Yang Tonics

  




Dipsacus Root 

 
Latin: Radix Dipsaci
 
Origin:
Dipsacus root is the dried root of the perennial plant Dipsacus asper Wall., or Dipsacus japonicus Miq., of the family Dipsacaceae. Native to east Asia, it is grown in mountains in Japan and wild places and roadsides in China.

The plant grows to about 1 m high. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

In China, dipsacus is produced mainly in Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Yunan and Guizhou provinces. It is dug in autumn, and dried slightly in slow fire after removal of the remained stem and rootlets. Then the roots are piled up for sweating till the inner parts of them become green, dried by gentle fire, sliced, stir-baked without or with salt or wine for use.

Also called Himalayan Teasel Root, or Japanese Teasel Root.
 
Properties:
Bitter, sweet and pungent in flavor, mildly warm in nature, it is related to the liver and kidney channels.
 
Functions:
Tonifys the liver and kidney, promotes reunion of fractured bones and prevents abortion.

Being sweet and warm, it can strengthen yang and tonify the liver and kidney; owing to the pungent and warm nature, it can also promote blood circulation. As a tonic, it functions mildly and without sticky property in tonifying the kidney, preventing abortion, promoting blood circulation and curing trauma. Thus, it serves to treat syndromes of deficiency of chong and ren meridians, threatened abortion, traumatic ecchymoma and injury of muscles and bones.
 
Applications:
1. For insufficiency of the liver and kidney, or pain in the loins and knees, weakness of muscles and bones due to protracted rheumatism, it is often used with herbs for tonifying the liver and kidney, and dispelling wind-dampness, such as Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae, Cortex Eucommiae, Ramulus Loranthi, Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae and Radix Angelicae Pubescentis, etc.

2. For threatened abortion, due to kidney-deficiency, hyperactivity of the fetus with vaginal bleeding, metrorrhagia (uterine bleeding) and metrostasis, it can be used with herbs for preventing abortion and hemostasis, such as Ramulus Loranthi, Colla Corii Asini, Semen Cuscutae, Herba Agrimoniae, etc.

3. For traumatic ecchymosis (the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels) and pain, injury of muscles and bone fracture, it is often used with herbs for relieving blood stasis and pain, promoting reunion of fractured bones, such as Flos Carthami, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Lignum Sappan, Resina Olibani, etc.
 
Dosage and Administration:
10-20 g.

Decoction.
 
Cautions on Use:
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
Dipsacus root contains daucosterol, ]-sitosterol, triterpenoid saponins, sucrose, essential oil (volatile oil), etc.

The roots are anti-rheumatic, cancer, emmenagogue (promotes the menstrual discharge), galactofuge, haemostatic, hepatic and tonic. It is used as a kidney tonic. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthralgia, traumatic injuries, backache and weak knees, seminal emissions, polyuria (excessive secretion of urine) and also to secure abortions.

The seed is diuretic.

The plant is used in the treatment of rheumatism. It also has a long history of folk use in the treatment of breast cancer.

For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).

Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).
 
 
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