Introduction of Tu Si Zi:Dodder Seed or Semen Cuscutae.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Dodder Seed, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source two plant species, ①.Cuscuta chinensis Lam., ②.Cuscuta australis R.Br., and another commonly used plant species, ③.Cuscuta japonica Choisy., 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 Dodder Seed, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Semen Cuscutae(Dodder Seed).

Semen Cuscutae:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Tú Sī Zǐ.
 English Name: Dodder Seed, South Dodder Seed, Chinese Dodder Seed.
 Latin Name: Semen Cuscutae.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tastes pungent, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Semen Cuscutae is the dried ripe seed of Cuscuta chinensis Lam., used to tonify the liver and kidney, to improve eyesight and prevent miscarriage, for the treatment of nocturnal emission, impotence, enuresis, diabetes, decreased eyesight and threatened abortion. The herb is commonly known as Semen Cuscutae, Dodder Seed, Tú Sī Zǐ.

 Botanical source: The common official herbal classics defined the herb Semen Cuscutae(Dodder Seed) as the dried ripe seed of the species (1).Cuscuta chinensis Lam. The latest official herbal classics (2020 Edition) defined the herb as the dried ripe seed from botanical source (1),(2). Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Semen Cuscutae (Dodder Seed) as the dried ripe seed of the species (1).Cuscuta chinensis Lam., (2).Cuscuta australis R. Br., (3).Cuscuta japonica Choisy. They are plants of the Cuscuta Linn genus, the Convolvulaceae family (morning glory family) of the Tubiflorae order. The herbal classic book defined species and other 1 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Cuscuta chinensis Lam.

 Botanical description: The plant is commonly known as Tú Sī Zǐ. Dodder, a leafless parasitic vine that attaches its reddish-orange threadlike stems to green plants through suckers to draw out nourishment. Its pinkish-white flowers have five sharp, spreading, triangular lobes and grow in dense clusters. The seeds may remain dormant for up to eight years. Dodder is a nuisance to farmers growing alfalfa and clover.

 Cuscuta chinensis Lam:growing plant Dodder (Cuscuta and Grammica), is a twining yellow or orange plant sometimes tinged with purple or red. Occasionally it is almost white. The stems can be very thin and thread-like or relatively stout (a species characteristic).

 Dodder is classified as a member of the Morning-Glory Family (Convolvulaceae) in older references, and as a member of the Dodder Family (Cuscutaceae) in the more recent publications. Welsh et al. report twelve species of Cuscuta in Utah while Weber (1986) separates this family into two genera with one species in Cuscuta and five species in the genus Grammica. Weber's separation is based on the shape of the stigma.

 Cuscuta chinensis Lam:growing plant Dodder parasitizes various kinds of wild and cultivated plants and is especially destructive to alfalfa, lespedeza, flax, clover, and potatoes. Ornamentals are attacked included chrysanthemum, dahlia, helenium, Virginia-creeper, trumpet-vine, English ivy, and petunias. Dodder is particularly troublesome where alfalfa, clover, and onion are grown for seed because dodder seed is difficult to remove from the desired seed crop and can be spread with infected seed. Its water, minerals, and carbohydrates are absorbed from the host through haustoria that penetrate the host's tissue. In dodder, the haustoria are modified adventitious roots.

 Dodder is said (Wilson, et al.) to contain some chlorophyll in the buds, fruits, and stems, but the amount of food manufactured in this tissue is of little significance to the survival of the plant.

 Cuscuta chinensis Lam:growing plant The flowers are numerous, white, pink or yellowish, small (2 to 4 mm long depending on species), and can grow in tight balls or a loose cluster (again depending on species). Flowers normally appear from early June to the end of the growing season. The fruit is about 1/8th inch in diameter, with thin papery walls, and contain 1 to 4 seeds. The seeds are yellow to brown or black, nearly round, and have a fine rough surface with one round and two flat sides.

 Dodder produces a seed that drops to the ground and germinates the next growing season if a suitable host is present. If no suitable host is present, the seed may remain dormant for five years.

