Introduction of Suo Luo Zi:Buckeye Seed or Semen Aesculi.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The TCM herbalism is also known as pharmaceutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Chinese pharmaceutics, is the branch of health science dealing with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of Chinese herbs. It is majorly composed of Introduction of Chinese Medicinals, Classification of Chinese Herbs, Formulas, and Patent medicines.

Classifications of Herbs:Herbs regulating the flow of Qi.

 TCM Herbs Icon10 Introduction: Herbs regulating the flow of Qi: also known as Qi-regulating herbs, an agent or substance that regulates the activity of Qi to treat Qi stagnation or adverse Qi flow, also known as Qi-moving herbs.

 
Semen Aesculi(Buckeye Seed).

Semen Aesculi:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Suō Luó Zǐ.
 English Name: Buckeye Seed.
 Latin Name: Semen Aesculi.
 Property and flavor: warm, pungent, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Semen Aesculi is the dried ripe seed of Aesculus chinensis Bge., Aesculus chinensis var.chekiangensis(Hu et Fang)Fang, or Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.(family Hippocastanaceae), used to regulate Qi, harmonize the stomach, and alleviate pain for relieving distension and stuffiness in the chest and abdomen, and especially gastralgia. The herb is commonly known as Semen Aesculi, Buckeye Seed, Chinese Buckeye Seed, Wilsom Buckeye Seed, Suō Luó Zǐ.

 Botanical source: Official herbal classics and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Semen Aesculi(Buckeye Seed) as the dried ripe seed of the species (1).Aesculus chinensis Bge., (2).Aesculus chinensis Bge.var.chekiangensis(Hu et Fang)Fang., (3).Aesculus wilsonii Rehd. They are plants of the Aesculus genus, the Hippocastanaceae family of the Sapindales order. These 3 commonly defined species are introduced as:

(1).Aesculus chinensis Bge.


 Aesculus chinensis Bge.:fruiting tree Botanical description: The tree is commonly known as Qī Yè Shù. Deciduous trees, it grows up to 25 meters high, the bark is dark brown or taupe, branchlets, cylindric, tawny or taupe, glabrous or puberulent when young, lenticels are rounded or elliptic pale yellow. Winter buds are large, resinous. Palmately compound leaves, 5~7 small, petiole 10~12 cm long, gray puberulent; Leaflets are papery, oblong-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, sparsely oblong-elliptic potassium apex shortly acute, base cuneate or broadly cuneate, margin obtuse serrate, 8~16 cm long, 3~5 cm wide, dark green above, glabrous, below except for middle rib and lateral veins when basally tender and sparsely pilose, the rest glabrous; Middle rib is prominent, raised at the lower part, lateral veins 13~17 pairs, slightly prominent at the upper part, significantly at lower part; Petiole 1~1.8 cm long, petiole 5~10 mm on both sides, gray puberulent.

 Aesculus chinensis Bge.:growing trees Inflorescences are cylindrical, 21~25 cm long, with 5~10 cm long total pedicels, inflorescence rachis puberulent, inflorescence often 5~10 flowers. Composed, spreading horizontally, puberulent, 2~2.5 cm long, pedicels 2~4 mm. Flowers are hybrid, male and bisexual, calyx tubular-campanulate, 3~5 mm long, outside puberulent, unequally 5-lobed, lobes obtuse, margin with short cilia; 4 petals, white, oblong-obovate to oblong-oblanceolate, ca. 8~12 mm long, 5~1.5 mm wide, margin ciliate, base clawed; 6 stamens, 1.8~3 cm long, filaments linear, glabrous, anthers oblong, pale yellow, ca. 1~1.5 mm long. Ovary not developed in male flowers, well-developed in bisexual flowers, ovoid, style glabrous.

 Aesculus chinensis Bge.:leaves The fruit is globose or obovate, apically short or obtuse and slightly concave in the middle, 3~4 cm in diameter, tawny, spinous, with very dense spots, its shell is 5~6 mm thick after drying, 1~2 seeds, nearly globose, 2~3.5 cm in diameter, chestnut brown; Navel white, about half the volume of seeds. Its flowering period is from April to May, fruiting in October.

 Aesculus chinensis Bge.:fruits on tress Ecological environment: The tree is cultivated in the Yellow River basin and eastern provinces of China, only wild in Qinling; It naturally distributes in mountain areas with an altitude below 700 meters above sea level. It prefers light, slightly resistant to shade; It prefers warm weather, also can withstand cold; It prefers deep, fertile, moist, and well-drained soil. Deep root, strong germination; Medium growth rate slates, life span is long. Horse chestnut leaves burn easily in hot summer.

