Introduction of Dang Shen:Tangshen,Pilose Asiabell Root or Radix Codonopsis.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Tangshen, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source three plant species, ①.Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf.(Dang Shen), ②.Codonopsis pilosula (Frach.) Nannf.Var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen.(Su Hua Dang Shen), ③.Codonopsis tangshen Oliv.(Chuan Dang Shen), and other three usable plant species, ④.Codonopsis tubulosa Kom.(Guan Hua Dang Shen), ⑤.Codonopsis subglobosa W.W. Smith.(Qiu Hua Dang Shen), ⑥.Codonopsis canescens Nannf.(Hui Mao Dang Shen)., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these six plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these six plant species, the features of the herb Tangshen, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Codonopsis(Tangshen).

dried khaki herb segments of Radix Codonopsis Pin Yin Name: Dǎnɡ Shēn.
 English Name: Pilose Asiabell Root, Tangshen.
 Latin Name: Radix Codonopsis.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tastes sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Codonopsis is the dried root of Codonopsis pilosula(Franch.)Nannf.,Codonopsis pilosula var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen or Codonopsis tangshen Oliv., used to replenish Qi, promote fluid production and nourish blood for treating (1).deficiency of the middle Qi with general debility, anorexia, lassitude, and loose stools, and (2).deficiency of both Qi and Yin, with shortness of breath, pallor, dizziness and palpitations. The herb is commonly known as Radix Codonopsis, Tangshen, Dǎnɡ Shēn.

 plant of Codonopsis pilosula with many green leaves grows straightly in a field Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Pilose Asiabell Root(Dang Shen) as the root from the plant species (1).Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf.(Dang Shen), (2).Codonopsis pilosula (Frach.) Nannf.Var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen.(Su Hua Dang Shen), (3).Codonopsis tangshen Oliv.(Chuan Dang Shen), (4).Codonopsis tubulosa Kom.(Guan Hua Dang Shen), (5).Codonopsis subglobosa W.W. Smith.(Qiu Hua Dang Shen), (6).Codonopsis canescens Nannf.(Hui Mao Dang Shen). They are plant species of the Codonopsis Wall. genus, the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) of the Campanulales order. The official herbal classics defined the herb as the root of the 1,2,3 botanical species, other famous herbal classics defined the herb as root from the 6 species. These 6 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf.(Dang Shen).


 plants of Codonopsis pilosula Franch.Nannf with several pendulous flowers grow in field Botanical description: Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is also known as Campanumoea pilosula Franch., commonly known as Dang Shen. A perennial herb, the root is long cylindrical, 1~1.7 cm in diameter, the root top has a swollen root head, has many tubercular stem marks, the out bark is milky yellow to pale grayish brown, has vertical and cross striations. Stems are volubile, long, and many-branched, the lower part is sparsely covered with white coarse hirsutes; the upper part is smooth or glabrescent (nearly glabrous). Leaves are opposite, alternate, or false verticillate; petioles are 0.5~2.5 cm long; leaf blades are oval (egg-shaped) or broad-ovate, length is 1~7 cm, width is 0.8~5.5 cm, apex is blunt or pointed, base is truncated or shallowly cordate, entire or slightly undulate, the upper surface is green, covered with coarse appressed hairs (strigous), the undersurface is pinkish green, sparsely pubescent.

 Flowers are solitary, peduncle is thin; the calyx is green, 5 lobes, oblong-lanceolate, 1~2 cm long, the apex is obtuse, smooth or slightly covered with fuzz; corolla is broadly campanulate, 2~2.5 cm in diameter, light yellowish-green, has pale violet spots, the apex is 5-lobed, lobes are triangular to wide triangular, upright; 5 stamens, filaments expand below the middle part; the ovary is inferior, 3-loculed, style is short, 3 stigmas, very wide, funnel form (funnel-shaped).

 Capsularfruits are conical, has persistent calyx. Seeds are small, oval (egg-shaped), brown and glossy. Its flowering period is from August to September, the fruiting period is from September to October.

 fresh herb of Codonopsis pilosula Franch. Nannf is dig out from soil,with khaki root,rootlets,green stems and leaves Ecological Environment: Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf grows in mountain bushes and forest edges. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in northwest areas, also in southwest areas and other areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: Codonopsis pilosula prefers a cold and cool climate, and avoid high temperature. In the seedling stage, the shrub prefers shade, the adult plant likes sunshine. It is appropriate to choose a field of deep soil layers, humus-rich sandy loam with good drainage for cultivation. It is not suitable to choose clay, low-lying land, saline-alkali soil, and continuous cropping fields for planting.