 Dodder seedlings must attach to a suitable host within a few days of germinating, or they die. The young seedling is sensitive to touch and the yellowish stem gropes in the air until it makes contact with a plant. The contact is made firm by one or more coils about the stem. If this plant happens to contain foods suitable to the dodder then a secondary stimulus is aroused which causes root-like branches (haustoria) to form and penetrate the stem. The basal part of the parasite soon shrivels away so that no soil connection exists.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Cuscuta chinensis Lam prefers a high-temperature humid climate, the requirement of soil is not strict. Mostly parasitic on the herb at both sides of the river valley, river rocks, or woody plants in brushwood, soybean, black soy bean are a better host.

 Dodder Seed:herb photo Characters of herbs: The seeds are round-like or oval, with obvious ventral branch lines and often concave on both sides, with a long diameter of 1.4~1.6 mm and a short diameter of 0.9~1.1 mm. The surface is grayish-brown or yellowish-brown, slightly coarse and rough, the seed beak is not obvious; Under the magnifying mirror, there are fine dark spots on the surface are visible, and there are white filiform stripes with uneven distribution. The umbilicus is suborbicular and located at the top of the seed. The seed coat is hard and not easily broken. Soak it in boiling water, and its surface is sticky. Boil it until the seed coat breaks, exposing the yellow-white slender and convoluted embryo, which is called "spinning". Remove the seed coat, it can be seen that the center of the embryo is convoluted for 3 circles, and the endosperm is membranous and nested around the embryo. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter and puckery. The herb of better grade has full grains and is free of dust and impurities.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.liver protective function; ②.boost Yang and enhance the vitality of sexual function; ③.increase the nonspecific immunity function; ④.improve the experiment animal's ability of hypoxia and swimming time; ⑤.anti-tumor; ⑥.anti-virus; ⑦.anti-inflammatory; ⑧.anti-sterility; ⑨.cathartic effect; ⑩.lower the blood pressure of anesthetic dogs.

 Medicinal efficacy: Tonify the liver and kidney, tonifying the kidney and benefit essence (tonifylng the kidney to stop spontaneous emission), benefits essence, controlling nocturnal emission and stopping polyuria, improve eyesight (improving acuity of vision), nourish the liver and improve eyesight, miscarriage prevention, antidiarrheal (relieve diarrhea); externally dispersing wind and removing speckle. It is indicated for deficiency of liver and kidney, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, soreness and pain of waist and knees, asynodia (impotence or impotentia), spermatorrhea (seminal emission), prospermia (premature ejaculation), infertility, uroclepsia (enuresis, urinary incontinence, bed-wetting), frequent urination, threatened abortion due to deficiency of the kidney during pregnancy, threatened abortion, abortion (miscarriage), wasting thirst (consumptive thirst), dripping urination, stranguria with turbid discharge, dim eyesight, dysopia and tinnitus (hypopsia or blurred vision, ringing in ears), diarrhea (loose bowels), splenoasthenic diarrhea and nephrasthenia diarrhea (diarrhea of spleen deficiency or kidney deficiency type); Externally it is indicated for leukodermia (piebald skin vitiligo, leucoderma), etc.

 Administration of Semen Cuscutae (Tú Sī Zǐ): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Semen Cuscutae (Tú Sī Zǐ)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:6~12 grams;Externally:proper amount; ②.Internally:water decoction, 3~5 qian (about 9~15 grams);or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:fried and prepare to finely ground herb powder, apply stick; ③.Internally:water decoction,6~15 grams;or prepared to pill, powder. Externally:proper amount, fried and prepare to finely ground herb powder, apply stick.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:The herb Semen Cuscutae should forbidden in conditions during pregnancy, metrorrhagia (flooding), constipation, etc.

(2).Cuscuta australis R.Br.

 Cuscuta australis R.Br.:growing plant Botanical description: The plant is commonly known as Nán Fāng Tú Sī Zǐ (literally it means south area Cuscuta, or South Dodder Seed). Annual parasitic herbs. Stems are twining, golden, slender, 1 mm in diameter, leafless.

