Di Fu Zi (Kochiae Fructus)

What Is Di Fu Zi

Di Fu Zi commonly known as Kochiae Fructus is the mature fruit of Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad, which is an annual potherb belonging to the family Chenopodiaceae. 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).

Earlier, Kochia scoparia belonged to the genus Kochia. In 1978, they were grouped into the genus Bassia. Kochia scoparia is also called Bassia scoparia, Summer cypress, or Mexican Fireweed.

This plant likes light and warm environments. They grow well in fertile, loose, humus-rich loam. They are widely distributed in Europe and Asia and naturalized in Africa, Australia, and North and South America. In some countries, they are used as ornamental plants. Their young leaves and stems are edible.

Bassia scoparia

In autumn, when the fruits of Kochia scoparia are ripe, people gather them, dry them in the sun, take out their fruits, remove impurities, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Di Fu Zi contains 20-hydroxyecdysone, β-Sitosterol, momordin Ic, momordin I, oleanolic acid, oleanolic acid 3-O-glucuronide, oleanolic acid 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, 28-O-Deglucosyl-chikusetsusaponin V, 2′-O-Glucopyranosyl-momordin Ic, chikusetsusaponin V, momordin IIc, kochianoside I~IV, daucosterol, stigmasterol-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, isorhamnetin, quercetin, rutin, isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside, 5,7,4′-Trihydroxy-6,3′-dimethoxyflavone, 5,7,4′-Dihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone, hyperoside, oleamide, ethanolamine, uridine, guanine, spermidine, putrescine, urea, allantoin, thymine, dopamine, carbohydrates, amino acids, organic acid, essential oils, and some trace elements.

Generally, the gray-green and plump Di Fu Zi is preferred.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal property of Di Fu Zi is relatively cold, with a pungent and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the kidney and bladder meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and promote diuresis, dispel wind and arrest itching, and treat dysuria, frequent micturition, urinary incontinence, abnormal leukorrhea, gonorrhoea, urine retention, impotence, red eyes, hemntodiarrhoea, rubella, eczema, perianal eczema, urticaria, pruritus vulvae, ichthyosis, urinary tract infection, acute mastitis, prostatitis, hepatitis B, polyneuritis, oral ulcer in children, and plane warts.

There are about 100 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Bai Ai Xi Ye, Fu Yang Jiang Nang, and Ming Mu Yang Gan Wan.

Benefits

Anti-inflammation, inhibiting dinitrochlorobenzene-induced allergic contact dermatitis in rats [1], and carrageenan-induced paw swelling in mice [2].
Increasing the pain threshold, reducing the number of writhing responses in mice induced by acetic acid.
Reducing CCL4-induced liver injury in mice and protecting the liver [3].
Momordin Ic can reduce ethanol- or indomethacin-induced gastric mucosal lesions in rats. [4].
Clearing heat and promoting diuresis, treating dysuria and stranguria caused by damp-heat in the urinary bladder.
Dispelling wind and arresting itching, treating rubella, eczema, and pruritus vulvae.
Treating leukorrhea caused by damp-heat.
Inhibiting the angiogenesis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and the proliferation of human prostate cancer cells [5], and inducing the apoptosis of HepG2 cells in liver cancer [6].
Its aqueous extract has a strong inhibitory effect on dermatophytes such as Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum canis, Trichophyton violaceum, and Trichophyton schoenleinii, Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium oxysporum, Monilia cinerea, Physalos porapiricola, Alternaria alternata, and Valsa mali [7].
Studies have found that its n-butanol extract can significantly inhibit gastric emptying in mice and reduce blood sugar levels in mice induced by alloxan [8].

Combinations

It can be used in combination with Mu Tong (Caulis Akebiae), Qu Mai (Dianthi Herba), and Dong Kui Guo (Fructus Malvae) to treat dysuria and stranguria caused by damp-heat in the urinary bladder.
It can be used in combination with Bai Xian Pi (Cortex Dictamni), Chan Tui (Periostracum Cicadae), and Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri) to relieve itchy skin and treat rubella and eczema.
It can be used in combination with Cang Er Zi (Fructus Xanthii), Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong), Hong Hua (Flos Carthami), and Baiying to treat eczema and urticaria.
It can be used in combination with Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis), Long Dan Cao (Radix Gentianae), and Bai Fan (Alumen) to treat dampness-heat in lower jiao and pruritus vulvae.
It can be used in combination with Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri) and Cang Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis) to treat leukorrhea caused by damp-heat.

Side Effects

At present, there is no literature report that Di Fu Zi has toxic effects

Overdose of it may cause vomiting, stomach pain, feeling chilly, fatigue, and loose stools.

Precautions and Warnings

The dosage of Di Fu Zi should be controlled at 9-15g.
It can be made into decoctions, pills, lotions, or liniments.
People who are allergic to Di Fu Zi should not take it.
Patients without damp-heat syndrome should not take it.
Patients with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
Pregnant and lactating women should follow medical advice before taking it.