Introduction of Si Gua Luo:Luffa Vegetable Sponge or Retinervus Luffae Fructus.

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.

Retinervus Luffae Fructus(Luffa Vegetable Sponge).

Luffa Vegetable Sponge Pin Yin Name: Sī Guā Luò.
 English Name: Luffa Vegetable Sponge.
 Latin Name: Retinervus Luffae Fructus.
 Property and flavor: cool, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Retinervus Luffae Fructus is the dried vascular bundles of the ripe fruit of Luffa cylindrica(L.) Roem.(family Cucurbitaceae), used to dispel wind, unblock collateral meridians, and relieve toxins for treating rheumatalgia with muscular contracture, and also for treating mastitis. The herb is commonly known as Towel Gourd Vegetable Sponge, Vegetable Sponge of Luffa, Sī Guā Luò.

 Botanical source: Official herbal classics defined the herb Retinervus Luffae Fructus(Luffa Vegetable Sponge) as the dried vascular bundles of (1).Luffa cylindrica(L.) Roem. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Retinervus Luffae Fructus(Luffa Vegetable Sponge) as the dried vascular bundles of (1).Luffa cylindrica(L.) Roem., or (2).Luffa Acutangula Roxb.. They are plants of the Luffa Mill. Genus, Cucurbitaceae family, Cucurbitales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced as:

(1).Luffa cylindrica(L.)Roem.

 Luffa cylindrica L.Roem. Botanical description: It is commonly known as Sī Guā. Annual climbing vine; Stems, branches rough, furrowed, puberulent. Tendrils slightly stout, pubescent, usually 2~4 angulus. Petiole scabrous, 10~12 cm long, with inconspicuous groove, subglabrous; Leaf blade triangular or suborbicular, 10~20 cm long, wide, usually palmate 5-7, lobes triangular, in the middle of a long, 8 and 12 cm long, apex acute or acuminate, margin serrate, base deeply cordate, curved short of 2 to 3 cm deep, 2~2.5 cm wide, dark green, rough, with warts, under the pale green, pubescent, veins palmate, white pubescent.

 Hermaphrodite. Male flowers: usually 15~20 flowers, on top of racemes, peduncle slightly stout, 12~14 cm long, pilose; Pedicels 1~2 cm long, calyx tube broadly bell-shaped, 0.5~0.9 cm in diameter, pubescent, lobes ovate-lanceolate or nearly triangular, upper end reflexed outwardly, ca. 0.8~1.3 cm long, 0.4~0.7 cm wide, inwardly densely pubescent, margin particularly conspicuous, outer coatless, apex acuminate, 3-veined; Corolla yellow, radial, spreading 5~9 cm in diameter, lobed oblong, 2~4 cm long, 2~2.8 cm wide, inner base densely yellow-white villous, outer with 3-5 convex veins, veins densely pubescent, apex obtuse, base narrow; 5 stamens, 3 thin, filaments 6~8 mm long, white pubescent at base, flowers slightly conjoined at first opening, finally completely separated, medicinal chamber much reflexed. Female flowers: solitary, pedicels 2~10 cm long; Ovary long terete, pilose, 3 stigmas, inflated.

 Luffa cylindrica L.Roem. Fruit terete, straight or slightly curved, 15~30 cm long, 5~8 cm in diameter, smooth, usually with dark longitudinal streaks, succulent when unripe, dry when mature, with reticulate fibers inside, opening from the top. Seeds numerous, black, ovate, flattened, smooth, margin is narrowly winged. Fruit and vegetable period summer, autumn.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows and is produced all over the country of China. The loofah which is produced in the lower reaches area of the Yangtze River is better. Towel gourd cloth is mainly produced in Guangdong.

 Growth characteristics: The plant luffa cylindrica prefers a warm climate, high temperature, high humidity, avoid low temperature. It has wide adaptability to the soil, and it is advisable to choose sandy loam with a deep soil layer, moist soil, and rich organic matter, rather than barren soil.

 Characters of herbs: the whole herb composed of vascular bundle crisscross. They are mostly oblong, slightly curved, slightly thin at both ends, varying in length, up to 70 cm long, and 5~10 cm in diameter. The surface is yellowish-white, rough, with several shallow longitudinal grooves, sometimes with the residual rind and membranous fruit. The body is light, tough and elastic. Can post 3 cavities in cross-section, occasionally see the residual black seed. Slight smell, mild taste. Large, complete, clear, tough, light yellow and white, seedless is better.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.analgesic; ②.anti-inflammatory; ③.sedative effects.

 Medicinal efficacy: Free collaterals, activate blood circulation, dispel wind, clear heat and reduce phlegm, detoxify and detumescent(reduce swelling). It is indicated for arthralgia and constriction, distension and pain in the chest and hypochondrium, muscular constricture, alactation, abdominal pain, lumbago, testicular swelling and pain, lung heat and sputum cough, women's amenorrhea, carbuncle, hemorrhoid leakage. The charred herb can stop bleeding, indicated for bloody stool, flooding.

 Administration of Retinervus Luffae Fructus(Sī Guā Luò): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Retinervus Luffae Fructus(Sī Guā Luò)
TCM Books: Internally:4.5~9 grams(CP),Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian(about 4.5~9 grams), or charred herb with its property retained, grinded into fine powder.Externally:charred herb with its property retained, grinded into fine powder and apply stick.(DCTM),Internally:water decoction, 5~15 grams,or charred herb with its property retained,1.5~3 grams each time.Externally:proper amount,charred herb with its property retained, grinded into fine powder and apply stick.(CHMM).

(2).Luffa Acutangula Roxb.

 Botanical description: It is commonly known as ào Sī Guā.
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  • 1.Introduction of Si Gua Luo:Luffa Vegetable Sponge or Retinervus Luffae Fructus.
  • 2.TCM Books:DCTM(Dictionary of the Chinese Traditional Medicine),CHMM(Chinese Herbal Materia Medica).

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