Gua Lou Shi
Gua Lou Shi, Trichosanthes Fruit, Gua Lou Herb, Fructus Trichosanthis, Snake Gourd Fruit, Trichosanthes kirilowii.
Large Intestine, Lung, Stomach
Stops Coughing, Transforms Phlegm, Resolves Abscesses
The Trichosanthes is a round gourd that is often referred to as Chinese cucumber or snake gourd. The fruit is fleshy and it a commonly prepared vegetable in South Asia, where they grow on vines, often at the edges of forests of bushland.
Some traditional Chinese medicine does not distinguish between the different parts of the Trichosanthes plant: Gua Lou Shi, Gua Lou Ren, and Gua Lou Pi -- the fruit, the seed, and the husk. Where there is obstruction of the chest or abscesses, the entire fruit (Gua Lou Shi) is best to use. In terms of Heat and moving Qi, the husk (Gua Lou Pi) is most useful. When attempting to loosen bowels to relieve constipation, use the seed (Gou Lou Ren).
Overall, the Gua Lou herb works great on its own, especially for children. It relieves symptoms related to asthma and coughing, including difficult-to-remove Phlegm. In addition, Gua Lou Shi regulates Qi, specifically when it accumulates in the chest.
For patients with abscesses in the breast, intestines, and lungs, Sou Lou Shi works to dissipate nodules, reduce the abscesses, and eliminate the pus.
In the presence of diarrhea that is a result of Spleen/Stomach Deficiency Cold, patients should use the Gua Lou herb with more caution. This herb should not be used with Wu Tong, Gan Jiang, and Niu Xi because it is incompatible, it antagonizes, and it counteracts the effects of each herb respectively.
On the other hand, herbs that combine well with Gua Lou Shi are Jie Geng, Huang Qin, and Mo Yao. Jie Geng helps in the presence of a dry cough and painful throat, Huang Qin is useful in the presence of Phlegm-Heat cough, and Mo Yao works well for lung abscesses that cause coughing of pus and Blood.