Introduction of Di Long:Earthworm or Lumbricus.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Earthworm, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its source four animal species, ①.Pheretima aspergillum (E.Perrier)., ②.Pheretima vulgaris Chen., ③.Pheretima guillelmi (Michaelsen)., ④.Pheretima pectinifera Michaelsen., with a detailed introduction to the features of these four animal species, the lifa habits, and ecological environment of these four animal species, the features of the herb Earthworm, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.


dried brownish herb segments of Lumbricus Pin Yin Name: Dì Lónɡ.
 English Name: Earthworm.
 Latin Name: Lumbricus.
 Property and flavor: cold in nature, tastes salty.

 Brief introduction: The herb Lumbricus is the dried body of Pheretima aspergillum (Perrier) or Allolobophora caliginosa (Savigny) trapezoides (Ant.Duges), used to clear heat, extinguish wind, unblock collateral meridians, relieve asthma and induce diuresis, for the treatment of convulsions due to high fever, rheumatalgia, hemiplegia, bronchial asthma and accumulated heat in the bladder with dysuria. The herb is commonly known as Lumbricus, Earthworm, Pheretima, Dì Lónɡ.

 Source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Lumbricus (Earthworm) as the dried body of the species (1). Pheretima aspergillum (E.Perrier)., (2). Pheretima vulgaris Chen., (3). Pheretima guillelmi (Michaelsen)., (4). Pheretima pectinifera Michaelsen. They are small animals of the Pheretima genus, the Megscolecide family (Megascolecidae Rosa family) of the Opisthopora order. These 4 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Pheretima aspergillum (E.Perrier).

 a colorful drawing of Pheretima aspergillum E.Perrier,a worm is crawling in the tunnel under dandelion grass field Description: It is commonly known as Cān Huán Máo Yǐn. It grows to 115~375 mm long, and 5~12 mm wide. The dorsal hole begins at the 11/12 internode. 3 bands, glabrous and setae. Girdle bristles are thick and hard at the front, black at the end, widely spaced, and abaxially. The spermatheca hole is between the 30th to 34th somite, the male hole is between the 28th to 30th somite, holes in male glands are dense, 6~7 per side. The male hole is on the ventral setae of the somite, the out edge is surrounded by shallow pleats, the inner setae is uplifted, and the front and back sides have horizontal rows (one or two rows) of small mastoid processes, 10~20 on each side. The pores of the seminal vesicle are in 2 pairs, located on an oval protrusion between 7/8 somite and 8/9 somite, accounting for about 5/11 of the circumstantial somite. The ventral side of the foramen has horizontal rows (one or two rows) of mastoid processes, about 10 of which are not present at a distance from the foramen. Diaphragm 8/9, 9/10 are missing. The cecum is simple or ventral with dentate sacs. The seminal vesicles are bag-shaped, with short tubules and short blind tubules. Inside 2/3 slight-bend number turns, for the seminal vesicle. Each accessory gonad is massive, with a granular surface, and each has a group of thick cords connecting the mastoid process. The back is purplish gray, slightly lighter at the back, with white setae.

 an earthworm of Pheretima aspergillum E.Perrier is crawling on the ground surface Earthworms like warm, very sensitive to temperature, and will adjust the depth in the soil according to the temperature or ground temperature; Generally, they prefer to live in moist, loose, and fertile soil, but the humidity will make soil pores blocked, earthworms breathe difficult, easy to suffocate. Earthworms climb out of the ground after a common rain. The earthworm is a nocturnal sex animal, very sensitive to light, like dark, afraid of strong light, often escaping the illumination of intense sunshine, and ultraviolet rays, but not afraid of red light, inclined to weak light. Generally, at dusk, it climbs out of the ground to feed, mate, and return in the early morning. It prefers quiet, afraid of noise or vibration. The earthworm has a strong ability to regenerate when part of the body is damaged or cut off. Its life span is 1~3 years.

 many earthworms of Pheretima aspergillum E.Perrier crawl in mud Ecological Environment: The earthworm lives in moist and loose mud soil, with slow movement. It feeds on humus-rich organic matter. This species is distributed in the Zhujiang River area and other areas of China. It could be used for the treatment of high fever fainting, convulsion, joint pain, numbness, edema, hypertension, and other diseases.

