Chinese Name : 半枝莲
Latin Name : Herba Scutellariae Barbatae
This herb is the whole plant of Scutellaria barbata D. Don of the family Labiatae. It is grown in the Fujian, Guangdong, Guanxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Zhejiang provinces of southern China. Harvested in June, it is cleaned, cut into sections, and dried or the fresh herb is used. Scute barbata is an antipyretic, detoxicant, diuretic and Heat-Damp eliminator agent. The herb has been used to treat chronic hepatitis, snakebites, hepatomegaly, and cancers.
Use of Scute Barbata in TCM
Pungent, slightly bitter in taste, and cool, it acts on the lung, liver, and kidney meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Antitumorous: to treat malignant tumors, including lung, liver, stomach, esophageal, colon, and cervical cancers, a scute barbata decoction is used. Scute barbata is used with houttuynia and Solanum lyratum (bai yeng) for the treatment of lung cancer.
- Eliminates Heat toxins and detoxifies: for the treatment of boils, carbuncles, and snakebites, the juice of fresh scute barbata can be applied on the affected area or the dried plant can be combined with dandelion, viola, and lobelia in a decoction to be taken orally
- Induces diuresis and relieves edema: for acute or chronic nephritis, scute barbata combined with alisma, poria, and plantain seed can be useful in relieving abdominal edema. Scute barbata is mixed with forsythia, tokoro, anemarrhena, and phellodendron in a decoction for chronic nephropyelitis.
In a decoction of 15 to 10 g, or 30 to 45 g if the fresh herb is used
Pregnant women should use scute barbata cautiously or not at all
Side Effects and Toxicity
At suggested therapeutic doses this herb is safe. No undesirable side effects or toxicity were reported at the therapeutic dose in classical Chinese materia medica.
Scute barbata contains flavone compounds, scutelarein, scutelarin, carthamidin, isocarthamidin, and wogonin
Scute barbata is diuretic and antimicrobial, and has antitumor properties. The polysaccharide of the herb was shown to stimulate the murine lymphocyte transformation induced by Con. A. Intraperitoneal administration of the polysaccharide of the herb to mice increased the delayed type of hyper-sensitivity reaction to dinitrochlorobenzene, suggesting that the herb stimulates the immune system.