Introduction of Nan Sha Shen:Fourleaf Ladybell Root or Radix Adenophorae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Fourleaf Ladybell Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch., ②.Adenophora stricta Miq., 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 Fourleaf Ladybell Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Adenophorae (Fourleaf Ladybell Root).

flowering plants of Adenophora tetraphylla,plants with five pendulous liliac flowers Pin Yin Name: Nán Shā Shēn.
 English Name: Fourleaf Ladybell Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Adenophorae.
 Property and flavor: slight cold, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Adenophorae is the dried root of Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch., or Adenophora stricta Miq., used to nourish Yin, clear the lung, resolve phlegm and replenish Qi for relieving cough in cases of lung Yin deficiency, and deficiency of Qi and fluid in the late stage of a febrile disease. The herb is commonly known as Radix Adenophorae, Fourleaf Ladybell Root, Nán Shā Shēn.

 Botanical source: The herb Radix Adenophorae (Fourleaf Ladybell Root) is the dried root of Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch., or Adenophora stricta Miq., they are plants of the Adenophora Fisch. Genus, the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) of the Asterales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Adenophora stricta Miq.

 a flowering plant of Adenophora stricta Miq.,with seven flowers Botanical description: Adenophora stricta Miq is commonly known as Sha Shen, a perennial herb, stem grows up to 40–80 cm high. The stem is unbranched, often covered with short bristles, or villous. Basal leaves are cordate, large, and with a long petiole; cauline leaves are sessile, or only the cauline leaf on the lower part has a very short stalk with wings; leaf blades are elliptical, narrowly ovate, the base is cuneate, 3~11 cm long, 1.5~5 cm wide. The apex is sharp-pointed or shortly acuminate, the edge is irregularly serrate, and both surfaces are covered with sparse short hairs or long hirsute, or nearly glabrous.

 The inflorescence is usually unbranched and compose false raceme, or has short branches and form extremely narrow panicles, rarely with long branches compose panicles; pedicels are less than 5 mm long; the calyx is usually pubescent or has granular hairs, and few are glabrous, hypanthium (calyx tube) is usually obovate, few are obovate-conical, 5 lobes, narrow and long, mostly are subulate, a few are strip-lanceolate; corolla is broadly campanulate (bell-shaped), blue or purple, out surface is glabrous or has hirsute, 5 lobes, triangular-ovate; the floral disc is short tubular, glabrous; 5 stamens, the lower part of filaments is enlarged into flakiness, anthers are slender; style is usually slightly longer than corolla, and stigma is 3-lobed, the ovary is inferior, 3-loculed.

 Capsularfruit is an ellipsoidal globule, rarely elliptical, 6~10 mm long. Many seeds, brown, and slightly flat, there is 1 edge, about 1.5 cm long. Its flowering and fruiting periods are from August to October.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows mostly in the grass and rocks of low mountains and wild, it also grows on grassland at altitudes of 600~700 meters above sea level, on open hill slopes, and in forests at altitudes of 1,000~3,200 meters above sea level. It is mainly distributed in the northern area, the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, and other areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: The plant prefers a warm or cool climate, is tolerant of coldness, and drought, but needs proper water in the growth phase. In the seedling stage, drought often leads to dead seedlings. Adenophora stricta Miq of the current year normally does not bloom and fruit, it will bloom until June of the second year, its flowering period is from June to September, and seeds mature in September. It is appropriate to choose a field with deep soil layers, fertile, humus-rich, sandy loam with good drainage for cultivation.

 Characters of herbs: The root is cylindrical or conical, some are curved or twisted; and a few have 2~3 branches, 8~27 cm long, and 1~4.3 cm in diameter. The surface is yellowish white or light brown yellow, coarse, with irregularly twisted wrinkles, and has deep vertical dense stripes in the upper part, the concave part usually has tan (chocolate brown) cork bark. The herb has 1 basal part of the stem at the top, rarely several, 2~7 cm long, there are many semi-moon-shaped stem marks around, intertwining. The texture of the herb is hard and fragile, making it easy to break, the fracture surface is uneven and whitish (almost white); and there are many cracks, loose and puffed. The herb has a slight smell, and it tastes slight sweet and bitter. The herb of a better grade is well-proportioned in thickness, hypertrophic, stout, and white.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.Expectorant effect; ②.Cardiac stimulant effect; ③.Antifungal action:Radix Adenophorae aqueous extract (1:2) had different degree of inhibitory effect on dermatophytes such as Candida oduangi and Candida albicans in vitro.

 Medicinal efficacy: Nourish Yin and clear the lung, reduce phlegm, benefit Qi. It is indicated for lung heat and dry cough, Yin deficiency and over-strained cough, dry cough and phlegm sticky, Qi Yin deficiency, dysphoria with smothery sensation and dry mouth.

 Administration of Radix Adenophorae (Nán Shā Shēn): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Adenophorae (Nán Shā Shēn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:9~15 grams; ②.Internally: water decoction, 3~5 qian(about 9~15 grams) (fresh herb 1~3 liang, about 30~90 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.water decoction, 10~15 grams, fresh herbs 15~30 grams; or prepared to pill, powder.
 Precautions and Adverse Reactions:The herb Radix Adenophorae should not be combined with black false hellebore.

(2).Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch.

 a flowering plant of Adenophora tetraphylla Thunb.Fisch.,with many pendulous liliac flowers Botanical description: It is commonly known as Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch., Adenophora verticillata Fisch., Campunula tetraphylla Thunb., Si Ye Sha Shen, or Lun Ye Sha Shen (means four-leaf Adenophora, or wheel blade Adenophora ).

 The main difference between this species and Adenophora stricta Miq. is: 3~6 leaves grow in a whorl, ovoid to linear-lanceolate. The inflorescence branch is often whorled; the floral disc is short, 2~4 mm long, and its diameter is not over 1 mm; the corolla is thin and small, nearly tubular, the opening part is slightly shrunk; and the lobes are 2 mm long. Its flowering period is from July to September.

 Growth characteristics: The plant grows mostly in grassland or bushes in the mountains and in the wild. It is mainly distributed in the northern area, the Yellow River area, the lower reaches of the Yangtze River area, the Zhujiang River area, and other areas of China.



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  • 1.Introduction of Nan Sha Shen:Fourleaf Ladybell Root or Radix Adenophorae.

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