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).

Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim:growing plant 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(family Cucurbitaceae), 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 of the Cucurbitales order.

(1).Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim.


 Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim.:drawing of plant and herb Botanical description: The Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim., is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, it is commonly known as "Gua Lou", climbing vines, up to 10 meters; columnar roots, thick and thick, rich in starch, light yellow-brown. Stems are thicker, much branched, with longitudinal ribs and grooves, spreading white by pilose. The leaves are papery, nearly round in profile, about 5~20 cm in length and width, often 3~7 shallow to mid-cleft, sparsely or not split and only unequal coarse teeth, splinters obovate, oblong, apex obtuse, cuspidate, margin often shallowly lobed, leaf base cordate, ankle deficient deep 2~4 cm, upper surface dark green, rough, abaxially pale green, veins villous along both veins Bristles, base palmate veins 5, veined reticular; petiole 3~10 cm long, with vertical stripes, villous. Tendril 3-7 disambiguated, pubescent. Flowers dioecious. Male racemes are solitary, or connate with a single flower, or solitary on shoots, racemes 10~20 cm long, stout, with longitudinal ribs and grooves, puberulous, apically 5~8 flowers, single pedicel ca. 15 cm, pedicel ca. 3 mm, bracteoles obovate or broadly ovate, 1.5~3 cm long, 1~2 cm wide, middle and upper parts with coarse teeth, base stipitate, pubescent; calyx tube tubular, 2~4 cm long, apical expanded, ca. 10 mm in diameter, middle and lower ca. 5 mm in diameter, pubescent, lobes lanceolate, 10~15 mm long, broad 3~5 mm, entire; corolla white, lobes obovate, ca. 20 mm, width 18 mm, apical middle with 1 green tip, with filiform tassels on both sides, pubescent; anthers confluent, ca. 6 mm, about 4 mm in diameter, filaments separate, stout, villous. Female flowers solitary, pedicels 7.5 cm long, pubescent; calyx tube cylindric, 2.5 cm long, ca. 1.2 cm, lobes, and the corolla with male flowers; ovary elliptic, green, 2 cm long, 1 cm in diameter, style 2 cm long, 3 stigmas. Fruit pedicels stout, 4~11 cm long; fruit elliptic or rounded, 7~10.5 cm long, yellow-brown or orange-yellow when ripe; seeds ovate-elliptic, compressed, 11~16 mm long, 7~12 mm wide, pale yellow-brown, with ridgeline near margin. Its flowering period is from May to August, fruiting from August to October.

 Growth characteristics: The plant usually grows on the slopes at an altitude of 200~1800 meters above sea level, under forests, bushes, grasslands and village fields. It distributes in the north, east, south, southwest and other regions of China.

 Snakegourd Fruit:herb photo Characters of herbs: The herb is spherical or wide elliptical, 7 to 15 cm long and 6 to 10 cm in diameter. The surface is orange red or orange yellow, frustrated or smoother, the top has a circular flowers residue, the base is slightly pointed, with residual stalks. The herb is heavy or light, the texture is fragile or brittle, easy to break, the inner surface is yellow white, with red yellow silk collaterals, fruit pulp is orange yellow, viscous, bonded to most seeds and form a conglobation. The herb has a caramel smell, it tastes light sourish, sweet.

 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, grinded into fine powder and apply stick.

(2).Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms.


 Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms.:fruiting plant Botanical description: The Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms., is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, it is commonly known as "Shuang Bian Gua Lou", perennial grass vines. Strong roots. Stalks slender, twining or climbing, ribbed, brown pubescent when young. The tendrils are twinned and the tips are forked. Leaves alternate, broadly ovate, 8~16 cm long, nearly equal in width and length, base shallowly cordate, usually 3–9 deep-septate to the base, lobes lanceolate or narrowly obovate, acute, margin sparsely toothed, both surfaces are hairless, with granular protrusions, petiole length 4~6 cm.
 
Radix Trichosanthis(Snake-gourd Root).

Snake-gourd Root:herb photo 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(family Cucurbitaceae), 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 of the Cucurbitales order.

 Characters of herbs: The root of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim is an irregular cylinder, spindle or petal-shaped, with a length of 8 ~ 16 cm and a diameter of 1.5 ~ 5.5 cm. The surface is yellowish white or light brown, with longitudinal wrinkles, fine root marks and slightly concaved transverse long lenticels, and some have yellowish brown cortex residue. The texture of the herb is solid and firm, the fracture surface is white or light yellow, rich in powder, the yellow xylem can be seen in the fracture surface, slightly arranged radially, and yellow striped xylem can be seen in longitudinal section. The herb has a slight smell, slightly bitter taste.

 The root of Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms: the peeled root is light grayish yellow to brown common color, the fracture surface is light grayish yellow, and slightly poor powdery; The root with cortex is grayish brown with reticulated or meshy 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: Internally:10~15 grams(CP),Internally:water decoction,3~4 qian(about 9~12 grams),or prepare to pill,powder,Externally:grinded into fine powder and apply stick(DCTM),Internally:9~15 grams,water decoction,or prepare to pill,powder.Externally:proper amount,grinded into fine powder and apply stick(CHMM).
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Radix Trichosanthis should be used cautiously during pregnancy, should not be combined with herbs of Aconiti species.

 
Expectorants,Herbs for Resolving Heat-Phlegm.

 Introduction: Expectorants,herbs for resolving heat-phlegm: an agent or substance herbs warm in property, used in treating disorders of heat-phlegm or phlegm-dampness.
 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Gua Lou:Snakegourd Fruit or Fructus Trichosanthis.

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