 Growth characteristics: The Aesculus chinensis is a semi-negative tree species, resistant to cold. It prefers moist and fertile soil.

 Buckeye Seed:herb photo Characters of herbs: Dried fruit is slightly round, 2.5~4 cm in diameter, a few are up to 6~8 cm, tip flat or slightly acute, base with stalk trace, the skin surface is brown, rough, dense yellow-brown spots, three longitudinal grooves, forming a trivalve. Goods often peel fruit. The seed is globose or irregular oblate, hard, the surface is chestnut brown, not very flat, upper navel yellowish-brown, accounting for about 1/2 of the seed, base depression, l slightly protruding ridge, along one side extended to the navel; Cross-section is white or yellowish-white, to the leaves thickened, silty. The peel and seed coat are faint, while the cotyledons are bitter. The herb shape even, full, cross-section yellow and white is better.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.anti-inflammatory effect; ②.anti-swelling effect; ③.corticosterone effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: Regulate Qi, soothing the liver, harmonize the stomach and relieve pain, kill parasites. It is indicated for chest and abdominal distention, epigastric distention fullness, epigastric pain, stomach cold pain, breast distention and pain, dysmenorrhea(abdominal pain after menstruation), malnutritional stagnation and pain due to parasites, malaria, dysentery, etc.

 Administration of Semen Aesculi(Suō Luó Zǐ): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Semen Aesculi(Suō Luó Zǐ)
TCM Books: Internally:3~9 grams(CP), Internally:water decoction,1~3 qian(about 3~9 grams), or charred the herb with its property retained, grinded into fine powder.(DCTM), Internally:water decoction,5~10 grams, or burn into ashed and infusing in wine.(CHMM).

(2).Aesculus chinensis Bge.var.chekiangensis(Hu et Fang)Fang.


 Aesculus chinensis Bge.var.chekiangensis Hu et Fang Fang.:leaves Botanical description: The tree is commonly known as Zhè Jiāng Qī Yè Shù. It is a varieties of the Aesculus chinensis Bge. The difference between these varieties and the Aesculus chinensis Bge is that the variation of lobular thinner, on the back of the green, slightly powder, lateral veins 18~22 pairs, small petioles are glabrous, often a long, middle lobule petiole 1.5~2 cm long, 0.5~1 cm long, next to the panicle is long and narrow, often 30~36 cm long, base 2.4~3 cm in diameter, calyx without white pubescent, capsule shells are thinner, dry after only 1~2 mm thick, hilum is small, only about a third of the seed area. It is flowering in June, fruiting in October.

 Ecological environment: The tree grows (often cultivated) in southern Jiangsu, China. It grows in the jungle at an area with low altitudes.

(3).Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.


 Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.:growing tree Botanical description: The tree is commonly known as Tiān Shī Lì(literally it means "Chestnut of Taoist master"). Deciduous trees, grow up to 25 meters high. Palmately compound leaves are opposite; Petiole 6-15 cm long, pubescent; Leaf blade 5~7, obovate-oblong or ovate-lanceolate, 10~20 cm long, 3~8.5 cm wide, apex narrowly acute, base broadly cuneate or suborbicular, margin serrate, upper main veins sparsely pilose, lower densely pilose, petiole pubescent. Panicles terminal, 35 cm long; Pedicels 10 cm long, pedicels are covered with fine pilose; Male flowers and bisexual flowers of the same plant are sparse; Flowers white, 1~1.5 cm long; Flowers are simple form, 5 lobed irregularly, lobes nearly round, face densely fine pilose; 4 petals, elliptic, upper 2 narrower, outer and margin densely pilose; 6~8 stamens; Ovary superior, ovate of bisexual flowers. The gourd is obovate or obovate, apex protruding, and apex dense with yellow-brown spots. 1~2 seeds, globose, umbilicus about 1/3 of the base. Its flowering period is from May to July, the fruiting period is from July to September.

 Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.:growing tree Ecological environment: The tree grows in broad-leaved forests at an area with altitudes of 1,000-1,800 meters above sea level. It distributes in the west part of the Yangtze River, west part of Hubei, north part of Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan of China.

 Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.:fruits Characters of herbs: The dried fruit is similar to the above species, with the main difference being that the fruit is obovate, with sparse spots on the surface, and the shell is about 1 mm thick after drying.
 
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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Suo Luo Zi:Buckeye Seed or Semen Aesculi.
  • 2.TCM Books:DCTM(Dictionary of the Chinese Traditional Medicine),CHMM(Chinese Herbal Materia Medica).

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