PMS, pruritus vulvae treated with TCM herb pulsatilla

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What is pulsatilla(Bai Tou Weng)?
It is not a single herb, instead referring to a range of similar plants. Basically it refers to the plants of genus Pulsatilla, which is viewed as a subgenus under the genus Anemone sometimes. Furthermore, it has a variety of different names for this specific group, such as magnoliid dicot genus, pasqueflower (pasque flower), and family Ranunculaceae – crowfoot family and buttercup family. In addition, the word itself also means the shaking of a flower in the wind. Statistically, there are 33 different species in the world, such as Pulsatilla chinensis, Pulsatilla nigricans, Pulsatilla patens, and Pulsatilla vulgaris, etc.

This herb is one of herbaceous perennials, with conical root, longitudinal grain, densely white pubescent throughout, and 10 to 40 cm in height. It has 4 to 5 pieces of basal leaves, 3-sect or ternate sometimes. Solitary terminal bell-shaped flowers is bright yellow in color, mostly stamens, with 3 to 4 cm stem and 6 petal-like sepals, which are in two whorls, bluish violet in color, and densely white pubescent. Blooming period is from March to May. The fruits are achene, clustered into head shape, styles persistent, and white haired, which mimics an old man with white hair so that it is also called as white-headed man (literally) in China.

The root rather than the whole herb is used medicinally in TCM. It is long cylindrical or conical, slightly curved or twisted and slightly flat, 5 to 20cm long, and 0.5 to 2cm in diameter. The skin is yellowish-brown or dark brown, with irregular vertical wrinkles or longitudinally furrowed, and 2 to 3 branching in the middle sometimes. The caducous cortex makes the yellow xylem exposed easily, very often rotten into pits, and lengthways prominent netted pattern. The root head is slightly expanded, forked sometimes, several layers of remnant sheath-shaped petiole and spire, and densely villous. The texture is hard and crisp, with slightly flat cross section, yellowish white in color, sometimes with gap between cortex and xylem. It is slightly odorous and bitter in taste. Thick and solid one is preferred medicinally.

Medicinal purpose
In the west, this is one of traditional medicinal herbs of Native Americans and initial ingredient in homeopathic treatments. Anemone is capable of curing a number of conditions. According to documents, it was widely used for both male and female reproductive health like PMS and epididymitis. And it was also used to induce abortions and childbirth by Blackfoot Indians. Else, its plant extracts are able to tranquilize the mind and relieve a cough.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, this herb is bitter and cold in nature and covers meridians of stomach, liver, and large intestine. Main functions are to remove heat and eliminate toxins, clear blood heat and relieve Diarrhea, and dry dampness and kill parasites. Main usage and indications are amebic dysentery or bloody flux due to excess fire toxicity, nosebleed, internal Hemorrhoids with massive bleeding, unpleasant vaginal discharge, pruritus vulvae, swelling sores, and scrofula. Regular dosage is 9 to 15 grams in decoction.

 Key words:  Chinese herbsPMS

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