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Arca shell

Other Names: Arca noae or the Noah’s Ark shell
Family: Arcidae
Genus: Arca
Species: A. noae
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Arcoida

Common Names: Cockle shell or Wa Leng Zi in mandarin,

Distribution & availablity: Arca noae or Ark shell is found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. It used to be common in the Adriatic but in 1949/50 there was a sudden unexplained, catastrophic decline in numbers. Since then populations have been creeping back upwards and in 2002, densities of up to 13 individuals per square metre (11 square feet) were recorded but, because of lack of records, it is unclear whether a return to prior population levels had been reached.
Description:
The shell of Arca noae grows to about 10 cm (4 in) in length. It is shortened at the anterior end and elongated posteriorly. It is irregularly striped in brown and white and has fine sculptured ribs running from the umbones to the margin. The hinge is long and straight and the shell is attached strongly to the substrate by byssal threads. There are pallial eyes on the edges of the mantle, especially at the posterior end. There are 42 to 48 radial ribs outside.

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They are characterized by boat-shaped shells with long, straight hinge lines bearing many small, interlocking teeth. The shells are usually coated with a thick, sometimes hairy periostracum (outer organic shell layer). Many of these clams have rows of simple eyes along the mantle margins. Most of the 200 or so known species are found in tropical seas, with only a few species occurring in temperate areas. Ark shells are slow-moving or sedentary.It lives shallowly buried in sands and silts.

Biology:
In the lower part of the intertidal zone in the Adriatic, Arca noae often grows in association with Modiolus barbatus.The shells are often heavily encrusted with epibionts. Water is drawn into the shell mainly at the posterior end. Plankton and fine organic particles are filtered out as the water passes over the gills and inedible particles are rejected at the same time. Its shell contains a large amount of calcium carbonate and a small amount of calcium phosphate. Besides, it also contains aluminum silicate and inorganic elements, such as chlorine, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, strontium, and zinc. And it has a specific enrichment capacity of nuclide manganese.

Collection & Uses:
Arca noae is fished commercially in the Adriatic Sea, either by divers gathering individual shells by hand or from boats using specially adapted rakes which are pulled along the seabed. The shellfish are then sold in local markets. In China it is produced around the coastal areas and captured all year round for medicinal purpose. And the subsequent steps are to clean, slightly boil in boiling water, remove the meat, and finally dried in sun. Medicinally it is used broken and raw or calcined.

Medicinal Uses:
Modern pharmacology reveals that its ability of reducing gastric ulcer pain comes from calcium carbonate, which can neutralize stomach acid.

Ark shell, clam shells (Hai Ge Ke), and pumice (Fu Hai Shi) have quite similar medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable. On the contrary, they need to be well distinguished clinically for proper uses.

All of the three are of salty in flavor and have the common function of eliminating phlegm, softening hardness and dissipating binds. As a result, all of them can be used to treat phlegm-fire stagnation induced scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, goiter and tumor; clam shell and pumice stone can also treat cough and asthma accompanied with thick yellow sputum that is caused by lung heat and phlegm-fire since both of them is capable of clearing lung and eliminating phlegm; clam shell and ark shell are also good at treating stomach discomfort and acid reflux since they can neutralize acidity and relieve pain.

And they do have their own advantage respectively on healing properties. Clam shell is still capable of inducing diuresis to alleviate edema. So it is often used for the treatment of edema and difficult urination; pumice stone can treat bloody stranguria and urolithiasis by inducing diuresis; ark shell removes blood stasis and disperses phlegm. Hence, it treats mass in the abdomen and hepatosplenomegaly.

Sample ark shell recipes on herbal remedies:   The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is salty in flavor and neutral in nature. It covers meridians of lung, stomach, and liver. Crucial functions are dissolving phlegm, dispersing blood stasis, resolving hard lump, relieving hyperacidity, and stopping pain. Prime ark shell uses and indications include substantial amounts of lingering phlegm, difficulty coughing up thick, sticky mucus, goiter and tumor, scrofula, abdominal mass, stomachache, and acid regurgitation. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction. And please keep in mind to decoct it before other ingredients.

