Gelsemium elegans (scientific name: Gelsemium elegans (Gardn. & Champ.) Benth., also known as heartbreak grass, Chinese Pinyin: Gou Wen, Simplified Chinese: 钩吻, 金勾吻, 苦吻, 水莽草, 野葛, 胡蔓藤, 断肠草), is a species of perennial, flowering, evergreen and poisonous lianas in genus Gelsemium (family Gelsemiaceae). Found along road sdies, in bush, damp places, hillsides and open forest in Asia (usually from between 500 to 2,000 meters in elevation), the plant can grow up to 12 m long. Gelsemium elegans is used as detoxicant, stasis-eliminating drug, analgesic, antipruritic, sedative and antiphlogistic in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia.
2. Odour, Properties And Channels:
Gelsemium elegans is considered to have bitter, warm and toxic properties and to be associated with the heart, lung, large intestine and small intestine meridians.
3. Uses, Health Benefits of Gelsemium Elegans & Medical Formulas:
3.1 Skin Health
A mixture of Gelsemium elegans, Angelica root, indigo naturalis, Galla Chinensis, dried alum, Strychnos nux-vomica seeds, Aspidistra lurida Ker Gawl root, resin of kaput wood, rosin (also called colophony or Greek pitch, it is a solid form of resin obtained from pines, Chinese: 松香) and realgar are powdered and used externally to treat mange in humans.
Smashed Gelsemium elegans root and tuberous root of Manihot esculenta are soaked in vinegar and applied externally to treat scrofula of the neck.
3.3 Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gelsemium elegans, radix sileris and root of Angelica pubescens are powdered and burn over skin to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Smashed Gelsemium elegans are applied externally to treat open wounds.
4. Contraindication, Side-effects & Cautions:
Gelsemium elegans has high toxicity and can only be used externally.
The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.
The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.
Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.