Suppression

Qian Hu

Category: Medicines - plant based

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Qian Hu is the name given to a herb used in Traditional Chinese medicine.  Peucedanum is a genus in the family Apiaceae, in which there are a dozen of flowering species. Medicinally Qian Hu mainly refers to the dried root of Peucedanum praeruptorum Dunn or Peucedanum decursivum Maxim. Other names of this herb include Hog’s Fennel, Radix Peucedani, and Peucedanum Root.

Its main medicinal part is the root. It is used in TCM as “a vital medicine to help cough up mucus, in particular yellow mucus”, it is commonly used in the treatment of ailments that are associated with the symptoms of coughing and phlegm, such as cough after cold, acute and chronic bronchitis, viral influenza, pneumonia, etc. In other words it is an antiviral. 

The roots are usually collected in autumn and winter or early spring when the cauline leaves perish or before the flower stalk appears. After that the fibrous roots are cleaned of any soil, dried in the sun, and then sliced. It is normally used raw or baked with honey.  The honey gives the medicine anti-bacterial activity as well.

Distribution

In China P. praeruptorum is primarily produced in Zhejiang, Henan, Hunan, and Sichuan and P. decursivum is mostly grown in Jiangxi, Anhui, Hunan, and Zhejiang.

Description

Peucedanum praeruptorum is a perennial herb, 30 to 120 cm in height. Root is conical. Erect stem is single and branched in upper part. Basal and lower leaves are papery, from rounded to broadly ovate, and 5 to 9cm long. Compound umbel is acrogenous or axillary and with 7 to 18 inflorescence stems; white petals are widely oval or nearly circular; stamens are 5 and with ovoid anthers; hairy ovary has 2 very short styles. Cremocarp is oval or ovoid, smooth, and glabrous. Bloom time is from August to October and fruiting time is from October to November.

Peucedanum decursivum is also a perennial herb, 70 to 140cm long. Conical root is from brownish yellow to brown and with strong aroma. Single stem is erect, round, and with edges on surface. Papery basal and lower leaves are triangular-ovate, and 1- or 2-pinnatisect. Acrogenous compound umbel is with unequal 12 to 20 inflorescence stems; purple petals are long ovate. Elliptic mericarp is 4 to 7mm long. Flowering time is from August to September and fruiting season is from September to October.

Chemical constituents

Peucedanum root contains coumarin compounds, coumarin glucoside compounds, D-mannitol, β-sitosterol, galactitol, daucosterol, etc. And coumarin compounds include praeruptorin A, B, C, and D, peucedanocoumarin Ⅰ, Ⅱ, Ⅲ, qianhucoumarin A, Psoralen, peucedanol, etc. Coumarin glucoside compounds include coumarin glucoside compounds, nodakenin, marmesin, skimmin, rutarin, praeroside Ⅰ, Ⅱ, Ⅲ, Ⅳ and Ⅴ, decuroside Ⅳ, apiosylskimmin, etc.

Dr Duke’s analysis as of May 2016 was as follows.  A more up-to-date analysis can be found by going to his website – Dr Duke’s Phytochemical database

Peucedanum decursivum (Apiaceae)

# Activity

Chemical

Plant Part

Low PPM

High PPM

StdDev

*Reference

2

ARSENIC

Plant

--

--

 

*

0

BARIUM

Plant

24.0

41.0

-0.44

*

0

BROMINE

Plant

7.0

23.0

-0.41

*

28

CALCIUM

Plant

14400.0

30000.0

1.76

*

7

CHLORINE

Plant

3500.0

4000.0

-0.56

*

24

CHROMIUM

Plant

9.0

16.0

0.63

*

12

COPPER

Plant

9.0

10.0

-0.44

*

12

IODINE

Plant

--

--

 

*

6

IRON

Plant

780.0

1400.0

0.91

*

0

LEAD

Plant

--

--

 

*

14

MANGANESE

Plant

43.0

69.0

-0.2

*

2

MOLYBDENUM

Plant

--

--

 

*

3

NICKEL

Plant

--

--

 

*

4

PHOSPHORUS

Plant

2800.0

3100.0

-0.23

*

14

POTASSIUM

Plant

16000.0

29600.0

0.54

*

0

RUBIDIUM

Plant

16.0

18.0

-0.48

*

0

STRONTIUM

Plant

100.0

130.0

-0.14

*

14

SULFUR

Plant

3700.0

5200.0

0.57

*

0

TITANIUM

Plant

66.0

100.0

-0.54

*

77

ZINC

Plant

23.0

42.0

-0.1

*

*Unless otherwise noted all references are to Duke, James A. 1992. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.