1) Han Hua Wan from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns and Treatment). It is formulated with Hai Zao (Sargassum Seaweed), Kun Bu (Kombu), etc. to treat scrofula, goiter and tumor;

2) Wa Long Zi Wan from Wan Shi Jia Chao Fang (Wan’s Heirloom Prescriptions). It is fried, processed with vinegar, and used alone to cure abdominal mass and eliminate phlegm;

3) Wa Leng Zi Wan from Nu Ke Zhi Zhang (Full Knowledge of Gynecology). It is formulated with Xiang Fu (Cyperus), Tao Ren (Peach Seed), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony), Chuan Xiong (lovage), Da Huang (rhubarb), and Hong Hua (Safflower) to heal pain and no blood flow during menstruation. Lower abdomen is hard and full when pressed and it is kind of excess pain.

Clinical research of ark shells:  50 cases of burns and scalds, including second degree, have been treated with the combination of ark shell and vegetable oil at the ratio of 1:1. The oil was directly applied to the wounds and wall of them were cured. – Si Chuan Yi Xue (Sichuan Medicine), 1982; 1:44.

Ark shell side effects and contraindications:
Generally ark shell causes no adverse reaction when it is used in the treatments a variety of diseases like gastric and duodenal ulcers. But there were individual cases reported with facial swelling, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, recurrent urinary tract infections and others. Ben Cao Yong Fa Yan Jiu (Studies of The Uses of Drugs in Chinese Materia Medica) says that it shouldn’t be used in the patients with no blood stasis and sputum retention.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arca_noae
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34878/ark-shell

Ark Shell (Wa Leng Zi)

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Fo-Ti Root (Polygonum multiflorum)

Botanical Name: Polygonum multiflorum
Plant Family: Polygonaceae
Common name: Black haired Mr He, He Shou Wu (Mandarin),Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., or Fallopia multiflora

Habitat : Native to east Asia, the plant is grown along the banks of streams and in valley shrub thickets in China, Malaysia, etc.

Description:
Fo-Ti Root  a perennial climber, of the family Polygonaceae.The plant grows to about 4.5 m high. It is in flower from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

You may click to see the pictures

Fleece flower is produced in most parts of China. The root tuber is dug in spring and autumn, preferably from plants 3 – 4 years old, washed clean, sliced and dried in the sun, which is known as raw fleece-flower root. That prepared by steaming with the juice of black soybean (till getting brown) and drying (till getting black) in the sun is called prepared fleece-flower root.


Constituents:

*anthraquinones
*phospholipids, such as lecithin
*tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside
*trace elements

Action: astringent [a binding agent that contracts organic tissue, reducing secretions or discharges of mucous and

*fluid from the body
*bitter [applied to bitter tasting drugs which act on the mucous membranes of the mouth and stomach to increase appetite and promote digestion]
*sweet
*warm

Medical Uses:

Medicinal Used: Root which has been processed (Zhi He Shou Wu). Processing reduces toxicity and alters its properties.

The literal English translation of Fo-Ti is “vine to pass through the night.” With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste, fo-ti was thought to unblock the channels of energy through the body, allowing the escape of the pathogenic influences that cause generalized weakness, soreness, pain, and fatigue. The plant is also used as a wash for itching and skin rashes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fo-ti is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Do not however go to a Chinese herbalist and ask for fo-ti, for you will get only a curious look. The Chinese know the plant root as he-shou-wu. Over the centuries he-shou-wu’s reputation has bordered on the mythical for its power to produce longevity, increase vigour, and promote fertility.

Side Effects:
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known. The root is considered to have minimum toxicity, however,excessive use can cause numbness in the hands and feet. The unprocessed root can cause loose stool, diarrhea, with abdominal pain, and nausea.

Preparation Methods :Teas and tinctures. Sometimes found in capsule form.

