Introduction of Gua Lou:Snakegourd Fruit or Fructus Trichosanthis.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Snakegourd Fruit, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., ②.Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Snakegourd Fruit, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Fructus Trichosanthis(Snakegourd Fruit).

fruiting plants of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim growing in a field Pin Yin Name: Guā Lóu.
 English Name: Snakegourd Fruit.
 Latin Name: Fructus Trichosanthis.
 Property and flavor: cold, sweet, slightly bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Fructus Trichosanthis is the dried fruit of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., or Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms, used (1).to clear heat and resolve phlegm for relieving cough and dyspnea caused by heat-phlegm, (2).to soothe the chest for angina pectoris, (3).to reduce swelling in the treatment of lung abscess, appendicitis and mastitis, and (4).to moisten the intestines for opening the bowels. The herb is commonly known as Fructus Trichosanthis, Snakegourd Fruit, Guā Lóu.

 Botanical source: The herb Fructus Trichosanthis (Snakegourd Fruit) is the dried fruit of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., or Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms., they are plants of the Trichosanthes genus, the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, gourd, squash family) of the Cucurbitales order. These two commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim.

 a drawing of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim.,stem and leaves,fruit pulp and seeds Botanical description: Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, gourd, squash family), it is commonly known as Guā Lóu, climbing vines, the plant grows up to 10 meters long; the root tuber is columnar, thick and hypertrophic, rich in starch. Stems are thicker, many-branched, with vertical ribs and grooves and covered with white stretching pilose. The leaves are alternate, the petioles are about 3~10 cm long, with vertical stripes, covered with long pilose; the tendril has 3~7 branches, covered with pilose; the leaf blade is chartaceous (papery), and the outline is orbicular or subcordate (nearly cordate), averaged length and width are about 5~20 cm, usually 3~7 lobed to mid-cleft, rarely deeply parted or indehiscent and only has unequal big coarse teeth, lobes are rhomboid obovoid, oblong, the apex is obtuse, sharp-pointed, the edge is usually shallowly lobed again, leaf base is cordate, curved absent part is 3~4 cm deep, the upper surface is dark green, coarse, the backsurface is pale green, long pilose-like bristles cover the area along both veins on both surfaces, 5 base palmate veins, veinlet is reticular;

 Flowers are dioecious. The male raceme is solitary or connate with a single flower, or solitary on the upper part of shoots and branches, racemes are 10~20 cm long, stout, with vertical ribs and grooves, puberulous, 5~8 flowers on the apex, pedicel of the simple flower is about 15 cm long, small pedicel is about 3 mm long, bractlets are obovate or broadly ovate, 1.5~2.5 or 3 cm long, 1~2 cm wide, middle and upper parts have coarse teeth, the base is stipitate, pubescent; the hypanthium (calyx tube) is fistuliform (tubulose), 2~4 cm long, the apex is enlarged, about 10 mm in diameter, middle and lower parts are about 5 mm in diameter, pubescent, lobes are lanceolate, 10~15 mm long, 3~5 mm wide, entire; corolla is white, lobes are obovate, about 20 mm long, 18 mm wide, the center of the apex has 1 green pointed tip, with filiform tassels on both sides, pubescent; anthers are closely joined, about 6 mm long, and about 4 mm in diameter, filaments separate, stout, villous. Female flowers are solitary, pedicels are 7.5 cm long, and pubescent; the hypanthium (calyx tube) is cylindric, 2.5 cm long, 1.2 cm in diameter, lobes and the corolla are the same as male flowers; the ovary is in an elliptical shape, green, 2 cm long, style is 2 cm long, 3 stigmas.

 Carpopodiums (fruit stalks) are stout, 4~11 cm long; fruits are elliptic or rounded, 7~10.5 cm long, yellow-brown or orange-yellow at maturity. Seeds are ovate-elliptic, compressed, 11~16 mm long, 7~12 mm wide, pale yellow-brown, with a ridgeline near the edge. Its flowering period is from May to August, and the fruiting period is from August to October.

 Ecological environment: The plant usually grows in a forest on slopes, bushes, grassland, and a field near a village, at altitudes of 200~1,800 meters above sea level, or is widely cultivated in its natural distribution areas. It is distributed in the northern, middle south, eastern, northwest, southwest, and other regions of China.

