Gou Ji (Rhizoma Cibotii)

What Is Gou Ji

Gou Ji commonly known as Rhizoma Cibotii is the rhizome of Cibotium barometz, which is an evergreen fern belonging to the family Dicksoniaceae. 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).

There are about 11 species of Cibotium, which are mainly distributed in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and Central America. Among them, Cibotium glaucum, G. chamissoi, and G. menziesii from Hawaii are common garden plants. Cibotium barometz is known for its medicinal value.

Cibotium barometz is also known as Golden Chicken Fern and Golden Hair Dog Fern. They like warm, moist, shady environments. They grow well in fertile, well-drained acidic soils. They often grow in valleys, forest edges, lowland stream banks, and wet ravines at altitudes of 100-1500 meters. They are distributed in southern China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cambodia.

Cibotium barometz

In autumn and winter, people gather the rhizomes of Cibotium barometz, remove the sediment, dry them, or remove their hard roots, petioles, and golden hairs, cut them into thick slices, dry them, or steam them, and dry them to 60 or 70%, cut them into thick slices, then dry them, scald them with hot sand, make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Gou Ji contains aspidinol, vanillin, syringetin, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, apocynin, protocatechuic acid, protocatechuic aldehyde, onitin, maltol, kojic acid, caffeic acid, resveratrol, kaempferol, formononetin, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, stearic acid, p-hydroxyacetanilide, phosphatidyl choline, pterosin R, pterosin Y, isohistopterosin A, tannins, saponins, polysaccharoses, amino acids, volatile oils, and a variety of trace elements.

Generally, dark brown and firm Gou Ji with a light brown cross-section and a slightly astringent taste is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Gou Ji is relatively warm, with a bitter and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver and kidney meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to expel wind and dampness, reinforce liver benefit kidney, strengthen the waist and knees, and treat rheumatic arthralgia, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, lower extremity weakness, numbness of limbs, hemiplegia, sciatica, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis, knee joint osteoarthritis, spermatorrhea, enuresis, frequent micturition, leukorrhagia, traumatic bleeding, scalds, surgical wound ulcers, chronic leg ulcers, osteoma, and osteosarcoma.

There are about 150 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Shen Yan Ling, Zhuang Yao Jian Shen Wan, and Jin Ji Hu Bu Wan.

Benefits

  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting xylene-induced mouse ear swelling and sterile cotton ball-induced mouse granulation tissue growth.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH free radicals, ABTS free radicals, hydroxyl free radicals, and superoxide anion free radicals [1].
  • Reducing bromobenzene-induced experimental liver injury in mice and protecting the liver [2].
  • Inhibiting thrombin-induced platelet aggregation in rabbits.
  • Expelling wind and dampness, treating lumbago, stiffness of chine, the head cannot be lowered or lifted caused by wind-damp-cold.
  • Reinforcing liver benefiting kidney, strengthening waist and knees, treating soreness and weakness of waist and knees, lower extremity weakness caused by impairment of liver and kidney.
  • Reinforcing kidney, treating enuresis and frequent micturition caused by the syndrome of non-consolidation of kidney qi.
  • Treating leukorrhagia caused by deficiency and cold in the Chong and Ren Meridians.
  • Its extract can inhibit SARS-CoV replication and SARS-CoV 3CL protease activity [3].
  • Its high-dose extract and sand scalded extract have a significant inhibitory effect on pain induced by hot plate and acetic acid experiments in mice.
  • Its alkaline ethanol extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Shigella, and Bacillus cereus.
  • Studies have found that its extract prevented total bone mineral density decrease in the femur induced by ovariectomy in female rats, which was accompanied by a significant decrease in skeletal remodeling, as was evidenced by the decreased levels of the bone turnover markers, such as osteocalcin (OC), alkaline phosphatese (ALP), deoxypyridinoline (DPD), and urinary Ca and P excretions [4]. The treatment could also enhance the bone strength and prevent the deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture.

Combinations

  • It can be used in combination with Du Zhong (Eucommia Bark), Xu Duan (Radix Dipsaci), and Wu Jia Pi (Cortex Acanthopanacis) to treat lumbago, stiffness of chine, the head cannot be lowered or lifted caused by wind-damp-cold.
  • It can be used in combination with Du Zhong (Eucommia Bark), Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae), Shu Di Huang (Processed Rehmannia Root), and Lu Jiao Jiao (Cervi Cornus Colla) to treat soreness and weakness of waist and knees, lower extremity weakness caused by impairment of liver and kidney.
  • It can be used in combination with Bu Gu Zhi (Fructus Psoraleae), Yi Zhi Ren (Sharpleaf Galangal Fruit), and Du Zhong (Eucommia Bark) to treat enuresis and frequent micturition caused by the syndrome of non-consolidation of kidney qi.
  • It can be used in combination with Lu Rong (Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum), Ai Ye (Folium Artemisiae Argyi), and Sang Piao Xiao (Ootheca Mantidis) to treat leukorrhagia caused by deficiency and cold in the Chong and Ren Meridians.
  • It can be used in combination with Xu Duan (Radix Dipsaci), Shu Di Huang (Processed Rehmannia Root), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), E Jiao (Colla Corii Asini), and Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Side Effects

At present, there are no reports in the literature that Gou Ji has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

If you need to take it for a long time, please consult a professional doctor and formulate a reasonable medication plan.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Gou Ji should be controlled at 6-12g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, medicinal liquors, or mashed for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Gou Ji should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time as Bai Jiang Cao (Patrinia).
  • People with heat syndrome due to kidney-deficiency should not take it.
  • People with a deficiency of the liver-yin should not take it.
  • It should not be taken by people who have a bitter mouth, dry tongue, difficult urination, or scanty dark urine.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.
  • The unprocessed Gou Ji is recommended for expelling wind and dampness, and easing joint movement, and the sand scalded Gou Ji is recommended for reinforcing liver benefit kidney, strengthening the waist and knees.