Introduction of Suo Luo Zi:Buckeye Seed or Semen Aesculi.
✵The article gives records of the herb Buckeye Seed, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source three plant species, ①.Aesculus chinensis Bunge., ②.Aesculus chinensis Bunge var. chekiangensis (Hu et Fang) Fang., ③.Aesculus wilsonii Rehd., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these three plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these three plant species, the features of the herb Buckeye Seed, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Semen Aesculi(Buckeye Seed).
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 Bunge., Aesculus chinensis var.chekiangensis(Hu et Fang)Fang, or Aesculus wilsonii Rehd., 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: Herbal classic book defined the herb Semen Aesculi (Buckeye Seed) as the dried ripe seed of the species (1).Aesculus chinensis Bunge., (2).Aesculus chinensis Bunge var. chekiangensis (Hu et Fang) Fang., (3).Aesculus wilsonii Rehd. They are plants of the Aesculus genus, the Hippocastanaceae family (the horse chestnut family) of the Sapindales order. These 3 commonly defined species are introduced:
(1).Aesculus chinensis Bunge.
Botanical description: Aesculus chinensis Bunge is commonly known as Qī Yè Shù (means seven-leaf tree), Suō Luó Shù. A deciduous tree, the tree grows up to 25 meters high, the bark is dark brown or taupe, the branchlets are terete (cylindric), tawny (yellow brown) or taupe (dust color), glabrous or puberulent when it is young, lenticels are rounded or elliptic and primrose yellow (pale yellow). Winter buds are large, resinous. Palmately compound leaves, composed of 5~7 lobules (folioles); petioles are 10~12 cm long, gray puberulent; petiolule of central lobule is 1~1.8 cm long, petiolules of lateral lobules are 0.5~1 cm long, gray puberulent, lobules (folioles) are oblong-lanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, rarely oblong oval, the apex is sharp-pointed, the base is cuneate or broadly cuneate, the edge has bluntly pointed serration, 8~16 cm long, 3~5 cm wide, the upper surface is glabrous, the middle rib and base of lateral veins on the under surface slightly covered with sparse pubescence, chartaceous (papery).
Inflorescences are terete (cylindrical), total length with peduncle is 21~25 cm, pedicels are 5~10 cm long, small inflorescence often has 5~10 flowers, puberulent, 2~2.5 cm long. Flowers are polygamous, male flower and hermaphrodite flower are homophytic, calyx is tubular-campanulate, outside is puberulent, 5-lobed, lobes are obtuse, edge has short cilia; 4 flower petals, white, oblong-obovate to oblong-oblanceolate, about 8~12 mm long, 5~1.5 mm wide, edge has cilia, base is unguiform (claw-shaped); 6 stamens, glabrous, 1.8~3 cm long; filaments are linear, glabrous, anthers are oblong, pale yellow, about 1~1.5 mm long. The ovary is not developed in male flowers, well-developed in hermaphrodite flowers, ovoid, and style is achromatous (colorless).
The fruit is spheric shape (globular) or obovoid, apex is mucronate or obtuse, and the middle part is slightly concave, 3~4 cm in diameter, tawny (yellow brown), anacanthous (stingless), has very dense spots, its fruit shell is 5~6 mm thick after it is dried, 1~2 seeds, seeds are subsphaeroidal (near-spherical), 2~3.5 cm in diameter, chestnut brown; hilum is white, shares about 1/2 volume of the seed. Its flowering period is from April to May, the fruiting period is in October.
Ecological environment: The tree is cultivated in the Yellow River basin and eastern provinces of China, only wild in Qinling; It is naturally distributed in mountain areas at altitudes below 700 meters above sea level. It prefers light, slightly resistant to shade; It prefers warm weather, also is tolerant to cold; It prefers deep soil layers, and fertile and moist soil with good drainage. 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 half-shade tree species, resistant to cold. It prefers moist and fertile soil.