 Growth characteristics: The plant prefers a warm and humid climate. It is tolerant to cold, but not tolerant to drought. It is appropriate to choose plots with sun exposure, deep soil layers, and loose and fertile sandy loam for cultivation. It is not appropriate to choose low-lying land, saline land or alkaline land for cultivation.

 dried fruit pulp of Snakegourd Fruit Characters of herbs: The dried fruit is round-likely roundness or broadly elliptical, 7 to 10 cm long, and 6 to 10 cm in diameter. The surface is salmon color or orange-yellow, wizened or smoother, the top has a circular style residue, and the base is slightly pointed, with residual carpopodiums (fruit stalks). The texture is fragile or brittle (crisp), easy to crack, the inner surface is yellow-white, with red-yellow retinervus, the fruit pulp is orange-yellow, viscous, bonded to many seeds, and forms a conglobation. The herb has a caramel smell, and it tastes light sourish, and sweet. The herb of a better grade is orderly in size and shape, the thick pericarp is pliable and tough, wizzled, apricot yellow or reddish yellow, it has sufficient sugar content, and it is unbroken.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clear heat and cleanse phlegm, relieving chest stiffness to dissipate mass, moisturizing dryness syndrome and laxation. Indicated for lung heat and cough, phlegm thick and yellow, thoracic obstruction and pain in the heart, accumulation of pathogens in chest with distention and fullness, acute mastitis, abscess of lung, periappendicular abscess and swelling pain, constipation.

 Administration of Fructus Trichosanthis (Guā Lóu): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Fructus Trichosanthis (Guā Lóu)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally: 9~12 grams,water decoction,or prepare to powder.Externally:proper amount,charred the herb with its property retained, prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick.

(2).Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms.

 fruit pulps of Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms. Botanical description: Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, gourd, squash family), it is commonly known as Shuang Bian Gua Lou, perennial grass vines. The morphological features of the plant are quite similar to Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim, only its plant is smaller; leaf blades are usually 3~7-parted almost to the base, lobes are linear-lanceolate or oblanceolate, rarely have lobelet; bractlets of male flowers are small, usually 5~16 mm long, 5~11 mm wide; calyx lobe is linear; seed ridge line is far from the edge.

 Ecological environment: The plant is distributed in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River, the lower reaches of the Hanjiang River, the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the reaches of the Ganjiang River, and southwest areas of China.
Radix Trichosanthis(Snake-gourd Root).

herb slices of Snake-gourd Root Pin Yin Name: Tiān Huā Fěn.
 English Name: Snake-gourd Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Trichosanthis.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold nature, sweet, slightly bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Trichosanthis is the dried root of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., or Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms, used to clear heat, promote fluid production, moisten the lung, counteract toxins and reduce swelling for relieving thirst in cases of febrile diseases and diabetes, and treating boils, sores and abscesses.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Trichosanthis (Snake-gourd Root) is the dried root of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., or Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms, they are plants of the Trichosanthes genus, the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, gourd, squash family) of the Cucurbitales order.

 Characters of herbs: The root of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim is an irregular cylindrical, fusiform (spindle-shaped) or valvula block-shaped, 8~40 cm long, and 2~5 cm in diameter. The surface of the exocarp is yellowish-brown, has vertical wrinkles, and has transverse long lenticels; smooth after the exocarp is scraped off, it is yellow-white, with transverse wrinkles and residual cork bark patches, yellow vertical stripes are visible on the longitudinal section. The texture of the herb is solid and firm, the fracture surface is yellowish-white, powdery; and the vascular tubes are conspicuous, arranged in a slightly radial shape. The herb has a slight smell and a slightly bitter taste.

 The root of Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms: the peeled root is light sallow (light gray yellow) to yellowish brown, the fracture surface is light sallow (light gray yellow), and slightly poor powdery; the root with cortex is taupe brown and has reticulated wrinkles.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clearing heat and generate fluid; Moistening lung and dissolve phlegm; Reduce the swelling and remove the pus. Indicated for thirst of fibrile disease, much drink and wasting thirst, lung heat and dry cough, ulcers swollen poison, etc.

 Administration of Radix Trichosanthis (Tiān Huā Fěn): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Trichosanthis (Tiān Huā Fěn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 10~15 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~4 qian (about 9~12 grams), or prepare to pill,powder,Externally:prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick; ③.Internally:9~15 grams,water decoction,or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:proper amount,prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply stick.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Radix Trichosanthis should be used cautiously during pregnancy, should not be combined with herbs of Aconiti species.




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