 Inflorescence is lateral, few flowers or many flowers cluster into a small umbel or small group inflorescence, racemes are nearly absent; Bracts and bracteoles are all small, scaly; Pedicels are slightly stout, 1~2.5 mm long; Calyx is cup-shaped, base is connate, 3~5 lobes, oblong or subrounded, usually unequal, ca. 0.8~1.8 mm, apex is rounded; Corolla is milky or yellowish, cup-shaped, ca. 2 mm long, lobes are ovate or oblong, the apex is rounded, ca. As long as corolla tube, upright, persistent; Stamens are inserted in corolla lobes, slightly shorter than corolla lobes; Scales are small, the margin is shortly fringed; Ovary is oblate, 2 styles, equal or slightly unequal, stigma is globose.

 Cuscuta australis R.Br.:flowering plant Capsularfruit is oblate, 3~4 mm in diameter, lower half enveloped by persistent corolla, irregularly dehiscent at maturity, not circumferential. Usually 4-seeded, pale brown, ovate, ca. 1.5 mm long, coarsely surfaced.

 Ecological Environment: the plant is parasitic on the side of the field, the roadside leguminous, wormwood Compositae, Verbenaceae chasteex, and other herbs or small shrubs, at an area with an altitude of 50~2,000 meters above sea level. It is distributed in the middle and lower reaches area of the Yangtze River, north area, northwest area, southwest area, the Zhujiang River area, Taiwan, and other areas of China. It is also distributed in Central, southern, eastern Asia, some areas of Southeast Asia, and even Oceania.

 Cuscuta australis R.Br.:flowering plant Characters of herbs: The herb is similar to the above species, but the seeds are oval, the ventral ridge lines are not obvious, and the sizes are quite different, the long diameter is 0.7~2.0 mm, and the short diameter is 0.5~1.2 mm. The surface is light brown to brown, with a beak-shaped protrusion at one end and leaning to one side. Under a magnifying microscope, the hilum of the seed is slightly concaved, which is located on the lower side of the seed apex.

(3).Cuscuta japonica Choisy.

 Cuscuta japonica Choisy.:flowering plant Botanical description: The plant is commonly known as Jīn Dēng Téng (literally it means Gold Lamp Vine). Annual parasitic twining herb, stems are stout, fleshy, 1~2 mm in diameter, yellow, often purplish-red nodular spots, glabrous, much-branched, leafless.

 Cuscuta japonica Choisy.:growing plant Flowers are sessile or few sessile, forming spikes, it grows up to 3 cm long, base is often much-branched; Bracts and bracteoles are scaly, ovoid, ca. 2 mm long, apically pointed, entire, thickened along the back; Calyx is bowl-shaped, fleshy, ca. 2 mm long, 5-lobed nearly to base, lobes are ovoid or suborbicular, equal or unequal, apex is pointed, abaxially often purplish-red tuberculate; Corolla is campanulate, reddish or greenish-white, 3~5 mm long, apex is 5-lobed, lobes are ovate-triangular, obtuse, upright or slightly reflexed, 2~2.5 times shorter than corolla tube; 5 stamens, inserted between lobes of corolla throat, anthers are ovoid, yellow, filaments are absent or scarcely absent; 5 scales, oblong, the margin is fringed, inserted at base of corolla tube, elongated to middle or above middle tube; Ovary is globose, smooth, glabrous, 2-locules, style is slender, connate 1, as long as ovary or slightly longer, stigma is 2-lobed.

 Capsularfruit is ovoid, ca. 5 mm long, subbasal parietal cleft. 1~2 seeds, smooth, 2~2.5 mm long, brown. Its flowering period is in August, fruiting in September.

 Cuscuta japonica Choisy.:growing plant Ecological Environment: The plant is distributed in the north and south areas of China. It is parasitic on herbs or shrubs. It is also distributed in some other areas of SouthEast Asia.

 Characters of herbs: The seed is large, with a long diameter of about 3 mm and a short diameter of 2~3 mm, and its surface is light brown or yellowish-brown. The herb of better grade has full grains.
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