Introduction of Wu Gong:Centipede or Scolopendra.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Centipede, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined source one insect species, ①.Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch., and another usable insect species, ②.Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport)., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two insect species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two insect species, the features of the herb Centipede, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Scolopendra(Centipede).

Scolopendra:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Wú Gōnɡ.
 English Name: Centipede.
 Latin Name: Scolopendra.
 Property and flavor: warm, pungent, toxic.

 Brief introduction: The herb Scolopendra is the dried body of Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L.Koch, used (1).to extinguish wind and relieve spasms for the treatment of tics, convulsion, tetanus, and facial paralysis, (2).to unblock collateral meridians and alleviate pain in cases of stubborn arthralgia and intractable migraine, and (3).as a detoxicant for treating scrofula and venomous snake-bite. The herb is commonly known as Scolopendra, Centipede, Wú Gōnɡ.

 Source: The herbal classic book defined the herb Scolopendra (Centipede) as the dried body of the species (1). Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch., other famous herbal classics defined the herb Scolopendra (Centipede) as the dried body of the species (1). Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch., or (2). Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport). They are small animals (arthropod) of the Scolopendra genus, the Scolopendridae family of the Centipede order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch.


 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Arthropod Description: The arthropod is commonly known as Shǎo Jí Wú Gōnɡ (which means Centipede with fewer spines), the adult insect grows to 110–140 mm long. Its cephalic plate and the first notum are golden yellow, from the second notum the color varies from atrovirens (green-black) to sap green (dark green), at the terminal notum, sometimes it is nearly yellowish-brown, the sternal plate, sternum, and ambulatory legs (paraeiopods) are faint yellow (pale yellow). The notum has two inconspicuous vertical grooves from the 4th to the 9th somites. The sternum has vertical grooves between the 2nd and 19th somites. The 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th somites (arthromeres) have one pair of spiraculums on both sides. There are 4 stemmas on each side of the front part of the cephalic plate, integrated into the left and right eye groups; there are ioteriums (venom glands) inside the maxilliped (maxillipede); the front edge of the toothed plate has 5 denticles, and the inner 3 denticles are close to each other. 21 pairs of ambulatory legs, the terminal pair of ambulatory legs are the longest, extending back, caudiform. The rear end of the coxopleura has 2 clavula; There are 2 prickles on the outside of the ventral surface of the anterior leg, and 1 prickle on the inside of the ventral surface of the anterior leg; 1 prickle and 1 coign prickle (corner spine) on the inside of the back surface. There are two clavula at the top of the coign prickle.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Life habits: Centipede lives in damp and dark places, especially in rotten wood, stone gaps, and wet grass. Photophobia, nocturnal, preying on insects and other small animals. When the weather turns cold in October, it passes into the deep soil. The next year after the Awakening of Insects (or Excited Insects, one of the lunar calendar's solar terms, the 5th to 7th of March), the weather turns warm, and it comes out of the hole and searches for food. It spawns (lays eggs) between spring and summer. The female worm curled up its body and surrounded the egg group to hatch and protect the larvae. At night, crickets, grasshoppers, chafers, and moths can be used to prey on insects, but also to kill small vertebrates (such as sparrows, lizards, and snakes) with their poisonous jaws. They eat each other. Generally, after October, when the weather turns cold, it drills into the soil, lurking in the ground and overwintering in soil of 10–13 cm depth. The following year, after the Awakening of Insects, as the weather turns warmer, it comes out of the hole for food.

 Centipedes lay eggs between spring and summer, with more than 15–35 eggs, eggs are oval (egg-shaped), and 3–3.5 mm long. The female has the habit of curling up, surrounding the egg group to hatch, and protecting the larvae. Larvae and adults have the same number of paraeiopods. Heteromorphic telson of both sexes.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Feeding practices: Water is essential for the survival of centipedes with few spines, and they must drink water every two to three days. Feeding water is as simple as dropping a drop of water on the tiny indentations of a ceramic tile. Centipedes will quickly lean over and suck water voraciously. Sometimes a juicy piece of pear pulp can do the same. Under the premise of maintaining a water supply, centipedes with fewer spines can live at least one week without food. Centipedes eat other arthropods: succulent tide worms, larger ants, locusts, and cicadas are their favorites, even the frog. Its fearsome jaws are a powerful tool for hunting. Once the prey is targeted, it is difficult to escape its precise, accurate, and ruthless attack. The majestic moniliform antennae seem to be crucial to the survival of the centipede. After almost every meal, it would put its two feelers (antennae) down to the side of its jaw in turn for a very detailed cleaning. These antennae must have developed sensory organs, which, if smeared, would greatly affect their ability to perceive the external environment since they have only one pair of eyes and cannot see at all.

