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ZhiGancao (Liquorice Root)---炙甘草(powder100g/bottle)

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This medicinal is the dried root of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch, Glycyrrhiza inflate Bat. Or G glabra L.(Fam. Leguminsosae). It is collected in spring and autumn. The one excavated in autumn is of the best quality. After removal of rootlets, it is dried by sunlight and sliced into thick pieces. It is utilized both in its raw and honey-baked form.

[ Medicinal Properties ]: Sweet, neutral; relate to heart, lung, spleen and stomach meridians.

[ Medicinal Efficacies ]: Tonify spleen and replenish qi; dispel phlegm and arrest cough; relieve spasm and pain; clear heat and relieve toxicity; harmonize all medicinals.

[ Clinical Applications ]: 1. Spleen qi deficiency syndrome      Due to its mild efficacy, it is often used as an adjuvant medicinal with Renshen and Baizhu in treating spleen qi deficiency syndrome.

2. Heart qi insufficient syndrome, palpations with intermittent and knotted pulse in cold-induced  diseases, there appear palpations with intermittent and knotted pulse due to insufficient heart qi. For these symptoms, it isused alone. For those due to deficiency of both qi and blood, it is combined with Renshen and Ejiao, as in the Zhigancao Decoction.

3. Cough and dyspnea         For cough and dyspnea due  to the invasion of wind-cold into the lung, it is used in combination with Mahuang and Kuxiangren, as in the San'ao Decoction; for that due to lung heart, with Shigao and Mahuang, as in the Ma Xing Shi Gan Decoction.

4. Spasm  in the abdomen and extremities       For spasm in the abdomen due to spleen insufficiency with liver hyperactivity, it is prescribed with Guizhi and Baishao, as in the Xiaojianzhong Decoction. For muscular spasms in the extremities due to in sufficiency of Yin-blood, it is used in combination with Baishao, as in the Shaoyao Gancao Decoction.

5. Heat-toxin with ulcers, sore throat; medicinal or food poisoning      For ulcers due to heat-toxin, it is combined with Diding and Lianqiao; for sore throat, with Banlangen and Jiegeng. Also, it has a degress of detoxification for food or medicinal poisoning.

6. Moderating the properties of medicinals      It may exert its moderating action when used with other mediicnals in many prescriptions. For example, when used with Fuzi and Ganjiang, it may decrease their heat property and avoid damage to yin. When used with Zhimu and Shigao, it may decrease their cold property and avoid damage to the stomach; when used with Dahuang and Mangxiao, it may decrease their purgative action and avoid drastic purgation. It may moderate the tonifying action of Dangshen, Baizhu, Shudihuang and Danggui and produce a milder and long-lasting efficacy. In addition, it can harmonize the actions of cool-natured or hot-natured medicinals, such as, Banxia, Ganjiang, Huanglian and Huangqin. Due to its strongly sweet taste, it can rectify the tastes of decoction.

[ Usage and Dosage ]:1.5-9g. The unprocessed form is slightly cool and has the function of clearing  heat and relieving toxicity. The honey-baked form is slightly warm and has superior effect to tonify the heart qi and spleen qi, as well as , nourish the lung to arrest cough.

[ Precautions ]: It is incompatible with Jingdaji, Yuanhua and Gansui. It is not recommended for cases of excessive dampness with abdominal distention and edema, for it can cause excessive dampness and qi obstruction. Prolonged administration of large doses of Gancao may cause edema due to retention of water and sodium.

[ Side Effects ]: About 20% patients receiving oral administration of Gancao in large doses or chronic administration in small dosage, may develop edema, weakness, spasm and numbness in the extremities, vertigo, headache, hypertension and hypokalemia. The aged and those with cardiovascular or renal disorders are susceptible to hypertension and congestive heart disease. For non-breast feeding women, chronic administration of glycyrrhizin can induce lactation.

