Purgative Herbs for Drastic Hydragogue

  




Knoxia Root 

 
Latin: Radix Knoxiae
 
Origin:
Knoxia root is the root of Knoxia corymbosa Willd., a perennial herb, of the family Rubiaceae; or the root of Euphorbia Pekinensis Rupr., of the family Euphorbiaceae. Grown mostly in hills, roadsides, wasteland, bushes, woodland edges, Knoxia corymbosa is distributed in Indo-China and northern Australia; in China, the main production is in Jiangsu, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Hainan, Guangxi, Taiwan, etc.; Euphorbia Pekinensis, on the other hand, is produced mainly in the Northeast, the East and the South of China.

The plant Euphorbia Pekinensis is about 30-90 cm tall. The whole-plant has white juice. The root is thick and cone-shaped, with lateral roots. The stem branches at the upper part, with the surface covered with soft and white short hairs. The leaves are almost without stalk, are narrowly long like a lanceolate, 3-8 cm long, 6-12 mm wide. The male and female flowers have no perianth. The seeds are oval in shape, with smooth surface. It is in flower from June to September, in fruit from July to October.

Knoxia root is long and cone-shaped. It is slightly curved, often branched, about 10-20 cm long, with a diameter of 0.5-2 cm. Near the head of the root, it occasionally enlarges to about 4 cm. The surface is in grayish brown or brown, with a rough surface, and with longitudinal and lateral straight lenticels. The root is hard and difficult to break. The cross-section is brown or whitish, fibrous. With slight smell, the taste is bitter. The good ones are those that are rough, with the whitish cross-section.

Reaped by the end of autumn or at the beginning of spring. The herb is prepared by removing residual stems and fibrous roots from the root, drying it in the sun, cutting it into pieces and using when raw or after preparing it with vinegar.

Also called Peking Euphorbia Root.
 
Properties:
Bitter and pungent in flavor, cold and toxic in nautre, it is related to the lung, kidney and large intestine channels.
 
Functions:
Removes water retention by hydragogue and subdues swelling to resolve masses.
 
Applications:
1. Treats edema, tympanites and fluid retention in the chest and hypochondria:

This herb has a similar hydragogue action to that of kansui (Radix Euphorbia Kansui) and also has the same drastic and violent properties.

A) Edema and tympanites without any asthenia of the vital-qi:

Boil the knoxia root together with Chinese dates and eat the dates or use it together with kansui (Radix Euphorbia Kansui) and genkwa flower (Flos Genkwa) in order to strengthen the hydragogue action.

B) Dull pain on the ribs and thick and mucous sputum due to retention of phlegm-dampness and excessive fluid in the chest and hypochondria:

Use kansui (Radix Euphorbia Kansui) and white mustard seed (Semen Sinapis Albae) in order to achieve the effects of removing phlegm and dispelling retained water.

2. Treats skin and external diseases, scrofula and subcutaneous nodules:

This herb can be both taken orally and used externally to subdue swelling and resolve masses.

A) Skin and external diseases due to toxic heat:

The fresh herb can be mashed for external application.

B) Ulcers on the neck:

Made into pills together with Chinese angelica, large-head atractylodes rhizome (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) and raw pinellia root for oral administration.

C) Scrofula and subcutaneous nodules due to stagnation of phlegm-fire:

Boil the knoxia root with chicken eggs and eat the eggs.
 
Dosage and Administration:
1.5-3 g.

Decoct knoxia root in water for drinking or include it in pills or powder for oral administration. Use an adequate amount externally when raw. It should be prepared with vinegar for oral administration in order to reduce its toxicity.
 
Cautions on Use:
Knoxia root should be avoided by anyone with bodily weakness or pregnant women.

It is against licorice.
 
Reference Materials:
Shen Nong's Herbal Classic : "Tympanites due to parasitic infestation with retention of various fluids, acute pain with abdominal distention and accumulation of pathogenic wind in the spleen and stomach."

Other Medical Records of Famous Physicians : "Treats ulcers of the neck and armpits and headache."

"Inducing perspiration and lubricating the large and small intestines."

Original Meanings of Materia Medica : "With its drastic and violent properties, this herb is good at dispelling pathogenic water and accumulated phlegm and purging damp-heat and distention."
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
Knoxia root should be prepared with vinegar for oral administration in order to reduce its toxicity.
 
Modern Researches:
The root of Knoxia corymbosa contains ursolic acid, ]-sitosterol, etc. The root of Euphorbia Pekinensis contains euphorbium, gam-resin, gaoxalate, starch, camalate, saponin, butyric acid, etc.

The ether and hot water extracts of this herb can stimulate the intestinal tube to induce purgation, stimulate pregnant isolated uterus, dilate capillaries and resist the pressure-raising effect of adrenaline.
 
 
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