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 mutilans(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: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 mutilans(Newport). They are small animals 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. Description: It is commonly known as Shǎo Jí Wú Gōnɡ (Literally it means Centipede with fewer thorns), 110~140 mm long. Head is plate and the first backplate golden yellow, from the second backplate varies from the dark green or dark green, at the end of the backplate near the yellowish-brown, chest and abdomen plate and step foot are light yellow. The backplate has two inconspicuous longitudinal grooves from sections 4~9. The web has a longitudinal groove between the 2~19 nodes. The third, fifth, eighth, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th and 20th sections have one pair of valves on each side. There are 4 monocular eyes on each side of the front of the head plate, integrating the left and right eye groups. There are poison glands in the jaw. The leading edge of the tooth plate was provided with 5 minor teeth, and the inner 3 minor teeth are close to each other. Step 21 pairs, the last step is the longest, extending to the rear, in the shape of a tail. The posterior end of the basal lateral plate has 2 small spines. The anterior leg segment has 2 spines on the lateral ventral surface and 1 spinous on the medial surface. Abaxially and medially have 1 spine and 1 corner spine. There are two small spines at the top of the subspines.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Life habits: They prefer to live 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, the winter passes into the deep soil. The next year after the JingZhe, the weather turns warm, out of the hole foraging. The insect 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, drill into the soil, lurking in the ground 10~13 cm deep soil overwintering. The following year after the awakening of insects, as the weather turns warmer, out of the hole for food.

 Centipedes lay eggs between spring and summer, with more than 15~35 eggs, oval, 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 steps. Heteromorphic anal segment of both sexes.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch. Feeding practices: Water is essential for the survival of centipedes with few spines, and they must feed water every two to three days. Feeding water is as simple as dropping a drop of water on the tiny indentations of a stone tile. Centipedes will quickly lean over and suck voraciously. Sometimes a juicy piece of pear pulp can do the same. Under the premise of maintaining water supply, centipedes with fewer spines can spend at least 1 week without food. Centipedes eat other arthropods: succulent tide worms, larger ants, locusts, cicadas are its 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 down to the side of its jaw in turn for 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 in the night, once found a situation, will immediately shrink the body into a slightly S type, and then in a relatively short time to attack. When it drop in small prey, such as ants, tide worms, and spiders, it usually get caught up in its venomous jaws before it know it, as if they never touched the bottom of the feeding bottle. Prey also did not have the slightest sign of resistance, like a lost treasure in the road by a greedy passer-by suddenly found the same, 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 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 in rotten wood, stone gaps, and wet grass. It lives in hilly and sandy low mountain areas and prefers warm places. Feed on small insects and their eggs. It is widely distributed in the middle and lower reaches area of the Yangtze River, the middle reaches area of the Yellow River and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: The herb is flat and long, 9~15 cm long and 0.5~1 cm wide. It consists of the head and body, and consists of 22 segments. The head is dark red or reddish-brown, slightly glossy, covered by a cephalic plate, which is nearly round, with a slightly protruding front end and a pair of gnathopodites 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 brown-green or dark-green, with luster. From the 4th notum to the 20th notum, there are often two longitudinal groove lines. The abdomen is yellowish or brownish-yellow and shriveled; Since the 2nd segment, there are 1 pair of pereiopod (ambulatory leg) on both sides of each segment; The pereiopod (ambulatory leg) is yellow or reddish-brown, occasionally yellow and white, in the shape of a hook; The last pair of pereiopods is tail-shaped, so it is also called tail foot, which is 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 better grade has a dry and long body, a red head, and a black-green body, with complete head and feet.

(2).Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans(Newport).

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans Newport. Description: It is commonly known as Duō Jí Wú Gōnɡ (Literally it means Centipede with many thorns). Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans (Newport) is the second-largest medicinal species of scolopendra in China. Body length is up to 160 mm, 18 segments of antennae, 6 segments of base are smooth and glabrous, teeth number is 6+6, 2nd~20th backplate with complete parallel longitudinal suture. Most backplates have no edge, the 14th (15 or 16)~ 20th backplates have an incomplete edge. The 2nd~19th is provided with incomplete parallel longitudinal sutures, the basal lateral plate protuberant ends are provided with 3 small spines, without dorsal and lateral spines. No tarsus is found on the 20th and 21st steps. At the end of the last step, there were 2 small spines on the outside of the ventral surface of the anterior femur, 2 small spines on the inside, 2 small spines on the inside of the back, and 3 small spines on the end of the corner spines. There are no reproductive limbs on either side of the web of the pregenital segment of the male adult.

 Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans Newport. Ecological Environment: Most of them live in hillside field on the road, rocky places near the village, the roadside rocks, weeds, deadwood in the well, woodpile, roofing tile gap between, besides the tank or cupboard in the kitchen. It comes out for food at night. It eats insects, eggs, and meat. It is distributed in the middle and lower reaches area of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang river area, and other areas of China.

 The difference from the Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch: the shape is roughly similar, the main difference is the individual is larger, the tail foot of the anterior femoral section back of the medial spine number, ventral lateral spine number, ventral medial spine number are less spinous centipede for more, the tooth plate number is also more.

 Centipede:herb photo Characters of herbs: The herb is a little bigger and has many spines. The herb of better grade has a dry and long body, a red head, and a black-green body, with complete head and feet.

 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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