Introduction of Shi Hu:Dendrobium or Herba Dendrobii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Dendrobium, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source five plant species, ①.Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe., ②.Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook., ③.Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl., ④.Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl., ⑤.Dendrobium nobile Lindl., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these five plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these five plant species, the features of the herb Dendrobium, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Dendrobii(Dendrobium).

Herba Dendrobii:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Shí Hú.
 English Name: Dendrobium.
 Latin Name: Herba Dendrobii.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold nature, tastes sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Herba Dendrobii is the fresh or dried stem of Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe., Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl., Dendrobium fimbriatum var.oculatum Hook., Dendrobium candidum Wall.ex Lindl., or Dendrobium nobile Lindl., used to replenish stomach Yin, clear heat, and promote fluid production for treating chronic febrile diseases with thirst and dry mouth, deficiency of stomach Yin with epigastric distress and pain, and also for improving vision in cases of cataracts. The herb is commonly known as Herba Dendrobii, Dendrobium, Shí Hú.

 Botanical source: The herbal classic book and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Herba Dendrobii(Dendrobium) as the fresh or dried stem of plant species ①.Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe., ②.Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook., ③.Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl., ④.Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl., ⑤.Dendrobium nobile Lindl. They are plants of the Dendrobium Sw. genus, the Orchidaceae family(orchid family) of the Asparagales order. The latest official herbal classics defined the herb Herba Dendrobii as the fresh or dried stem of plant species:⑤.Dendrobium nobile Lindl., ④.Dendrobium huoshanense C.Z.Tang et S.J.Cheng.(according to DCTM, it is the same species as "Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl."), ⑥.Dendrobium chrysotoxum Lindl., ②.Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook. The plant species ⑥.Dendrobium chrysotoxum Lindl., is an endangered and protected plant species, normally not advised for application, ②.Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook. and ④.Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl. are also protected plant species. Other five defined species are introduced:

(1).Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe.


 Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe:flowering plants Botanical description: The plant, Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe is commonly known as Měi Huā Shí Hú (means Dendrobium with pretty flower), Fěn Huā Shí Hú (means Dendrobium with pink flower), or Huán Cǎo Shí Hú. The herb is commonly known as "Herba Dendrobii Loddigesii". A perennial epiphyte (epiphytic herb). The stem is cylindrical, it grows up to 10~45 cm tall, 2~7 mm in diameter, slightly tapering at the base. Leaves are chartaceous (papery), oblong-lanceolate or ligulate (liguliform), 4~6 cm long, 1.2~1.8 cm wide, apex is sharp-pointed and slightly unciform (falcate); Sessile; Leaf-sheath has loosely embraced the stem, sheath mouth opens.

 Flowers are solitary, misty rose (pale rose color); Bracts are small; middle sepals are ovate-oblong, 1.7~1.9 cm long, about 6 mm wide, the apex is obtuse, lateral sepals are longer than middle sepals but narrower, the apex is sharp pointed; Calyx sac is short, blunt; flower petals are elliptic, wider, as long as middle sepal, the apex is blunt, the margin is more or less toothed; labellum is orbicular (suborbicular), labium is concave, pubescent, 3 lines start from the base and reach to the front end (apex), the margin is penicillate (fringelike); The gynostemium (gynandrium) is short. Its flowering period is from April to May.

 Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe:plants grow on tree Ecological Environment: The plant grows attached to trees or on rocks in the forest. It prefers to grow in warm, moist, half shaded half sunny environments, yearly precipitation is over 1,000 mm, air humidity is over 80%, the average temperature in January is higher than 8 °C (Celsius, or 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), in the subtropical mountain forest its growth is better, the requirements of soil fertilizer are not very strict, grows wild in loose and thick bark or tree trunk, some also grow in the cracks in the stone. The plant is distributed in the Zhujiang River area.

 Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe:plants grow on tree Characters of herbs: The herb stem is slender and cylindrical, often curved, coiled into blocks or bound into a bundle, the length is 15~35 cm, or 11-40 cm long, the diameter is 0.1~0.3 cm, the internode length is 1~2 cm, or 0.4-2.3 cm. The surface is golden yellow, and glossy, and has fine vertical striations. The texture of the herb is soft and pliable, and farctate, the fracture surface is relatively flat. The herb is odorless, has a bitter taste, and is glutinous.

 The better grade of dried Dendrobium herb is golden, and glossy, the texture is soft and pliable. The better grade of fresh Dendrobium herb is yellow-green, big and juicy, and sticky (glutinous) when chewed.

(2).Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook.


 Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook.:growing plants Botanical description: The plant, Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook is commonly known as Mǎ Biān Shí Hú (means Dendrobium of horsewhip shape), or Liú Sū Shí Hú (means Dendrobium with tassels). A perennial epiphyte (epiphytic herb). The stem is upright, subcylindrical (nearly cylindrical), sometimes fusiform (spindle-shaped) above the base, gradually turns attenuated upward, usually about 60 cm high, 2~20 mm in diameter, and the surface has grooves. Leaves are in two rows, stretch almost horizontally, are oblong or elliptic, 8~15.5 cm long, 2~3.6 cm wide, and the apex is sharp pointed.

 Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook.:flowering plants In anthesis (flowering period) it is aphyllous (leafless); Racemes are pendulous, about 15 cm long, often have 6~12 flowers; Inflorescence axis is relatively thin, slightly zigzag-shape; phyllary (involucral bracts) are sheathed (sheath-shaped), membranous, about 5 mm long; Flower bracts are small, about 3 mm long; Flowers are yellow; Sepals are oblong, about 1.8 cm long, and about 8 mm wide, apex is blunt, entire; calyx sac is orbicular, about 3 mm long; flower petals are the same shape as sepals, equal length, but wider, the apex is blunt, the edge is premorse (erose); labellum is orbicular, equal length as sepals, has short claws, the upper surface of labium (lip plate) is densely covered with pubescence, near the base there is a reniform purple speckle patch, the edge has tassels (fringe), it is flowering period is from April to May.

 Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook.var.oculatum Hook.:plants grow on tree Ecological Environment: The plant grows attached to trees or on rocks in the valley. It is distributed in the upper reaches of the Zhujiang river, the southwest area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The herb stem is long conical, with a few branches on the upper part, 30~150 cm long, 2~8 mm in diameter, and the internode length is 2~4.5 cm. The surface is brownish yellow, and has 8~9 deep vertical grooves. The texture of the herb is loose, the fracture surface is fibriform (fibrous). The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter. The commodities are often cut into segments in length of 1.5~3 cm, the cross-section is ash gray (grayish-white).

(3).Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl.


 Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.:growing plants Botanical description: The plant, Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl is commonly known as Huáng Cǎo Shí Hú, Shù Huā Shí Hú. A perennial epiphyte (epiphytic herb). The stem is cylindrical, it grows 50~200 cm high, and 5~15 mm in diameter. The upper part is slightly curved, internode length is 3~4 cm. Leaves are thinly chartaceous (papery), lanceolate, or oblong-lanceolate, apex is acuminate; leaf sheath is membranous, often has scaly spots after it is dried; The sheath mouth open and is cyathiform (cotyloid or cuplike).

 Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.:flowering plants In anthesis (flowering period) it is aphyllous (leafless); umbels are subsessile, have 2~4 or 6 flowers; flower bracts are small, membranous; Flowers are yellow, slightly succulent; middle sepals are oblong, 1.5~1.8 cm long, about 1 cm wide, apex is obtuse; Lateral sepals are nearly sickle, slightly longer than middle sepals; calyx sac is short conical; flower petals are obovate-oblong, obviously wider than sepals, margin is often dentate near apex; labellum is transverse oblong, both surfaces are densely tomentose, labium (lip plate) has 2 blood purple circular patches, 2 pleats grow from base to near middle part, edge has short tassels (fringes). Its flowering period is from May to September.

 Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.:flowering plants Ecological Environment: The plant grows attached to trees or on rocks. Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall.ex Lindl is distributed in the Zhujiang river area and southwest area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The herb stem is thin and long, cylindrical, the middle and upper parts are irregularly bending, the length is 23~120 cm, 2~5 mm in diameter, and the internode length is 2~3.5 cm. The surface is golden yellow or brown-yellow, has vertical striations, the herb is light, the texture of the herb is farctate, easy to break, and the fracture surface is slightly fibrous. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter, and sticky (glutinous) when chewed.

(4).Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.


 Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.:growing plants Botanical description: The plant, Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl is commonly known as Tiě Pí Shí Hú, Hēi Jié Cǎo, Tiě Pí Lán. According to herbal classics, Huò Shān Shí Hú, or Dendrobium huoshanense C.Z.Tang et S.J.Cheng., is another name for this species, Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl. A perennial herb, epiphytic, stems are cespitose (in tufts), cylindrical, it grows up to 35 cm high, 2~4 mm in diameter. Stem nodes on the upper part sometimes have roots, new plants grow out, and turn caesious (steel gray) when it is dried. Leaves are chartaceous (papery), oblong-lanceolate, 4~7 cm long, 1~1.5 cm wide, apex is slightly uncal (falcate), margin and midrib (mid-vein) are mauve (lilac); Leaf sheath has purple patches, sheath mouth opens, often has a circinal gap with the leaves.

 Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.:flowering plants Racemes often grow at the upper end of aphyllous stems (afoliate stems), 2~4 cm long, reflexed curved, often has 3 flowers; peduncles are about 1 cm long; flower bracts are scarious (scariose), whitish, 5~7 mm long; tepals are yellowish-green, about 1.8 cm long; middle sepals are similar to flower petals, oblong-lanceolate, about 4 mm wide, the apex is sharp pointed, lateral sepals are falcate triangular, base is about 1 cm wide, the apex is sharp pointed; Calyx sac is conspicuous; labellum is ovate-lanceolate, reflexed, slightly shorter than sepals, undivided or inconspicuously 3-lobed, the edge of the base is involute (rolled inward) and has 1 callosum, the apex is sharp-pointed, the edge is undulated (undulant); labium (lip plate) is covered with papillary hairs, has prunus specks and spots. Its flowering period is from April to June.

 Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.:flowering plants Ecological Environment: The plant grows attached to trees, and it is distributed in the Zhujiang river area, and southwest area of China.

 Characters of herbs: The leaf-sheaths are often shorter than the distance of internode length, have circinal gaps, the herb has a mild taste or is slightly bitter.

(5).Dendrobium nobile Lindl.


 Dendrobium nobile Lindl.:growing plants Botanical description: The plant, Dendrobium nobile Lindl is commonly known as Jīn Chāi Shí Hú. A perennial epiphytic herb (epiphytes). The stems are cespitose (in tufts), upright, it grows up to 30~50 cm tall, 1~1.3 cm in diameter, yellowish-green, nodous, and internode length is 2.5~3.5 cm. Leaves are more or less coriaceous (subcoriaceous), often 3~5 leaves grow on the front end of stems; Leaf blades are oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 6~12 cm long, 1.5~2.5 cm wide, apex is 2-lobed, leaf veins are parallel, usually 9 veins; leaf sheath tightly clasped between nodes, 1.5~2.7 cm long; sessile.

 Racemes grow out from stem nodes, and usually have 2~3 flowers; flower bracts are oval (egg-shaped), small, and membranous, flowers are big, pendulous, 6~8 cm in diameter; Calyx and flower petals are white, terminal end is faint red (pale red); 3 sepals, middle sepals are free (separate), ambilateral sepals grow obliquely on gynostemium foot, oblong, 3.5~4.5 cm long, 1.2~1.5 cm wide; flower petals are ovate-oblong or elliptic, nearly equal length as sepals, 2.1~2.5 cm wide, the labellum is subovate, grows in front of gynostemium foot, 4~4.5 cm long, 3~3.5 cm wide, the apex is rounded, the base has short claws, the lower half part reflex upward and surround the gynostemium, both surfaces are covered with fuzz, the central part near the base has a block of dark purple spots; The length of the gynostemium is 6~7 mm, and the length with foot is about 12 mm; Stamens are conical, anthers are 2-loculed, 4 anthers blocks, raceous (ceraceous). Capsularfruit. Its flowering period is from May to June.

 Dendrobium nobile Lindl.:growing plants Ecological Environment: The plant grows and attaches to alpine rocks or tree trunks in forests. It is mainly distributed in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, the southwest area, Taiwan, and other areas of China.

 Dendrobium nobile Lindl.:growing plants Characters of herbs: The middle and lower part of the herb stem is flat cylindrical, and slightly zigzag-shape curved upward, the length is 20~40 cm, or 18-42 cm, the diameter is 0.4~0.6 cm, the diameter of the middle part is 0.4-1 cm, the internode length is 1.5~6 cm. The surface is golden or green-yellow, has deep vertical grooves and vertical striations, nodes are slightly enlarged, brown, and often has residual taupe leaf sheath. The texture of the herb is light and crisp, the fracture surface is puffed (unconsolidated). The herb has a mild odor and a bitter taste.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.certain analgesic; ②.antipyretic effects; ③.excite or inhibit bowel activity; ④.dendrobine can increase blood glucose, reduce blood pressure and weaken heart contractility; ⑤.antibiotic microorganism: Dendrobium nobile water decoction can delay the cytopathy caused by ECHO11; ⑥.Dendrobine is a respiratory suppressant and can cause convulsions in large doses.

 Medicinal efficacy: Tonifying stomach and promoting fluid, nourishing Yin and clear heat, moistening lung and invigorating kidney, improving eyesight and strong waist. It is indicated for impairment of fluid due to pyrexia, dry mouth and polydipsia, insufficiency of stomach Yin, gastralgia and retching, poor appetite and retching, pulmonary dryness and dry cough, asthenic fever not relieve after disease, fire excess from yin deficiency (hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency), bone steaming and consumptive fever, Yin injury and dim eyesight, dim eyesight and not clear, weakness and softness of waist and knees, flaccidity of bone muscle and tendons, etc.

 Administration of Herba Dendrobii (Shí Hú): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Dendrobii (Shí Hú)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 6~12 grams, fresh herb 15~30 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction (decoct for long time), 2~4 qian (about 6~12 grams), fresh herb 0.5~1 liang (about 15~30 grams); prepare to ointment, or prepare to pill, powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 6~15 grams, double dosage for fresh herb;prepare to ointment, or prepare to pill, powder. Fresh herb strong potency in clearing heat and generate body fluid, better use for heat hurt the body fluid; dried herb better use for stomach deficiency and Yin hurt from heat.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: the herb Herba Dendrobii should not be combined with Calcitum Gypsum Rubrum, Croton Seed, Bombyx Batryticatus, Omphalia.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Shi Hu:Dendrobium or Herba Dendrobii.

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