 dried brownish herb slice segments of Earthworm are piled together Characters of herbs: It is a long strip-shaped sheet, curved, has slightly curled edges, 15~20 cm long, and 1~2 cm wide. The whole body has somite, the back is brown to purple-gray, and the abdomen is light yellow-brown; the 14~16 somites are the clitellum, which is commonly called "white neck" and is brighter. The front end of the body is slightly pointed, the caudal end (tail end) is blunt, the seta circle is rough and hard, and the color is slightly lighter. The male genital pore is located on the small hole protrusions of the 18th ventral side seta circle. The outer edge has several laps of cinctus shallow skin fold, the inner seta circle protuberates, and the anterior two rows have horizontal rows (one row or two rows) of papillae, ranging from 10 to 20 on each side. There are 3 pairs of spermathecal orifices, which are located on an elliptic protrusion between the 6th to 9th somite, accounting for about 5/11 perimeter of the somite. The herb is light, slightly coriaceous, not easily broken. The herb has a fishy smell, and it tastes slightly salty. The herb prepared from this species is known as Guang Di Long.

(2).Pheretima vulgaris Chen.

 an earthworm of Pheretima vulgaris Chen crawls on moist soil in a grass field in cloudy day Description: It is commonly known as Tōng Sú Huán Máo Yǐn. The species is similar in size, color, and internal structure to that of Pheretima guillelmi (Michaelsen). Only the spermathecal cavity is deep and broad, and both the anterior and posterior edges are swollen, there are visible 1 big and 1 small papillae inside the cavity. The male mating cavity is also deep and wide, the inner wall has many wrinkles, with 3 flat-roofed papillae, located in the bottom of the cavity, one of the papillae is where the epiandrum (male hole) is, able to turn inside out completely.

 an earthworm of Pheretima vulgaris Chen crawls on surface of field Ecological Environment: It lives in moist and organic materials-rich places. This species is distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, northern coastal regions, and other areas of China.

 an earthworm of Pheretima vulgaris Chen crawls in grass. Characters of herbs: It is 8~15 cm long, and 0.5~1.5 cm wide. The whole body has somite, the back is dark brown (chocolate brown) to yellow-brown, and the abdomen is light yellowish brown; There are 3 pairs of spermathecal orifices, located at the 6-7, 7-8, 8-9 somite. The 14–16 somites are clitellum, which is brighter. The 18th somite has a pair of male genital pores (genital ostium). The male mating cavity of the Pheretima vulgaris Chen can turn inside out completely, and is in the shape of a cauliflower; the male mating cavity of the Pheretima guillelmi (Michaelsen) is in the shape of a longitudinal crack; There are one or more papillae on the inner side of the male genital pore of Pheretima pectinifera. The features of the herb dried from Pheretima vulgaris, Pheretima guillelmi, Pheretima pectinifera are similar, the herb prepared from these three species is known as Hu Di Long.

(3).Pheretima guillelmi (Michaelsen).

 a living earthworm of Pheretima guillelmi Michaelsen crawls on ground. Description: It is commonly known as Wēi Lián Huán Máo Yǐn. It is 9.6~15 cm long, and 5~8 mm wide. The back is sallow (bluish-yellow) or gray-blue, dorsimeson (dorsal line) is teal. The number of body somites is 88-156. The clitellum is located on the 14-16 somite, in the shape of a ring, without setae. The setae on the body are finer, the front ventral surface is sparse and not thick. The male genital pore(genital ostium) is inside a shallow mating cavity on both sides of the 18th somite, when it has sunken it is a longitudinal crack, the inner wall has rumples (ruga), there are 2–3 setae between the rumples, the protrusion part on the cavity bottom is epiandrum, in front of the protrusion usually has papillae. Spermathecal orifices are in 3 pairs, and located between the 6-7, 7-8, and 8–9 somites, the orifices are located on a small protrusion in a transversal crack, and have no spermathecal cavity. The septum is absent between the 8-9, and 9–10 somites, caecum is simple. The 2/3 inner end of the spermathecal caecus is in a planum, bending left and right, is spermatheca (seminal receptacle).