Characters of herbs: The dried fruit is subsphaeroidal (near-spherical), 2.5~4.5 cm in diameter, and a few are 6~8 cm in diameter. The top end is flat or slightly pointed, the base is broadly cuneate, has ash gray (grayish white) or yellowish-brown fruit stalk marks, the surface is sallow (grayish yellow), coarse, densely covered with yellowish-brown spots, has three longitudinal grooves, extend from the top to fruit stalk, trilobe-shaped, husk (fruit shell) is 4~5 mm thick after it is dried. 1 seed, subsphaeroidal (near-spherical) or irregular oblate， 2.5~3.5 cm in diameter, the surface is uneven, the hilum on the upper part is yellowish white, share about 1/3 or nearly 1/2 of the seed, the lower part is spadiceous (chestnut brown), slightly glossy, sags and crests, the base is sunken, has slightly protuberant raphe, extend to hilum along one side, the texture is firm and hard, the fracture surface is white or primrose yellow (faint yellow), cotyledon is hypertrophic, powdery. The herb has a weak odor, cotyledons taste very bitter. The herb of better grade is uniform, and full, and the fracture surface is yellowish-white.
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):
Administration Guide of Semen Aesculi (Suō Luó Zǐ)
①.Internally:3~9 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1~3 qian (about 3~9 grams), or charred the herb with its property retained, prepare to finely ground herb powder; ③.Internally:water decoction,5~10 grams, or burn into ashed and infusing in wine.
(2).Aesculus chinensis Bunge var. chekiangensis (Hu et Fang) Fang.
Botanical description: The tree is commonly known as Zhè Jiāng Qī Yè Shù. It is a varieties of the Aesculus chinensis Bunge. The differences between this varieties and the Aesculus chinensis Bunge are: lobules are thinner, the back surface is green, slightly has white powder, lateral veins are in 18~22 pairs, petiolules are often glabrous, long, petiolules of middle lobules are 1.5~2 cm long, petioles of side lobules are 0.5~1 cm long, panicles are long and narrow, often 30~36 cm long, the base is 2.4~3 cm in diameter, calyx has no white pubescence, husk (fruit shell) of capsularfruit is thinner, only 1~2 mm thick when it is dried, hilum is small, only shares about 1/3 of the seed area. It is flowering period is in June, and the fruiting period is in October.
Ecological environment: The tree grows (often cultivated) in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, in China. It grows in the jungles, in areas at low altitudes.
(3).Aesculus wilsonii Rehd.
Botanical description: Aesculus wilsonii Rehd is commonly known as Tiān Shī Lì, Hóu Bǎn Lì (means Chestnut of Monkey), etc. A deciduous tree, it grows up to 15~20 meters high, or up to 25 meters high. Palmately compound leaves are opposite; Petiole is 10~12 cm long, pubescent; 5~7 or 9 lobules (folioles), petiolules are 1.5~2 cm long; leaflet blades are long obovate, long circular or oblanceolate, 10~25 cm long, 3~8.5 cm wide, the apex is narrowly pointed, the base is broadly cuneate or suborbicular, the margin is slightly recurved serrulate, the main veins on the upper surface are sparsely pilose, there are fluff or pilose on the under surface, 15~20 pairs of lateral veins, the petiole is pubescent.
Panicles are apical, up to 35 cm long; Pedicels are 10 cm long, pedicels are covered with fine pilose; Male flowers and hermaphrodite flowers of the same plant are sparse, male flowers grow on the upper part, hermaphrodite flowers grow on the lower part; the calyx is tubular (tube-like), 5-lobed; 4 flower petals, obovate, unequal size; 7 stamens, unequal length; ovary of the hermaphrodite flower is 3-loculed, has yellow fluff, the style has long pilose.
Capsularfruit is oval (egg-shaped), 3~4 cm long, has verruca, 1.5~2 mm thick when the shell is dried, and 3-lobed when the fruit is mature. The hilum of the seed is whitish, and shares less than 1/3 of the seed. Its flowering period is from April to May, the fruiting period is from September to October.
Ecological environment: The tree grows in broad-leaved forests, in areas at altitudes of 1,000-1,800 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the west part and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the north part of the Zhujiang river area, and southwest areas of China.
Characters of herbs: The dried fruit of Aesculus wilsonii Rehd is similar to the fruit of Aesculus chinensis Bunge., the main differences are: the fruit is spheric shape (globular) or oval (egg-shaped), the spots on the surface are sparse, and the shell is about 1 mm thick when it is dried.
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1.Introduction of Suo Luo Zi:Buckeye Seed or Semen Aesculi.