 Centipede is always in a state of readiness at night and, once found in a situation, will immediately shrink the body into a slightly S-type, and then, in a relatively short time attack. When it drops in small prey, such as ants, tide worms, and spiders, it usually gets caught up in its venomous jaws before it knows it, as if it never touched the bottom of the feeding bottle. A prey also did not have the slightest sign of resistance, like a lost treasure in the road that a greedy passer-by suddenly found, only to be grabbed for the fate of the bag. This fixation usually lasts for a few minutes, as if waiting for the prey to be fully anesthetized before feeding begins in earnest. Centipedes use their jaws to break and open the shell of their prey, and then, like drinking water, curl their jaws and lip whiskers to eat the juicy "contents" of their prey until they are left with an empty shell.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Ecological Environment: Centipedes are fond of living in damp and dark places and often inhabit rotten wood, stone gaps, and wet grass. It lives in hilly and sandy low-mountain areas and prefers warm places. It feeds on small insects and their eggs. Likewise, it is widely distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the middle reaches of the Yellow River, and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The herb is flat and long-striped, 9~15 cm long, and 0.5~1 cm wide. It consists of the head and body, and totally 22 somites. The head is dull red (darkish red) or russet (reddish-brown), slightly glossy, and covered by a cephalic plate, the cephalic plate is orbicular (subrounded), with a slightly protruding front end and a pair of maxillipeds attached to both sides; There is a pair of antennae on both sides of the front end. The first notum of the body is the same color as the cephalic plate, and the other 20 nota are brownish-green or atrovirens (greenblack), with luster. From the 4th notum to the 20th notum, there are often two vertical groove lines. The abdomen is faint yellow (pale yellow) or brownish-yellow, and wizened; From the 2nd somite, there is 1 pair of ambulatory legs (paraeiopods) on both sides of each somite; The ambulatory legs are yellow or russet, occasionally yellow and white, in the shape of a hook; The terminal pair of ambulatory legs are caudiform, so they are also known as caudal legs, which are easy to fall off. The texture of the herb is crisp, with cracks in the fracture surface. The herb has a slightly fishy smell, with a special acrid-smelly odor, it tastes pungent and slightly salty. The herb of a better grade has a dry body and in long strips, a red head, and a greenblack body with an intact head and paraeiopods.

(2).Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport).


 Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens Newport. Arthropod Description: The arthropod is commonly known as Duō Jí Wú Gōnɡ (which means Centipede with many spines). Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport) is the second-largest medicinal species of scolopendra in China. The body length is up to 160 mm, there are 18 segments of antennae, 6 segments of the base are smooth and glabrous, the tooth number is 6+6, and the 2nd to the 20th notum has a complete parallel longitudinal suture. Most nota have no edge, the 14th (the 15th or the 16th) to the 20th nota have an incomplete edge. The 2nd to the 19th nota have incomplete parallel longitudinal sutures, and the protuberant ends of the coxopleura have 3 clavula, without dorsal spines and lateral spines. No tarsus is found on the 20th and 21st ambulatory legs (paraeiopods). At the end of the terminal ambulatory leg (paraeiopod), there are 2 clavulas on the outside of the ventral surface of the anterior leg, 2 clavulas on the inside, 2 clavulas on the inside of the notum, and 3 clavulas on the end of the coign prickle (corner spine). There is no genital operculum on either side of the web of the pregenital segment of the male adult.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens Newport. Ecological Environment: Most of the arthropods live in hillside fields on the road, rocky places near the village, rocks on roadsides, weeds, deadwood in the well, woodpiles, between roofing tile gaps, and besides the tank or cupboard in the kitchen. It comes out for food at night. It eats insects, eggs, and meat. Likewise, it is distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, and other areas of China.

 The difference from Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch: the shape of Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport). is broadly similar to the Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch, the main differences are that the individual is larger, the spine number on the back inside surface of the prefemur of the caudal leg, the spine number on the outside of the ventral surface, the spine number on the inside of the ventral surface is more than the spine numbers of Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch, the teeth number of the dental plate on the maxilliped is also more.

 Centipede:herb photo Characters of herbs: The herb prepared from Scolopendra subspinipes mutidens (Newport) is slightly bigger than the dried herb prepared from Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch., and has many spines (prickles). The herb of a better grade has a dry body and is in long strips, has a red head, and a greenblack body, with an intact head and paraeiopods.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.anti-tumor; ②.antispasmodic; ③.inhibiting skin fungus; ④.promote immune function.

 Medicinal efficacy: Calming endogenous wind, antispasmodic, stopping convulsion, free collaterals, relieve pain, detoxification, and eliminating stagnation, is indicated for liver wind agitation (endogenous liver wind), spasm and convulsion, infantile convulsion, apoplexia, apoplexia and facial paralysis, hemiplegia, frightened epilepsy, epilepsy, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), rheumatism and obstinate arthralgia, migraine (migraine headaches) and aching all over the head, sore and ulcer, scrofula (lymphoid tuberculosis), phymatiasis (tuberculosis), mass in the abdomen and tumor lump, pyogenic infections, corporic tinea, tinea tonsure, anal fistula, scald or burn, snake bite, venomous snake bite, etc.

 Administration of Scolopendra (Wú Gōnɡ): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Scolopendra (Wú Gōnɡ)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~5 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~1.5 qian (about 1.5~4.5 grams), or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:prepare to finely ground herb powder, apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction, 2~5 grams; prepare to finely ground herb powder, 0.5~1 grams;or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:proper amount, prepare to finely ground herb powder, sprinkle apply, infusing in oil or prepare to ground herb powder, apply stick.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Scolopendra is toxic, should not be used in overdose.Should forbidden using during pregnancy. The herb Scolopendra should not be combined with Spider, Chicken droppings, Cortex Mori, White salt.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Wu Gong:Centipede or Scolopendra.

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