Polygonum multiflorum is used for:

Blood Conditions
*high blood cholesterol
*tones the vital essence and blood

Brain and Nervous System Conditions
*blurred vision
*dizziness with tinnitus
*epilepsy
*neurasthenia especially with insomnia
*neuritis
*schizophrenia

Muscular and Skeletal Conditions
*knee pain
*lower back pain
*fortifies muscles, tendons and bones
*numbness of limbs

Other
*premature aging
*premature greying
*promotes longevity
*tonic for elderly
*weak connective tissue

Dosage:
Recommended dosage is as follows:
50-100mL per week of 1:2 fluid extract

Western Medicine Fashion:
He shou wu is used for treating lymph node tuberculosis, cancer, and constipation. It is also used orally as a liver and kidney tonic; as a blood and vital essence toner; nourishing muscles, tendons, and bones. He shou wu is also used orally for hyperlipidemia, insomnia, limb numbness, lower back and knee soreness or weakness, premature graying, and dizziness with tinnitus.

Topically,He shou wu is used for sores, carbuncles, skin eruptions, and itching.

Parts Used:The unprocessed root is sometimes used. However, once it has been boiled in a special liquid made from black beans, it is considered a superior and rather different medicine according to traditional Chinese medicine. The unprocessed root is sometimes called “White Fo-Ti”, and the processed root is “Red Fo-Ti”.

Folk Lore:

The Chinese common name for Fo-Ti, he-shou-wu, was the name of a Tang dynasty man whose infertility was supposedly cured by Fo-Ti; in addition, his long life was attributed to the tonic properties of this herb. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine uses Fo-Ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and impotence.

There are many literature about foti root:He-Show-Wu from ancient China,a story name He-Shou-Wu Legend written by Li Ao of Tang Dynasty spread widely.According to the description,He Shou Wu is a native people of Nan He County of Shun Zhou,his grandfather named Neng Si,his father named Yan Xiu.Original name of Neng Si is Tian Er,weakly from childhood,no sexual desire when grew up,got to mountains for learning Taoism.One day,Neng Si drunk and sleep on stones in day,its nearly night when he woke up,catch sight of a plant with double stems and numerous leaves,the stems and leaves intersected little by little and diparted later,he astonished of this scene.The next day,Neng Si dig out the root from the plant and dig out a root,he hand it to many people and no one named it,an old man said it may be a kind of elixir.Neng Si want to try its effects and have it taken for 7 days, and he suddenly got sexual desire that day.He keep trying it 3 to 4 months and bacame strong,after 1 year taken this root,Neng Si got rid of his old disease and looks fine,hair became black and shining.In the following 10 years,Neng Si had several sons and daughters,so he changed his name from Tian Er to Neng Si.Later he offer this root to his son Yan Xiu, and Yan Xiu offer this root to his son Shou Wu,the grandfather Neng Si and his son,grandson all live to 160 years old.Li Qi An is a neighbour and good friend of Shou Wu,he take this root and live very long,and he make this root public known,many people try this and it functions fine,so they name this root He Shou Wu which could extend life longevity and make hair black

Click to see for more knowledge:

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

Polygonum Multiflorum


http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail313.php
http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new04104.html

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Fo-Ti

Organic dried Polygonum multiflorum root. Phot...Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name: Polygonum multiflorum
Common Name: He-shou-wu
Habitat: Fo-ti is a plant native to China, where it continues to be widely grown. It also grows extensively in Japan and Taiwan.

Description:Fo-ti is the dried or cured root of a twining vine in the knotweed family, found throughout China, except in the extreme northeast. It is also occasionally grown in American gardens as an ornamental. Ask Chinese herbalists about “fo-ti” and they wont know what you’re talking about. The name was given to the plant by a marketer in the early 1970s for the American herb business. In China, it is known as he-shou-wu.

click to see the pictures

The sprawling twining runners of Fo Ti very quickly reach 30 feet and can cover four square feet of fence or trellis in about two months. This is a beautiful deep green vine that has stayed evergreen at just below freezing. In England it is sometimes referred to as fleeceflower and it is certainly an appropriate name. When Fo Ti flowers, the little cream colored flowers are in such great abundance it is as if the whole plant is covered with fine cotton.

