Semen Trichosanthis (Gua Lou Ren)

Snakegourd SeedAccording to different medicinal parts, trichosanthes can be divided into semen trichosanthis (Gua Lou Ren), trichosanthes peel (Gua Lou Pi), radix trichosanthis (Tian Hua Fen), and fructus trichosanthis (Quan Gua Lou). These four parts are closely connected but with slightly different healing properties. Clinically they need to be set apart from each other. And its seeds, by contrast, have better performance on moistening dryness, resolving phlegm, and relaxing the bowels.

What is semen trichosanthis?

According to the survey, currently there are at least a dozen varieties share the name of Gua Lou Ren. However, medicinally it mainly refers to the dry mature seeds of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim. or Trichosanthes rosthornii Harms. Others also include T.truncata C.B.Clarke, T.bracteata (Lam.) Voigt, T.cucumeroides Maxim., and so on. And this herb gets a few different common names like Gua Lou Zi, snakegourd seed, trichosanthes seed, trichosanthes fruit seeds, trichosanthes kirilowii seed, and more. For better medicinal qualities, it is usually harvested during autumn when the fruit is ripe enough. After the harvest, cut it open, pick up the seeds, wash clean, and dried in the sun.

Seeds of Trichosanthes kirilowii are flat oval, 12 to 15mm in length, 6 to 10mm in width, and about 3.5mm in thickness. Surface is light brown to brown, and with a groove along the edge. Pointed top comes with navel and base is obtuse or narrower. Seed coat is hard. Membranous endopleura is gray green and with 2 oily, yellowish white cotyledon. And it has slight odor and taste. In comparison, seeds of Trichosanthes rosthornii are larger and flat, 15 to 19mm long, 8 to 10mm wide and about 2.5mm thick. Skin is brown, and with clear groove and wider rim. And the top is truncate.

Semen trichosanthis health benefits

Main chemical constituents of this herb are 16.8% unsaturated fatty acids, 5.46% protein, and 17 amino acids, triterpenoid saponins, multiple vitamins and 16 kinds of trace elements, such as calcium, iron, zinc, selenium. And its pharmacology tells how it really works as follows.

Modern pharmacological actions of trichosanthes seed

1. It can dilate coronal artery and thus increase coronary blood flow;
2. It has significant protection on acute myocardial ischemia;
3. It strongly inhibits in vitro the proliferation of isolated cancer cell and HIV;
4. It has a therapeutic effect on diabetes;
5. It has auxiliary effect on hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and high cholesterol;
6. It can enhance the body immunity;
7. It can help lose weight and improve looks;
8. It can cause Diarrhea.

Proven trichosanthes fruit seeds herbal remedies

It is viewed as sweet, slightly bitter on flavor and cold in nature and covers meridians of lung, stomach, and large intestine. Fundamental functions are clearing heat and eliminating phlegm, eliminating Qi stagnation and pain in the chest, and loosening the bowel to relieve constipation. Key semen trichosanthis medicinal uses and indications are sputum and heat cough, angina pectoris, accumulation of pathogens in chest, lung abscess, appendicitis, mastitis, constipation due to intestinal dryness. Recommended dosage is from 10 to 15 grams and smashing is preferable before the decoction.

1. Gua Lou Ren Tang. This formula comes from Gu Jin Yi Che (Ancient and Modern Complete Medical Book). It is commonly used for lung abscess, coughing up thick, fishy foul, and yellow and red sputum, or even hemoptysis, dry palms, coarse skin that lacks of luster, rapid pulse, and more. Other vital herbal ingredients are Chuan Bei Mu (Fritillaria Bulb), Tian Men Dong (Asparagus Tuber), Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower), Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon Tuber), and so on.

2. Gua lou Ren Shuang (semen trichosanthis powder). This powder is usually used to replace the seeds for better healing properties. Choose moderate amount of this herb, remove the shell, crush them into slush, wrap with a coarse cloth, steam hot, crush to get rid of oil contained, repeat the above steps till all the oil is removed, and finally grind them into powder and screen.

Semen trichosanthis side effects and contraindication

Overdose of this herb may lead to a variety of adverse reactions, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. And semen trichosanthis powder can greatly reduce the toxicity and then lower the risk of poisoning. Its ready-made tablets might to lead to menorrhagia in individuals. It was also reported that among its 413 cases of intravenous injection there were 7 cases with adverse reactions, manifested as chest tightness, drop of blood pressure, abdominal pain, chills, fever, dizziness, and so on. However no adverse reactions were reported in all intramuscular. And TCM believes that this herb shouldn’t be used along with Chuan Wu (Radix Aconiti Carmichaeli) and Cao Wu (Radix Aconiti kusnezoffi).

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