flower; the peduncle is 2~8 cm long. Ebracteate (without bracts), has anatropous pilose, curving sideways in the fruiting phase; sepals (calyx lobes) are lanceolate, about 0.6 cm long, the tip is awn-shaped, the margin is membranous, the back surface has 3 veins, white long hairs grow along veins; petals are small, prunus (violet red), slightly longer than sepals; the lower part of filaments are oval (egg-shaped), anthers are orbicular, prunus (violet red); the ovary is green, stigma is prunus (violet red), all covered with white hairs.

 Capsularfruits are about 1.7 cm long, pilose. Its flowering period is from June to July, and the fruiting period is from July to August.

 Geranium nepalense Sweet.:flowering plant Ecological environment: The plant grows on moist hillsides, roadsides, fields, and weeds. The plant is distributed in the northern, northwest, central, and southwest areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: Stems are 1~3 mm in diameter, the surface is celadon (sage green) or prunus (violet red), has longitudinal grooves and sparse hairs. Leaves are reniform pentagonal, palmately 3-5 parted, edges are incised, and piliferous. The capsularfruit is about 1.7 cm long, and the persistent style is 5-lobed when it is mature and is reflexed upward. The herb of a better grade is dark green and has many flowers and fruits.

(6).Geranium dahuricum DC.


 Geranium dahuricum DC.:flowering plant Botanical description: The plant, Geranium dahuricum DC is commonly known as Kuài Gēn Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means tuberous root Geranium), or Cū Gēn Lǎo Guàn Cǎo (means thick root Geranium), a plant species of the Geranium L. Genus., Geraniaceae family (geranium family). A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 20~60 cm tall. The rhizome is short and upright, with a tuft of the long fusiform succulent tuberous root. The stem is upright, glabrate, and often has bifurcated branches. Leaves are opposite; cauline leaves of the lower part have long petioles, up to 10~15 cm long, gradually shorter upward; apical leaves are sessile; stipules are lanceolate or oval (egg-shaped), the apex is acuminate, 5~10 mm long; leaf blades are reniform circular, 3~4 cm long, 5~7 cm wide, palmately 7-parted to base, lobes are rhomboid ovate or lanceolate, irregularly pinnately divided. Lobules are lanceolate or linear-elliptic, 2~3 mm wide, and sharp-pointed, the upper surface and margin are densely covered with slightly appressed white hairs, and the undersurface is sparsely covered with long appressed hairs.

 Inflorescences are axillary or apical, pedicels are 3~6 cm long, slender, and usually have 2 flowers; petioles are filamentous, 2~3 cm long, have anatropous sparse pubescence, apex curves upward in fruiting phase; bracts are lanceolate, long and acuminate; sepals are oval (egg-shaped), glabrate; petals are mauve (lilac), about 7~12 mm long; the enlarged base part of filaments has marginal seta.

 Capsularfruits are piliferous, 1.2~2 cm long. Its flowering period is from June to July, and the fruiting period is from August to September.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in meadows, forest edges, and bushes. The plant is distributed in the northern, northwest, southwest area, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The rhizome is short, and the lower part is clustered with thick roots that are nearly fusiform. Stems are often dichotomously branched, and glabrate. Leaves are reniform-circular, palmately 7-parted and to the base, and lobules are irregularly pinnately divided. Capsularfruits are1.2~2 cm long. The herb of a better grade is dark green and has many flowers and fruits.
 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Lao Guan Cao:Wilford Ganesbill Herb or Herba Erodii seu Geranii.

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