Introduction of Shang Lu:Pokeberry Root or Radix Phytolaccae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Pokeberry Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Phytolacca acinosa Roxb., ②.Phytolacca americana L., 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 Pokeberry Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Phytolaccae(Pokeberry Root).

Radix Phytolaccae:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Shānɡ Lù.
 English Name: Pokeberry Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Phytolaccae.
 Property and flavor: cold, bitter, toxic.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Phytolaccae is the dried root of Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.or Phytolacca americana L.(family Phytolaccaceae), used as a diuretic and hydragogue for treating edema and ascites, also used externally for treating boils and sores. The herb is commonly known as Radix Phytolaccae, Pokeberry Root, Shānɡ Lù.

 Botanical source: Official herbal classics and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Radix Phytolaccae(Pokeberry Root) as the dried root of the species (1). Phytolacca acinosa Roxb., or (2). Phytolacca americana L. They are plants of the Phytolacca L. genus, the Phytolaecaceae family of the Centrospermae order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced as:

(1).Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.


 Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.:drawing of plant and herb Botanical description: It is commonly known as Shānɡ Lù. Perennial herbs, 0.5~1.5 meters tall, glabrous. Root hypertrophy, fleshy, obconical, flaxen or grayish brown, yellowish-white inside. Stem erect, cylindrical, longitudinally furrowed, succulent, green or reddish-purple, much-branched. Leaf-blade thinly papery, elliptic, oblong or lanceolate elliptic, 10~30 cm long, 4.5~15 cm wide, apex acute or acuminate, base cuneate, tapering, fine white spots scattered on both sides (needle crystal), midrib convex on abaxially. Petiole 1.5~3 cm long, stout, grooved above, semicircle below, slightly flattened at base.

 Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.:fruiting plants Racemes terminal or opposite to leaves, terete, erect, usually shorter than leaves, densely flowery; Peduncle 1~4 cm long; Bracts linear at base of pedicel, ca. 1.5 mm long, upper 2 bracteoles linear-lanceolate, homogeneous; Pedicels slender, 6~10~13 mm long, base thickened; Flowers bisexual, ca. 8 mm in diameter. 5 tepals, white, yellow-green, elliptic, ovate or oblong, apex obtuse, 3~4 mm long, ca. 2 mm wide, equal in size, often reflexed after flower; 8~10 stamens, subequal as tepals, filaments white, subulate, base flaky, persistent, anthers elliptic, pink; Carpels are usually 8, sometimes as little as 5 or as much as 10, detached; Style is short, erect, apex recurved, stigma inconspicuous.

 Fruit stock erect; Berry oblate, ca. 7 mm in diam., black when ripe; Seeds reniform, black, ca. 3 mm long, 3-edged.

 Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.:fruit berry Ecological environment: The plant grows in a thin forest or garden. It often grows widely at the foot of the mountain, in the forest, along the road, and in front of the house. It prefers a warm and humid climate, resistant to cold and waterlogging, and the temperature suitable for growth is 14~30℃. The above-ground part withers in autumn and winter, while the underground fleshy root can withstand the low temperature of -15℃. Wide adaptability to the soil, whether it is sandy soil or red loam, whether the soil is fertile or barren, can grow luxuriant foliage. The plant mainly distributes in the southwest to the north area of China, it also distributes to other areas of East Asia and South Asia.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Phytolacca acinosa prefers a warm and humid climate, resistant to cold. The suitable growth temperature is about 14~30℃. The sandy loam with deep, loose, fertile soil, rich in humus and good drainage is better. It is not suitable for low-lying or heavy clay cultivation.

 Characters of herbs: The root is conical, with many branches. The surface is grayish-brown or grayish-yellow, with obvious transverse lenticels and longitudinal furrows. Most of the commodities are pieces of cross-cutting slices or longitudinal cutting slices. The cross-cutting slice is an irregular circle with edge shrinkage, 2~8 cm in diameter and 2~6 mm in thickness, the fracture surface is light yellow or yellowish-white, and multiple uneven concentric rings. The longitudinal cutting slice is an irregular rectangle, curved or curled, with a length of 10~14 cm and a width of 1~5 cm. The surface is uneven, and the wooden part presents many raised longitudinal stripes. The texture of the herb is hard and not easily broken. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes sweet and mild, tingling tongue after chewing for a while.The herb of better grade has large slice, white color.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.significant expectorant effect; ②.antitussive effect; ③.diuretic effect; ④.inhibitory effect on Shigella dysenteriae, influenza bacillus, Diplococcus pneumoniae, and some dermatophytes; ⑤.immune-enhancing; ⑥.anti-inflammatory; ⑦.anti-tumor effects.

 Medicinal efficacy: Hydragogue and detumescence(reduce swelling), alleviate water retention, free urine and stool, detoxification, and eliminating stagnation. It is indicated for edema and swelling fullness, constipation, and urinary obstruction, beriberi, pharyngitis(sore throat), carbuncles, malignant sore, abdominal mass, hypochondrium or an abdominal mass, scrofula, carbuncles swelling and sore poison, etc.

 Administration of Radix Phytolaccae(Shānɡ Lù): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Phytolaccae(Shānɡ Lù)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~9 grams.Externally:mashed the fresh herb,or grinded the dry herb into fine powder,smear and apply stick;②.Internally:water decoction,1.5~3 qian(about 4.5~9 grams), or prepare to powder.Externally:mashed the herb and apply stick;③.Internally:water decoction,3~10 grams,or prepared to powder.Externally:proper amount,mashed and apply stick.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: should forbidden using the herb Radix Phytolaccae during pregnancy.

(2).Phytolacca americana L.


 Phytolacca americana L.:fruiting plants Botanical description: It is commonly known as Chuí Xù Shānɡ Lù. Perennial herbs, 1~2 meters tall. Roots stout, hypertrophic, obconical. Stem erect, cylindrical, sometimes purplish red.

 Leaf blade elliptic ovate or ovate-lanceolate, 9~18 cm long, 5~10 cm wide, apex acute, base cuneate; Petiole 1~4 cm long.

 Phytolacca americana L.:fruiting plants Racemes terminal or lateral, 5~20 cm long; Pedicels 6~8 mm long; Flowers white, microstrip reddish, ca. 6 mm in diameter; 5 tepals, stamens, carpels and styles usually 10, carpels united.

 Fruit stock pendulous; Berries are oblate, purplish-black when ripe; Seed kidney rounded, ca. 3 mm in diameter. Its flowering period is from June to August, fruiting from August to October.

 Phytolacca americana L.:fruiting plants Ecological environment: The plant grows under trees, in the thin forest, on the roadside, wasteland, and damp places near houses. The plant originally distributes in North America, it was introduced cultivation after 1960 and grows throughout China, and it mainly distributes in the middle and lower Yangtze River area, the Zhujiang river area, the middle reaches area of the Yellow River, north area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The shape of the herb is similar to the root of Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.The herb of better grade has large slice, white color.
 
Diuretics and Hydragogues Herbs:Herbs Hydragogues or Drastic Purgatives.

 Introduction: Herbs Hydragogues or Drastic Purgatives: also known as diuretic hydragogue herbs, an agent or substance herbs that causes copious discharge of water through catharsis and at the same time increases urine excretion.
 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Shang Lu:Pokeberry Root or Radix Phytolaccae.

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