Introduction of Shen Jin Cao:Common Club-moss Herb or Herba Lycopodii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Common Club-moss Herb, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source one plant species, ①.Lycopodium japonicum Thunb., and other two usable plant species, ②.Lycopodium centro-chinense Ching., ③.Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc. with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these three plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these three plant species, the features of the herb Common Club-moss Herb, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Lycopodii(Common Club-moss Herb).

Herba Lycopodii Pin Yin Name: Shēn Jīn Cǎo.
 English Name: Common Club-moss Herb.
 Latin Name: Herba Lycopodii.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, pungent, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The Herb Herba Lycopodii is the dried entire plant of Lycopodium japonicum Thunb., used to dispel wind-damp and relieve contracture in cases of arthralgia with stiffness. The herb is commonly known as Herba Lycopodii, Common Club-moss Herb, Shēn Jīn Cǎo.

 Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.:growing plant Botanical source: Official herbal classics defined the herb Herba Lycopodii (Common Club-moss Herb) as the dried entire plant of (1). Lycopodium japonicum Thunb. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Herba Lycopodii (Common Club-moss Herb) as the dried entire plant of (1).Lycopodium japonicum Thunb., or (2).Lycopodium centro-chinense Ching., or (3).Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc. They are plants of the Lycopodium L. genus, Lycopodiaceae family (Lycopodiaceae P. Beauv. ex Mirb. family), Lycopodiales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.


 Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.:drawing of plant Botanical description: The plant, Lycopodium japonicum Thunb is also known as Lycopodium clavatum auct.non L.(L.clavatum auct.non L.), is commonly known as Shí Sōng. A perennial native plant. The main stem is procumbent, 2~3 meters long, lateral branches are upright, up to 15 cm long, about 6 mm in diameter, and have multiple bifurcated branches. Branchlets of the main branch ramificate at an obtuse angle, final branchlets are broadly dichotomal and form Y-shape, point to both sides, branchlets are about 3~5 mm in diameter, leaves are in spiral arrangement (spirally arranged), linear-lanceolate, 3~5 mm long, 0.3~0.8 mm wide, the base is broad, the apex is acuminate, with broken membranous long awns, entire, chartaceous (papery).

 Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.:flowering plant The fertile spike is cylindrical, 3~6 fertile spikes grow on the tip of fertile branches, about 3~5 cm long, about 0.5 cm wide; fertile fronds are rhomboid ovate, about 2 mm long, about 1.5 mm wide, the apex is aristiform, the edge is suberoded, membranous. Sporangium grows in the axil of the fertile frond, reniform, yellow, about 0.8 mm long, about 1.5 mm wide, and 0.5 mm thick.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in grassland on hillsides or mountain slopes, bushes, or acid soil in pine forests. The plant is distributed in the northern, eastern, middle south, southwest, and other areas of China.

 Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.:growing plant Characters of herbs: The stolons are cylindrical, thin and long, and curved, up to 2 meters long, mostly are fractured, 3~5 mm in diameter, the surface is yellow or pale brown, lateral branches have dense leaves, about 6 mm in diameter, and the surface is pale brown. There are many yellow-white adventitious roots under the stolon, which are bifurcated. The leaves are dense, linear-lanceolate, often wrinkled and curved, 3~5 mm long, and 0.3~0.8 mm wide, yellow-green or celadon (grayish green), the apex is aristiform, entire or minutely serrated, and leaf veins are inconspicuous. Sometimes there are visible fertile spikes on the tip of branches, which are upright and claviform (virgulate), mostly fractured, 2~5 cm long, and about 5 mm in diameter. The texture of the herb is tough, and not easy to break, the fracture surface is pale yellow and has white duramen (core). The herb has a slight odor and a mild taste.

 The herb of a better grade is yellow-green and has no impurities.

 Herba Lycopodii:herb photo Pharmacological actions: ①.diuretic, promotes uric acid excretion; ②.inhibitory effect on dysentery bacillus; ③.antipyretic; ④.analgesic effects.