In addition to these chemicals, the herb has been extensively studied by many Chinese and Taiwanese researchers, as such, a full picture is starting to emerge.  For example:

Seven compounds were isolated from the roots of Peucedanum decursivum (Miq.) Maxim. 1 is 3'(S)-hydroxy-4' (R)-angeloyloxy-3',4'-dihydroxanthyletin, named Decursitin D; 2 is 3'(S)-acetoxy-4'(R)-hydroxy-3',4'-dihydroxanthyletin, named decurstin F; the others are 3'(S)-acetoxy-4'(R)-angeloyloxy-3', 4'-dihydroxanthyletin (3), Pd-C-IV (4), Pd-C-II (5), (+)-3'S-decursinol (6) and (+)-trans-decursidinol (7).  PMID:  12584857

Medicinal uses

 

As mentioned above, Peucedanum is used for ‘productive coughs’.  TCM does not treat all coughs with this medicine, but explores further to try to find the cause.  If it appears to be viral then this herb can be used.   

Coughing with mucus, as its name implies, is characterized by coughing and phlegm. Other corresponding symptoms are usually accompanied according to the different causes and reactions of the body. The one caused by cold is usually acute and with a shorter duration, mostly accompanied by fever, headache, chills, etc. The one caused by internal injuries is usually without exogenous symptoms, chronic, and often accompanied by organ dysfunction syndromes.

Bai Qian (Cynanchum) and peucedanum root are often used together.

cynanchum is of warm nature and with stronger expectorant effect, which is more for cough due to internal injuries and cold phlegm; on the contrary, peucedanum is of slightly cold nature and with ability of dispersing wind-heat, which is ideal for exogenous wind-heat or phlegm-heat cough and asthma.

It is worth adding that this plant is currently the subject of intensive research to establish all its properties and activities.

The following description came from a TCM website.  We do not know whether it is accurate, but it is of interest.

Sample peucedanum root recipes on herbal remedies

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is bitter and acrid in flavor and slightly cold in nature. And it goes to meridian lung. Common functions are dispersing wind, clearing heat, descending qi, and transforming phlegm. Prime peucedanum use and indications include wind-heat cough with excessive mucus in throat, phlegm-heat wheezing cough, and coughing up yellowish green mucus. Recommended dosage is from 3 to 9 grams.

1. Qian Hu San from Tai Ping Sheng Hui Fang (Taiping Holy Prescriptions for Universal Relief). It is combined with Xing Ren (Apricot Seed), Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark), Bei Mu (Fritillaria Bulb), etc. to treat fullness sensation in chest due to cough or asthma and coughing with yellow mucus.

2. Xing Su San from Wen Bing Tiao Bian (Detailed Analysis of Warm Diseases). It is formulated with Jing Jie (Schizonepeta), Zi Su Ye (Perilla Leaf), etc. to cure wind-cold type cough.

3. Qian Hu Yin from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence). It is matched with Fritillaria, Cynanchum, Mai Men Dong (Mondo Grass), Ma Huang (Ephedra), Da Huang (Rhubarb), etc. to heal cough with lung heat, excessive mucus, anxiety, and wheezing.

4. Yi Wu Qian Hu Wan from Wai Tai Mi Yao (The Secret Medical Essentials of a Provincial Governor). It is used along to make honey pills for baby crying at night for no reason.

Peucedanum side effects and contraindications

According to Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu (Explanation of Canon of Materia Medica), peucedanum dislikes Zao Jia (Chinese honey locust) and fear Li Lu (Veratrum). And the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing Shu (Commentary on ‘Shen Nong’s Classic of the Materia Medica) claims that it shouldn’t be used in patients with qi-blood deficiency.

 

References and further reading

Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2001 May;36(5):351-5.  [Chemical constituents of Peucedanum decursivum].  [Article in Chinese]  Yao NH1, Kong LY.  1Department of Natural Medicinal Chemistry, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210038, China.

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