Active constituents: The major constituents of fo-ti are anthraquinones, phospholipids (e.g., lecithin), tannins, and tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside. The processed root has been used to lower cholesterol levels in Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to animal research, it helps to decrease fat deposits in the blood and possibly prevent atherosclerosis.2, 3 However, human clinical trials are lacking to support this use. Test tube studies have suggested fo-ti’s ability to stimulate immune function, increase red blood cell formation, and exert an antibacterial action.4 None of these effects has been studied in humans. The unprocessed roots have a mild laxative action.

Traditional Use
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)
The Chinese common name for fo-ti, he-shou-wu, was the name of a Tang dynasty man whose infertility was supposedly cured by fo-ti. In addition, his long life was attributed to the tonic properties of this herb.1 Since then, Traditional Chinese Medicine has used fo-ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and erectile dysfunction.

In Chinese medicine the dried (unprocessed) root and the cured (processed) root are considered two different herbs. The unprocessed root is used to relax the bowels and detoxify the blood. The processed root is used to strengthen the blood, invigorate the liver and kidneys, and supplement vital energy (qi). Processed fo-ti is one of the more widely used tonics in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which employs it to enhance longevity, increase vigor, and promote fertility. It is also an ingredient in TCM formulas for premature gray hair, low back pain, angina pectoris, low energy, and other conditions.

Medicinal Uses: The unprocessed root is sometimes used medicinally. However, once it has been boiled in a special liquid made from black beans, it is considered a superior and rather different medicine according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The unprocessed root is sometimes called white fo-ti and the processed root red fo-ti. According to Chinese herbal medicine, the unprocessed root is used to relax the bowels and detoxify the blood, and the processed root is used to strengthen the blood, invigorate the kidneys and liver, and serve as a tonic to increase overall vitality.

Dosage
How much is usually taken?

The typical recommended intake is 1-1 1/2 teaspoons (4-8 grams) per day.5 A tea can be made from processed roots by boiling 1/2-1 teaspoons (3-5 grams) in 1 cup (250 ml) of water for ten to fifteen minutes. Three or more cups are suggested each day. Five fo-ti tablets (500 mg each) can be taken three times per day.

In Chinese medicine, fo-ti is a longevity tonic that is used for greying hair, premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharge, and erectile dysfunction. Red fo-ti is considered a tonic to increase vitality and energy, strengthen the blood, kidneys and liver. White fo-ti is used for constipation.

There is evidence that fo-ti can lower serum cholesterol, decrease hardening of the arteries, and improve immune function.

*Atherosclerosis

*Constipation

*Fatigue

*High cholesterol

*Insomnia

*Immune function

*Erectile dysfunction

*Parkinson’s disease

*Alzheimer’s disease

There are no controlled studies on the effectiveness or safety of fo-ti in humans. Preliminary studies with animals have found that fo-ti may attenuate diet-induced increases in plasma cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and plasma triglycerides. In animal studies, there is some evidence that fo-ti may enhance learning and memory and prevent the degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in the brain.

Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns:
Rarely, people develop an allergic skin rash after taking fo-ti. Other side effects include loose stools. Taking more than 15 grams of the processed root can cause numbness in the arms and legs.

There have been three published case reports of acute hepatitis following the use of a fo-ti product called Shou-wu-pian, which is manufactured in China. It is not known whether it was due to fo-ti or product contamination.

One study tested 32 plants used for menopause in traditional Chinese medicine. They found that fo-ti had the greatest estrogenic activity. People with estrogen-related cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate should take extra caution because the effect of fo-ti in humans is not known.

The unprocessed roots may cause mild diarrhea.6 Some people who are sensitive to fo-ti may develop a skin rash. Taking more than 15 grams of processed root powder may cause numbness in the arms or legs.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with fo-ti.

Cautions:
The unprocessed root can cause loose stools or diarrhea, sometimes with intestinal pain and nausea. The unprocessed root is considered potentially more toxic than the processed form. One case of allergic reaction to the cured root has been reported, although this form of fo-ti is considered to be minimally toxic when taken in proper doses. Large doses have resulted in numbness of the extremities as well as skin rashes.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://myhealth.ucsd.edu/library/healthguide/en-us/Cam/topic.asp?hwid=hn-2092003
http://www.allnatural.net/herbpages/fo-ti.shtml
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/FoTi.htm
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/polygonum_multiflorum.htm

 

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