Botanical Name:Fritillariae Cirrhosae
Pinyin Mandarin Name:Chuan Bei Mu
Common English Name :Fritillaria
Habitat: Fritillaria cirrhosa is native to E. Asia – Himalayas – Nepal to China. It grows on mountain slopes in alpine and sub-alpine meadows and scrub, usually on open stony moist hillsides Forests, alpine thickets, meadows, flood lands and moist places, 3200 – 4600 metres.
Description:Fritillaria is a genus of about 100 species of bulbous plants. The name is derived from the Latin term for a dice-box (fritillus), and probably refers to the checkered pattern, frequently of chocolate-brown and greenish yellow, that is common to many species’ flowers. Collectively, the genus is known in English as fritillaries; some North American species are called missionbells.
They often have nodding, bell- or cup-shaped flowers, and the majority are spring-flowering. Most species’ flowers have a rather disagreeable scent, like feces or wet fur. The Scarlet Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) eats fritillaries, and may become a pest where these plants are grown in gardens.
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Several species (such as F. cirrhosa and F. verticillata) are used in traditional Chinese cough remedies. They are listed as chu?n bèi (Chinese) or zhè bèi (Chinese), respectively, and are often in formulations combined with extracts of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). F. verticillata bulbs are also traded as bèi m? or, in Kamp?, baimo (Chinese/Kanji, Katakana). F. thunbergii is contained in the standardized Chinese herbal preparation HealthGuard T18, taken against hyperthyroidism.
Most fritillaries contain poisonous alkaloids such as imperialin; some may even be deadly if ingested in quantity. But the bulbs of a few species – e.g. Checker Lily (F. affinis) or Yellow Fritillary (F. pudica) – are edible if prepared correctly.
They are not generally eaten in large amounts however, and their edibility is therefore still somewhat debatable.
At least one species, F. assyrica, has a very large genome. With approximately 130,000,000,000 base pairs, it equals the largest known vertebrate animal genome known to date – that of the Marbled Lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) – in size.
The emblematic and often unusually-colored fritillaries are commonly used as floral emblems. The Snake’s Head Fritillary (F. meleagris) is the county flower of Oxfordshire (UK) and the provincial flower of Uppland (Sweden) where it is known as kungsängslilja (“Kungsängen lily”). In Croatia this species is known as kockavica, and the checkerboard pattern of its flowers is held to be the inspiration for the šahovnica pattern on Croatia’s coat of arms. The Kamchatka Fritillary (F. camschatcensis) is the floral emblem of Ishikawa Prefecture and Obihiro city in Japan. Its Japanese name is kuroyuri, meaning “dark lily”. F. tenella is the floral emblem of Giardino Botanico Alpino di Pietra Corva, a botanical garden in Italy.
Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil. Prefers peat bed conditions, the plant should not be allowed to dry out. In cultivation at Kew and thriving in a sunny stony bed at Keillour Castle in Perthshire, this species does not, however, do well in all gardens. It is much valued as a herbal remedy in China. This species is closely related to F. meleagris.
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn.
Bulb – boiled or roasted as a vegetable. The bulb is bitter-sweet. The bulb is about 2cm in diameter.
This herb is used in. formulas that treat most any type of cough (TCM: except coughs associated with deficient Spleen), and various types- of nodular formations (TCM: phlegm-fire hardening); also used to treat chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, and chronic cough with sparse or hardened phlegm.
The bulbs contain fritimine which lowers blood pressure, diminishes excitability of respiratory centers, paralyses voluntary movement and counters the effects of opium. The dried bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure. The Kameng and Lohit peoples in Arunachal Pradesh crush a bulk of Fritillaria cirrhosa to a paste to relieve muscle pains. Research has now confirmed the presence of a chemical similar to cocaine in a related Fritillaria plant that brings relief to muscular pain.
Traditional Usages and Functions
Clears heat, transforms phlegm, and stops coughing; clears heat and dissipates nodules.
Common Formulas Used In
Apricot Seed and Fritillaria; Fritillaria Extract Tablet.
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.
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