✵The article gives records of the herb Seaweed, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag., ②.Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch., 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 Seaweed, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Pin Yin Name: Hái Zǎo.
English Name: Seaweed.
Latin Name: Sargassum.
Property and flavor: cold, bitter, salty.
Brief introduction: The herb Sargassum is the dried thallus of seaweed, Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag. or Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch., used (1).to eliminate phlegm and soften hard masses for treating goiter, scrofula, and swelling of the testis, and (2).to induce diuresis for edema. The herb is commonly known as Sargassum, Seaweed or Hái Zǎo.
Botanical source: The herb Sargassum (Seaweed) is the dried thallus of Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag., Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch., they are plants of the Sargassaceae family of the Moceros order.
Herbal classic book defined the herb Sargassum (Seaweed) as the dried thallus of seaweed:(1). Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag., (2). Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:
(1).Sargassum pallidum (Turn.)C.Ag.
Botanical description: Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag. is also known as Sargassum confusum C.Ag. It is commonly known as Hai Hao Zi, or Da Ye Zao (Big-leaf seaweed), or Hai Cao (Seagrass). Perennials brown algae, frond is yellow-brown, grows up to 30~100 cm tall. Initial 1~2 upright trunks, cylindrical, gradually growing, pinnate branches on both sides grow out at obtuse or right angles to each other, branch axils grow out branchlet, young branches and young main trunk are with short small thorn-like protrusions. The shape of the leaves is variable, the primary leaves are lanceolate, oblanceolate, or obovate, generally 5~9 cm long, 3~18 cm wide, with inconspicuous middle rib-like protrusions, and conspicuous sterile nest spots, but such leaves fall off soon after growth; Secondary leaves are linear, oblanceolate, obovate or pinnate split; Branchlet grow out on secondary leaves axils, many narrow-lanceolate or linear leaves grow out on branches. The air sac mostly grows between the axils of the end branches, is spindle-shaped or obovate when young, spheric shape after growth, the apex is rounded or with pointed and thin protrusions, and 2~5 mm in diameter. The pyrenium is solitary or racemose-like arranged on the reproductive branchlet, cylindrical, generally about 3~15 mm long, and about 1 mm in diameter. Dioecious. The holdfast(adhesive disc) is a flat disc or short conical.
Ecological environment: Sargassum pallidum grows in tide pools of low tide zone, and on rocks in the water of 1~4 meters deeper than tidal line, which are often impacted by waves and water. The plant is mainly distributed in coastal areas.
Growth characteristics: Sargassum pallidum grows on rocks in low-tide shallow waters. It is distributed in coastal areas.
Characters of herbs: The herb is also known as Alga Sargassi Pallidi or big-leaf seaweed. The main rhachis has short thorn-shaped protrusions on the surface. Many branches, basal cytofila is lanceolate, entire-edge or coarsely toothed, corious, and upper cytofila is narrow-lanceolate or threadlike. Air sacs are spheric shape (globular shape) or oval (egg-shaped), and the apex is pliable or with a short tip. The pyrenium is cylindrical. The herb has a fishy smell and tastes salty. The herb of better grade is black-brown, with less salt rust, tender branches, and no sandstones.
Medicinal efficacy: Resolving hard lump, dissolving phlegm, alleviate water retention, indicated for galls, scrofula, testicular swelling and pain, phlegm and retained fluid, general edema, etc.
Administration of Sargassum (Hái Zǎo):
Administration Guide of Sargassum (Hái Zǎo)
①.Internally:6~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), infusing in wine, or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 1.5~3 qian (about 4.5~9 grams), infusing in wine, or prepare to pill,powder.
Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Sargassum should not be combined with licorice root.
Botanical description: Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch. is also known as Hizikia fusiforme (Harv.) Okam. It is commonly known as Yang Qi Cai, or Small-leaf seaweed. Perennial brown algae, frond is yellow-brown, fleshy, grows up to 20~500 cm tall, or up to over 2 meters. Young algae have 2~3 primary leaves at the base, which fall off early. The main trunk is upright, branched, cylindrical, and 2~4 mm in diameter. The leaves are highly varied, in many shapes, different in size, linear, spoon-shaped, oval (egg-shaped), or clavate, spoon-shaped leaf edge is serrated or shallowly lobed; The leaf is sometimes swollen at the apex, into an air sac, and has many shapes, including spheric shape (globular shape), pyriform (pear-shaped), fusiform (spindle-shaped), etc. The algae grow in warm seas, most leaves are linear, but the leaves in cold water are clavate, with spindle-shaped air sacs, about 5~10 mm long, and most of them have short leaf tips and short cylindrical petioles. The pyrenium grows in leaf axils or twigs, cylindrical, blunt-pointed, in different lengths, 5~15 mm long, with short stalks, occasionally branched. Dioecious, generally male pyrenium length is 4~10 mm, and diameter is 1~1.5 mm; female pyrenium is 2~4 mm long, and slightly thicker. The holdfast(adhesive disc) is cylindrical pseudorhiza-shaped.
Ecological environment: Sargassum fusiforme grows on rocks with seawater washing in low tide and areas higher than the tidal line. The plant is mainly distributed in the Huanghai Sea and the Bohai sea coast, China.
Characters of herbs: The herb is also known as Alga Sargassi Fusiformis or small-leaf seaweed, the lobules of seaweed are all shriveled and curled, black-brown, some are covered with white hoarfrost, 15~40 cm long. The main rhachis is cylindrical, with short branches, and the leaf-shaped protrusion is linear, long-rod-shaped, slightly flat, and the apex is sometimes swollen, hollow, or shield-shaped. The air sacs are fusiform (spindle-shaped), pyriform (pear-shaped), or spheric shape (globular shape), clustered. The pyrenium is cylindrical or oblong oval. The herb has a fishy smell and tastes salty. The herb of better grade is black-brown, with less salt rust, tender branches, and no sandstones.