 甘草为豆科植物甘草Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.、胀果甘草G.inflata Bat.、或光果甘草G.glabra L.的根及根茎。主产于内蒙古、新疆、甘肃等地。春、秋采挖,以秋采者为佳。除去须根,晒干,要厚片,生用或蜜炙用。

       【药性】甘,平。归心、肺、脾、胃经。       
 
【功效】补脾益气,祛痰止咳,缓急止痛,清热解毒,调和诸药。       
 
【应用】        1.心气不足,脉结代、心动悸。本品能补益心气,益气复脉。主要用于心气不足致而结代,心动悸者,如《伤寒类要》单用本品,主治伤寒耗伤心气之心悸,脉结代。若属气血两虚,宜与补气养血之品配伍,如炙甘草汤(《伤寒论》)以之与人参、阿胶、生地黄等品同用。       
 
2.脾气虚证。本品味甘,善入中焦,具有补益脾气之力。因其作用缓和,宜作为辅助药用,能“助参芪成气虚之功”(《本草正》),故常与人参、白术、黄芪等补脾益气药配伍用于脾气虚弱之证。       
 3.咳喘。本品能止咳,兼能祛痰,还略具平喘作用。单用有效。可随证配伍用于寒热虚实多种咳喘,有痰无痰均宜。      
 
 4.脘腹、四肢挛急疼痛。本品味甘能缓急,善于缓急止痛。对脾虚肝旺的脘腹挛急作痛或阴血不足之四肢挛急作痛,均常与白芍同用,即芍药甘草汤(《伤寒论》)。临床常以芍药甘草汤为基础,随证配伍用于血虚、血瘀、寒凝等多种原因所致的脘腹、四肢挛急作痛。       
 
5.热毒疮疡、咽喉肿痛及药物、食物中毒。本品还长于解毒,应用十分广泛。生品药性微寒,可清解热毒。用治热毒疮疡,可单用煎汤浸渍,或熬膏内服。更常与地丁、连翘等清热解毒、消肿散结之品配伍。用治热毒咽喉肿痛,宜与板蓝根、桔梗、牛蒡子等清热解毒利咽之品配伍。本品对附子等多种药物所致中毒,或多种食物所致中毒,有一定解毒作用。对于药物或食物中毒的患者,在积极送医院抢救的同时,可用本品辅助解毒救急。        6.调和药性。本品在许多方剂中都可发挥调和药性的作用:通过解毒,可降低方中某些药(如附子、大黄)的毒烈之性;通过缓急止痛,可缓解方中某些药(如大黄)刺激胃肠引起的腹痛;其甜味浓郁,可矫正方中药物的滋味。       
 
【用法用量】煎服,1.5~9g。生用性微寒,可清热解毒;蜜炙药性微温,并可增强补益心脾之气和润肺止咳作用。       
 
【使用注意】不宜与京大戟、芫花、甘遂同用。本品有助湿壅气之弊,湿盛胀满、水肿者不宜用。大剂量久服可导致水钠潴留,引起浮肿。       
 
 【古籍摘要】        1.《名医别录》:“温中下气,烦满短气,伤脏咳嗽”。       
 
 2.《本草汇言》:“和中益气,补虚解毒之药也”。       
 
 3.《本草正》:“味至甘,得中和之性,有调补之功,故毒药得之解其毒,刚药得之和其性……助参芪成气虚之功”。       
 
【现代研究】        1.化学成分:本品含三萜类(三萜皂苷甘草酸的钾、钙盐为甘草甜素,是甘草的甜味成分)、黄酮类、生物碱、多糖等成分。      
 
  2.药理作用:甘草有抗心率失常作用;有抗溃疡,抑制胃酸分泌,缓解胃肠平滑肌痉挛及镇痛作用,并与芍药的有效成分芍药苷有协同作用;能促进胰液分泌;有明显的镇咳作用,祛痰作用也较显著,还有一定平喘作用;有抗菌、抗病毒、抗炎、抗过敏作用;能保护发炎的咽喉和气管粘膜;对某些毒物有类似葡萄糖醛酸的解毒作用;有类似肾上腺皮质激素样作用;还有抗利尿、降脂、保肝等作用。       
 
3.临床研究:据报道,以生甘草2~3g,加10~15ml沸水泡服,每日1次,治疗婴幼儿腹泻有良效(湖北中医杂志,1984,6:11);生甘草10g,开水泡后当茶饮,轻症服药1~2个月,重症服药3~5个月,治疗慢性咽炎38例,治愈34例,好转4例(云南中医学院学报1983,1:20)。本品还有用于治疗消化道溃疡、抑郁症、食物中毒、急性乳腺炎、尿崩症、银屑病、痤疮及外治冻伤、皮肤破裂、手足癣等疾病的报道。      
 
  4.不良反应:大剂量服用或小量长期服用本品,大约有20%的人可出现水肿、四肢无力、痉挛麻木、头晕、头痛、血压升高、低血钾等不良反应;老年人及患有心血管病、肾脏病者,易致高血压和充血性心脏病。长期服用甘草甜素可致非哺乳期妇女泌乳。

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