 Medicinal efficacy: Dispel wind and eliminate dampness, dissipate cold, relax tendons and activate collaterals, promote blood circulation, reduce swelling, relieve cough and detoxify. It is indicated for joint pain, bend to stretch disadvantage, wind cold and arthritis with fixed pain caused by dampness, numbness of the skin, weakness and flaccidity of limbs, edema, injury from falls, jaundice, cough, sores, herpes, scald.

 Administration of Herba Lycopodii (Shēn Jīn Cǎo): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Lycopodii (Shēn Jīn Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~5 qian(about 9~15 grams), or infusing in wine. Externally:mashed and apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction,9~15 grams, or infusing in wine. Externally:proper amount, mashed and apply stick.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions:should avoid using the herb Herba Lycopodii in conditions pregnancy.

(2).Lycopodium centro-chinense Ching.


 Botanical description: The plant, Lycopodium centro-chinense Ching is commonly known as Huá Zhōng Shí Sōng. The main stem is procumbent, lateral branches are upright, up to 10~15 cm long, and multiple bifurcated branches, about 7~8 mm in diameter, different from Lycopodium japonicum Thunb. Its branchlets are ramificate at an acute angle, obliquely ascending or upright, concentrated with each other, separation angle of the final branchlets is sharp and narrow, points upward, branchlets are 3~5 mm in diameter, also different from Lycopodium japonicum Thunb. Its leaves are denser, in spiral arrangement (spirally arranged), slightly incurvate or nearly outstretched, linear-lanceolate, apex has membraneous long awns, about 2~3 mm long, leaves are about 3~4 mm long, 0.5~0.7 mm wide.

 Fertile spikes are inserted, and morphological characters are similar to Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in grassland on hillsides or mountain slopes, or in bushes. The plant is distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the reaches of Zhujiang river, southwest areas, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The herb of Lycopodium centro-chinense Ching is similar to the herb prepared from Lycopodium japonicum Thunb, but the stem is bifurcated and unfold at an acute angle, the leaves on lateral branches are sparse, the leaves on branchlets are dense, the leaves are membranous and have long awns. The herb of a better grade is yellow-green and has no impurities.

(3).Palhinhaea cernua(L.)Franco et Vasc.


 Palhinhaea cernua L. Franco et Vasc. Botanical description: The plant, Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc is also known as Lycopodium cernuum L., commonly known as Dēng Lóng Cǎo. The main stem is upright, up to 40 cm tall, about 2 mm in diameter, herbaceous, the upper part is many-branched, green lateral branches stretch out, multiple bifurcated branches, about 1~1.5 mm in diameter. Leaves are dense, in spiral arrangement (spirally arranged), stripe subulate, about 2.5~3.5 mm long, 0.2~0.5 mm wide, the base is decurrent and adnate on branchlets, the apex is slightly upward recurved, the tip is aristiform (awn-shaped), entire, thin and soft.

 Fertile spikes are small, cylindrical, 4~7 mm long, 1.5~2.5 mm wide, solitary, and grow on tips of branchlets, pendulous when it is mature; fertile fronds are ovate-rhombic, about 1.5 mm long, about 0.6 mm wide, the apex is caudiform, the edge has penicillate irregular blunt teeth. Sporangium grows in the axil of a fertile frond, rounded reniform, primrose yellow (faint yellow), 0.4 mm in diameter.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in acidic soil grasslands on low hills, broad-leaved forest edges and Pinus massoniana forest. The plant is distributed in the southern areas of the Yangtze River, China.

 Characters of herbs: The upper part is many-branched, 30~50 cm long, or is already broken off into short segments, 1~2 mm in diameter, and the surface is yellow or yellowish-green. Leaves grow densely, linear subulate, 2~3 mm long, yellow-green or pale green (pea green), entire, often upward recurved, the texture of the herb is thin and fragile. There are fertile spikes that grow on the top of branches, rectangular-circular or cylindrical, 5~15 mm long, sessile, and are often pendulous. The herb has a slight odor and a mild taste. The herb of a better grade is yellow-green and has no impurities.
 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Shen Jin Cao:Common Club-moss Herb or Herba Lycopodii.

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