 Ecological Environment: It likes dark and moisture, air circulation, oxygen sufficient, organic materials-rich environment, it is afraid of strong light, dry, high-temperature, and hypoxia. Air humidity is above 60%, the survival temperature range is 5~30 °C (Celsius, or 41~86 degrees Fahrenheit), the suitable growth temperature is 20~25 °C (Celsius, or 68~77 degrees Fahrenheit), dormancy starts when the temperature is below 5 °C (Celsius, or 41 degrees Fahrenheit). Food is very miscellaneous, carrion organic matter can be used. It is also hermaphroditic, and cross-fertilized, and the different shapes of worm cocoons are characteristic of classification. General 3~6 months of sexual maturity, 3 months of reproduction once, it can lay eggs 3~4 times a year, each time producing 2~3 worm cocoons. Terrestrial earthworms grow very fast, especially the earthworms before sexual maturity, every 10 days weight increases almost 1 time, their life span is short and long, their short life span is more than 200 days, long life span is up to 10 years. It is distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and other areas of north China.

 Characters of herbs: The features of the herb dried from Pheretima vulgaris, Pheretima guillelmi, Pheretima pectinifera are similar.

(4).Pheretima pectinifera Michaelsen.

 many earthworms of Pheretima pectinifera Michaelsen are crawling together. Description: It is commonly known as Zhì Máng Huán Máo Yǐn. The body is 10~15 cm long, and 5~9 mm wide, the back and sides are modena (dark purple) or prunus (violet red), setae ring is not white. The clitellum is on 3 somites, and has no setae. The front setae is thick, but are not particularly thick on the 2nd to 9th somites. The male genital pore (genital ostium) is in the center of a cross-shaped protrusion, and is often covered by a gibbous skin fold, there is one or many papillae, and its arrangement varies greatly. Spermathecal orifices are in 3 pairs, located between the 6-7, 7-8, and 8-9 somites, its location is near half the distance of the somite perimeter, the orifice is located at the backside of one papillae, the epidermal glands of the front side and back side are swollen, orifice is often sunken, the inside ventral surface of the orifice is in front of or behind the setae ring, has papillae, arranged in orders. The septum is absent between the 8-9, and 9–10 somites. The caecum is doubled, and its ventral side has comb-shaped follicles. The accessory sexual gland has a strand short pipe. The caecus is longer than spermatheca, the 3/4 of the inner end is slightly thicker, or straight or slightly bending.

 Ecological Environment: It lives in moist and organic materials-rich places. The earthworm is distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The features of the herb dried from Pheretima vulgaris, Pheretima guillelmi, Pheretima pectinifera are similar.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.function of thrombolysis and anticoagulant effect; ②.hypotensive activity (lowering blood pressure); ③.preventing and relieving cerebral arterial thrombosis (apoplexia); ④.antiasthmatic; ⑤.antipyretic effect, and so on.

 Medicinal efficacy: Clearing heat and stopping convulsion, calm the liver and extinguishing wind (relieve dizziness, high fever, infantile convulsions, epilepsy, etc.), activating collaterals, relieving asthma and prompt diuresis. It is indicated for high fever and coma (hyperpyrexia or ardent fever, unconsciousness), febrile disease with fever and madness, frightened epilepsy and convulsions, liver Yang cephalea (headache due to hyperactivity of liver-Yang), joint arthralgia, limb numbness, stroke and hemiplegia, hemiplegia (paralysis of half of one's body), rheumatic arthralgia pain, lung heat and dyspnea with cough, edema and oliguria, urinary stoppage, etc.

 Administration of Lumbricus (Dì Lónɡ): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Lumbricus (Dì Lónɡ)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 5~10 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 5~10 grams;or prepare to finely ground herb powder, take 1~2 grams each time;or prepare to pill, powder;or fresh herb blend with sugar or salt water and take. Externally:proper amount, mash the fresh herb and apply stick, or extract juice and smear apply;prepare to finely ground herb powder and sprinkle, or mixed and smear apply.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Lumbricus should forbidden using during pregnancy.




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  • 1.Introduction of Di Long:Earthworm or Lumbricus.

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