Epimedium spp

Epimedium Leaf Folium Epimedii Pinyin: Yin yang huo Berberidaceae

Epimedium is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a vitalizing tonic, especially for sexual dysfunction, which has given it one of its more common names: "horny goat weed." The Chinese pharmacopoeia (PPRC 2005) recognizes five different species of Epimedium as interchangeable: E. brevicornum Maxim., E. koreanum Nakai, E. pubescens Maxim., E. sagittatum (Sieb. et Zucc.) Maxim., and E. wushanense T. S. Ying. These are reported to be microscopically similar, with small differences that are outlined in Asian microscopy literature. Adulteration in the American market does not appear to occur.

Surface view: Upper epidermal cells with sinuous anticlinal walls, walls slightly thickened and pitted, stomata and trichomes absent; lower epidermal cells with sinuous anticlinal walls and thick-walled papillae ~20 ^m long that often occur as a ring ~20 ^m diameter; numerous anomocytic stomata, ~25-30 |im in length; uniseriate covering trichomes of several thick-walled cells occur along the veins, basal cells shorter than terminal cells, rounded apex, up to ~1 mm in total length; fibers in bundles along veins; fiber bundles sheathed by rod-shaped calcium oxalate prisms up to 40 ^m long (considerably larger than in usual prism sheaths).

Transverse section: Isobilateral; upper epidermal cells with a thick outer cell wall; palisade layer is absent; mesophyll cells are more spherical toward the upper epidermis and more irregular in shape, with large intercellular spaces toward the lower epidermis; most cells are filled with a dark brown substance and cell borders are often difficult to identify; lower epidermal cells have a thick outer wall and abundant thick-walled papillae.

Powder: Prism crystals of calcium oxalate; sinuous epidermal cells with anomocytic stomata.

Chinese Herbs

Chinese Herbs

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