Lou Lu also known as Radix Rhapontici is the root of Rhaponticum uniflorum, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).
This plant often grows on hillsides, pine forests or birch forests at an altitude of 390-2,700 meters. It can be found in China, Mongolia, North Korea, Japan, Siberia and the Far East of Russia.
About 20 years ago, the root of Echinops latifolius Tausch was also called Lou Lu. Its medicinal effect in traditional Chinese medicine is similar to that of Radix Rhapontici. Because the chemical composition and pharmacological action of Echinops latifolius Tausch are different from that of Rhaponticum uniflorum, it was later renamed Yu Zhou Lou Lu in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia.
In the spring and autumn of each year, people gather the roots of Rhaponticum uniflorum, wash them with water, remove their impurities and fibrous roots, cut them into pieces, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.
Lou Lu contains ecdysterone, rhapontisterone, turkesterone, ajugasterone C, α-ecdysone, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, stigmasterol, arctic acid, arctinal, triterpenoids, flavones, palmitic acid, ethyl stearate, sucrose, and maltose.
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Lou Lu is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the stomach meridian.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Lou Lu is often used to clear heat and remove toxin, cure abscess and dissipate nodulation, dredge meridians and promote milk secretion, treat mastitis, breast cystic hyperplasia, mumps, rheumatoid arthritis, dysentery, ascariasis, bruises, proteinuria, and obesity. It is an important component of Ru Pi Xiao Pian.
Health benefits of Lou Lu
- Anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, and anti-fatigue.
- Lowering blood cholesterol and having analgesic effects.
- Enhancing the phagocytic capacity of macrophages and improving immunity.
- Reducing the damage of CCL4 or acetaminophen to liver tissue and protecting the liver.
- Anti-oxidation, inhibiting the production of lipid peroxide in animal serum, liver, brain, and other organs.
- Reducing the infiltration of white blood cells in the arterial wall, inhibiting the proliferation of smooth muscle cells, and preventing atherosclerosis.
- Enhancing the activity of superoxide dismutase in plasma, inhibiting the activity of monoamine oxidase, and delaying aging.
- Enhancing the function of the central cholinergic nervous system, protecting brain cells under hypoxia and ischemia, and improving memory disorders.
- Relieving skin itching and treating eczema.
- Promoting milk secretion, relieving breast swelling and pain, treating mastitis and breast cystic hyperplasia.
- Removing heat toxins, relieving skin swelling and pain, and treating furuncles and carbuncles caused by heat toxins.
- Dissipating nodulation and treating scrofula caused by the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
- Dredging meridians, relieving joint pain, treating rheumatoid arthritis and tendon spasm.
Lou Lu is used with other Chinese herbs
- It with Gua Lou (Fructus Trichosanthis) and She Tui (Snakeskin) can relieve breast swelling and pain, treat acute mastitis.
- It with Da Huang (Rhubarb Root), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae), and Zi Hua Di Ding (Viola Yedoensis) can treat furuncles and carbuncles caused by heat toxins.
- It with Jing Jie (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia), Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Bai Xian Pi (Cortex Dictamni), and Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) can relieve itchy skin and treat eczema,
- It with Jue Ming Zi (Cassia Seed), Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis), He Ye (Folium Nelumbinis), and Fang Ji (Stephania root) can treat obesity.
- It with Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri), Bai Mao Gen (Rhizoma Imperatae), Shan Zha (Hawthorn Fruit), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) can treat proteinuria.
Side effects of Lou Lu
Lou Lu has been used clinically for many years, with almost no side effects.
Some studies have reported that overdose may cause poisoning reactions.
Precautions of Lou Lu
- The dosage of Lou Lu should be controlled at 5-9g.
- It can be made into decoction or ground into powder for external use.
- People with deep abscess should not take it.
- People with qi deficiency should not take it.
- Pregnant women and children should not take it.