 dried khaki roots and root heads of Codonopsis pilosula grow in wild fieldmany cultivated khaki main roots of Codonopsis pilosula are piled orderly in a black plate Characters of herbs: The root is cylindrical, fusiform cylindrical or long conical, few branched or is branched below the middle part, 15~45 cm long, and 0.45~2.5 cm in diameter. The surface is sallow (grayish-yellow), taupe brown (grayish-brown), or reddish brown, with irregular longitudinal grooves and shrinkage, sparse elongated lenticels, many annular wrinkles on the upper part, especially dense at the part near the root head; The root head has many protuberant stem marks and bud marks, which are integrated into spherical shape, so it is customarily called Shī Zī Pán Tóu (means the lion's coiled hair). Sometimes, there are visible black-brown gelatinous substance (jelly) at the broken root, which is congealed by latex exudes (commonly known as oil spot). The texture of the herb is soft and smooth or firm and hard, the fracture surface is flat and smooth, some are corneous, the cortex is thick, yellow-white, pale brown or tan (chocolate brown), often has fissuring, and there is a dark brown ring at the junction part with the xylem (wood part), the xylem (wood part) accounts for about 1/3~1/2 of the root diameter, and is faint yellow (pale yellow). The herb has a slight fragrance, it tastes sweet and has no residue after chewing. The herb of a better grade has thick and big root stripes, the texture of the herb is soft and smooth, strong aroma and sweet taste, and has no residue after chewing.

(2).Codonopsis pilosula (Frach.) Nannf.Var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen.(Su Hua Dang Shen).


 flowering plant of Codonopsis pilosula Frach.Nannf.Var.modesta Nannf.L.T.Shen. with several pendulous yellow flowers grow in field Botanical description: Codonopsis pilosula (Frach.) Nannf.Var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is commonly known as Su Hua Dang Shen, the main difference between this varietas and Codonopsis pilosula is: the whole plant is glabrescent and glabrate; calyx lobes are smaller, about 10 mm long.

 Ecological Environment: Codonopsis pilosula (Frach.) Nannf.Var.modesta(Nannf.)L.T.Shen grows in the mountain forest, forest edge, and bushes, in areas at altitudes of 1,500-3,200 meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the northwest areas of China, it is also distributed in the northern southwest area.

  Characters of herbs: The roots are slightly shorter, the length is less than 30 cm, and few branched. The surface is taupe brown (grayish-brown), the cork bark is coarse and rough, mostly constricted and twisted, and the ring grain (fringe pattern) is dense at the upper part; and has many oil spots. The texture of the herb is firm and flexible, the fracture surface is not very smooth and flat. There are residues after chewing. The herb of a better grade has thick and big root stripes, the texture of the herb is soft and smooth, strong aroma and sweet taste and has no residue after chewing.

(3).Codonopsis tangshen Oliv.(Chuan Dang Shen).


 flowering plant of Codonopsis tangshen Oliv. with two red purple flowers grow in field Botanical description: Codonopsis tangshen Oliv is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is commonly known as Chuan Dang Shen, the main difference between this varietas and the previous 2 species is: the base of cauline leaves on the lower part of the stem is cuneate (wedge-shaped) or blunter, only occasionally cordate; calyx only adnate with the lowest part of the ovary, ovary are almost superior. Its flowering period and fruiting period is from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: Codonopsis tangshen Oliv grows in mountain forest edges and bushes, in areas at altitudes of 900-2,300 meters above sea level, nowadays, it is cultivated and available in large quantities. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the southwest, the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and other areas of China.

  Characters of herbs: The lower part of the root is few branched. The surface is taupe brown (grayish-brown), the cork bark often falls off partially, and the ring grain (fringe pattern) is sparse at the upper part. The cortex of the fracture surface is hypertrophic and has fewer fissuring. The herb tastes slightly sweet, and sour.

(4).Codonopsis tubulosa Kom.(Guan Hua Dang Shen).


 flowering plant of Codonopsis tubulosa Kom. with two pendulous flowers grow in field Botanical description: Codonopsis tubulosa Kom is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is commonly known as Guan Hua Dang Shen, the main difference between this varietas and the previous 3 species is: the stem is not volubile, mostly are climbing (scandent plant) or sprawling. Petioles are short, and length is not more than 5 mm. Calyx adnate with the middle part of the ovary, lobes are broadly ovate, 1.2 mm long, 8 mm wide, length is less than half-length of the corolla; corolla is fistuliform (tubulose); filaments are piliferous, anthers are carinate (cariniform). Its flowering period and fruiting period are from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: Codonopsis tubulosa Kom grows in mountain bushes and grass, hillside, and forest. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the southwest areas of China.

  Characters of herbs: The root is unbranched, or the lower part is slightly branched. The surface often shrivels to longitudinal grooves, and has sparse elongated lenticels, the ring grain (fringe pattern) is sparse on the upper part; The root head has a spherical Shī Zī Pán Tóu (means the lion's coiled hair), and there is brownish-black gelatinous substance (jelly) overflows at the broken root. The fracture surface is floured or sugary corneous. The herb has a slight fragrance, it tastes slightly sweet.

