Introduction of Kun Bu:Kelp,Tangle or Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Kelp or Tangle, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Laminaria japonica Aresch., ②.Ecklonia kurome Okam., 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 Kelp or Tangle, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae(Kelp or Tangle).

Kelp:fresh kelp Pin Yin Name: Kūn Bù.
 English Name: Kelp or Tangle.
 Latin Name: Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae.
 Property and flavor: cold, salty.

 Brief introduction: The herb Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae is the dried thallus of sea tangle, Laminaria japonica Aresch., or Ecklonia kurome Okam., used together with seaweed to eliminate phlegm, soften hard masses and induce diuresis. The herb is commonly known as Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae, Kelp or Tangle, Kūn Bù.

 Botanical source: The herb Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae (Kelp or Tangle) is the dried thallus of Laminaria japonica Aresch., or Ecklonia kurome Okam., they are plants of the Laminaria or Saccharina genus, the Laminariaceae family (brown algae family) of the Laminariales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Laminaria japonica Aresch.


 Laminaria japonica Aresch.:growing plant. Botanical description: Laminaria japonica Aresch is a plant of the Laminariaceae family and Saccharina genus, it is commonly known as Laminaria ochotensis Miyabe., Tangle, Sea Tangle, or Hai Dai. Frond is olive brown, and turns dark brown when dry. At maturity, it is coriaceous and strip-shaped, generally 2~6 meters long, 20~50 cm wide, the middle of the blade has two parallel vertical shallow grooves, the thicker part between two grooves is the middle kelp part, the thickness is about 2~5 mm, gradually thins on both sides of the edge, and there are wavy creases, leaf blade base is cuneate, thick phase is a flat circular shape, under it there is a cylindrical or flat-circular short handle, 5~15 cm long, inside the handle and blade are composed of pith, cortex, and the epidermal layer. There are mucus cavities in the epicortex and secretory cells in the cavities, which can secrete mucus to the surface of the thallus (frond), forming a gelatinous layer, making the thallus sticky and slippery, and playing a protective role. The pith is composed of many algal filaments, and one end of the algal filament's cell is expanded in the shape of a flared pipe. The thallus leaves at the young stage are smooth on the surface, and the small-kelp stage leaves are observed with a concave-convex phenomenon. In the lower part of the annual thallus leaf blade, the growing sori (sporangium group) are usually visible and are in the shape of orbicular patches. Biennial thallus grows sori (sporangium group) on almost all leaves. The holdfast (adhesive disc) is composed of forked pseudorhiza. The spores mature in autumn.

 Ecological environment: Laminaria japonica Aresch grows on a rocky reef in seawater areas over 1~3 meters depth, deeper than the tidal line. The plant is mainly distributed in the Huanghai Sea and the Bohai sea sea-coast, China. But it is already cultivated in sea coast zones of the south regions.

 Growth characteristics: Kelp is originally a cold-water seaweed. Its growth temperature is 0~13 °C (Celsius, or 32~55.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and 2~7 °C (Celsius, or 35.6~44.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is the optimal temperature for its growth. The photosynthesis of Laminaria japonica Aresch needs sufficient sunshine, and it needs to absorb nutrients from seawater, due to the turbidity and transparency of seawater, the water layer suitable for its growth is also of different depths. The deeper is more than 2~3 meters below the tidal line, and the shallower is l meter under the water surface (applying nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer in the seawater can improve the yield of kelp). It grows well in the sea area with a high flow rate, contrarily, it grows slowly and is easy to be infected with diseases. Generally, the suitable flow rate is 50~80 cm/second.

 Kelp:herb photo Characters of herbs: Kelp is curled and folded into a ball or tangled into a bundle. The whole herb is black-brown or green-brown, with the hoarfrost on the surface. When it is soaked in water, it unfolds and stretches into a flat, long strip-shaped, length is 50~150 cm and width is 10~40 cm. The middle part is thicker, and the edges are thinner and wavy. The texture of kelp is subcoriaceous, and the remaining petiole is flat cylindrical-shaped. The kelp smells fishy and tastes salty. The herb of a better grade has a big leaf blade, thick, and green.

 Pharmacological actions: ①. Effects on thyroid gland; ②. Antihypertensive effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: Resolving hard lump, eliminate phlegm, alleviate water retention, indicated for the treatment of galls, scrofula, testicular swelling and pain, phlegm and retained fluid, general edema.

 Administration of Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae (Kūn Bù): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae (Kūn Bù)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 6~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1~3 qian (about 3~9 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 5~15 grams, or prepare to finely ground herb powder and prepared to pill, powder.

(2).Ecklonia kurome Okam.


 Ecklonia kurome Okam.:fresh plant Botanical description: Ecklonia kurome Okam is a plant of the Alariaceae family and Ecklonia genus, some classification systems classify it into the Lessoniaceae family, it is commonly known as Ecklonia kurome., Tangle, or Sea Tangle, Hei Kun Bu. Frond is dark brown to brunette, coriaceous, 30~100 cm high or higher. Thallus is flat and broad, the middle part is slightly thick, 1-2-pinnately parted from both sides, the lobes are long-liguliform or longer, slightly wrinkled, and the edge is generally coarsely serrate. The petiole is cauliform (stemlike), cylindrical or slightly flat, 4~12 cm long, and 3~8 mm in diameter. In the cortical cells of the frond, mucous cavities are arranged in an annular-shape, in 1~2 layers. The pith is composed of a nondirectional bugle fiber tube. The sori (sporangium group) forms on the surface of the lateral lobes and the central portion of the mature thallus. The holdfast (adhesive disc) is composed of dichotomous-branch pseudorhiza. Sporangium forms in early summer, and spores mature in autumn.

 Characters of herbs: The leaf blade part is an oval or flat circular shape, 1-2-pinnately parted, lobes are long-liguliform, and the edge is sparsely serrate or entire. It smells fishy and tastes salty. The herb of a better grade has a big leaf blade, thick, and green.
 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Kun Bu:Kelp,Tangle or Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae.

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