(5).Codonopsis subglobosa W.W. Smith.(Qiu Hua Dang Shen).


 flowering plant of Codonopsis subglobosa W. W. Smith. with several pendulous flowers and green buds Botanical description: Codonopsis subglobosa W.W. Smith is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is commonly known as Qiu Hua Dang Shen, the main difference between this varietas and the previous 4 species is: the leaves are smaller, length and width are not more than 3 cm, below. Calyx adnate with the front end of the ovary, setiform (bristly), lobes are oval (egg-shaped) or rhomboid ovate, lobes are curved, broad and obtuse, serrate and has bristle; corolla is spherical campanulate, yellow, and apex is deep reddish purple. Its flowering period and fruiting period are from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: Codonopsis subglobosa W.W. Smith grows in the gravels on mountain grass slopes, or bushes at ditch sides, in areas at altitudes of 2,500~3,500 meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the northern southwest area of China.

  Characters of herbs: The root is big and hypertrophic, 20~43 cm long, and 1~3 cm in diameter. There are wizened longitudinal grooves on the surface, which are often contorted, there are dense ring grains (fringe pattern) on the upper part, which are attenuated (tapering) from the middle upward to the root head, it is customarily known as "earthworm root head"; the rhizome has many tiny stem marks or bud marks. The fracture surface is corneous, there is a dark brown ring on the junction between the cortex and the xylem (wood part), the xylem (wood part) is about 1/2 of the root diameter, and there are radially arranged tiny fissurings on the fracture surface. The herb has a peculiar smelly odor.

(6).Codonopsis canescens Nannf.(Hui Mao Dang Shen).


 flowering plants of Codonopsis canescens Nannf. with small white flowers and green leaves grow in mountain Botanical description: Codonopsis canescens Nannf is a plant of the Campanulaceae family (bellflower family) and Codonopsis genus, it is commonly known as Hui Mao Dang Shen, the main difference between this varietas and the previous 5 species is: the stem length is 25~85 cm. Branches are many, nearly ligneous. The plant is densely covered with white hair, which makes the plant gray. Leaves are alternate on the main stem, subopposite on the lateral branches, leaf blades are smaller, and length and width are up to 1.5 cm × 1 cm. Calyx is densely covered with white long hirsutes; corolla length is usually not more than 2 cm. Its flowering period and fruiting period are from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: Codonopsis canescens Nannf grows on mountain grass slopes, rocky beaches, or sunny drought places, in areas at altitudes of 3,000-3,400 meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the west-south areas and other areas of China.

  Characters of herbs: The lower part of some roots is bifurcated. The fracture surface is slightly floured, and there are the needle-crystal bright spots can be seen. The herb has a peculiar odor.

 Pharmacological actions: The Radix Codonopsis can enhance the reticuloendothelial system, replenish blood, affect the function of the adrenal cortex, antifatigue, affect cyclic adenosine phosphate, resist high temperature, affect the cardiovascular system, regulate the gastrointestinal tract, promote blood coagulation, increase blood sugar, and promote cellular immunity. Some experiments have proved that the herb has different degrees of inhibition on the meningococcus, diphtheria bacillus, Escherichia coli, but some other experiment reports the herb can accelerate the growth of halophilic bacteria, Escherichia coli.

 Medicinal efficacy: Benefit spleen and nourish the lung, invigorate the middle energizer, benefit Qi, nourish blood and generate body fluid. It is indicated for Qi deficiency of spleen and lung, weakness and deficiency of spleen and stomach, fatigue and poor appetite(lassitude, less food intake), weakness of body and lack strength (physical weakness, lassitude, lack strength), poor appetite and loose stool, cough and panting of deficiency, lung deficiency and asthma cough, deficiency of Qi and blood, weakness of limbs, yellowish complexion (looks dull and yellowish), palpitation and short breath, shortness of breath and spontaneous sweating, body fluid deficiency and thirst, wasting thirst and endogenous heat (consumptive thirst, internal heat), poor appetite, thirst, persistent diarrhea, prolapse of anus, syndromes due to deficiency of Qi and blood, etc.

 Administration of Radix Codonopsis (Dǎnɡ Shēn): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Codonopsis (Dǎnɡ Shēn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 9~30 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~5 qian (about 9~15 grams), big dosage up to 1~2 liang (about 30~60 grams);prepare ointment or prepare to pill, powder; ③.Internally:water decoction,6~15 grams;or prepare ointment or prepare to pill, powder. Better use raw herb for generate body fluid and nourish blood, better use fried herb for replenish spleen and benefit lung.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Radix Codonopsis should not be combined with Black False Hellebore.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Dang Shen:Tangshen,Pilose Asiabell Root or Radix Codonopsis.

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