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Wanggua Gen 5:1

Classical Name:
Snake Gourd (Tricosanthes Root)
Trichosanthis Radix
Trichosanthes cucumeroides root
王瓜根
Classification:
Cosmological (wuyun liuqi) Herbs, Herbs from the Microscosmic Cycle of the 72 Seasonal Manifestations
Excipient:
Shanyao (Dioscorea Rhizome) Powder
Growing Location:
Sichuan Province, China
Traditional Preparation:
Unprocessed, naturally slow-dried (processed without alum or sulphuric acid).

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Wanggua and Wanggua Gen, the fruit and root of the snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumeroides), are ancient medicinals that are botanically related to the more commonly known Chinese herbs Gualou and Tianhuafen. While virtually forgotten today, the origins of Wanggua’s use is closely connected to the alchemical and cosmological roots of the Chinese materia medica. Similar to the spagyrical background of the herb Banxia, the snake gourd is one of the designated 72 seasonal markers first outlined in chapter six of the classic Liji (Book of Rites). Specifically, its appearance in nature marks the last 5 days of the Lixia (Beginning of Summer) period in the agricultural calendar of ancient China, a time that is approximately equivalent to May 15-20. During this period, heat pathogens and parasitic influences begin to put stress on the body in the environment of central and Southern China. As stated in one of the holistic tenets of the Neijing, the bounty of nature tends to always provide a perfect antidote to imbalances in the energy dynamics of place or time. Both the fruit and the root of the snake gourd are described in ancient herb primers as cooling, detoxifying, and anti-parasitic. The root was known as a remedy for toxic swellings of all kinds, jaundice, malaria, skin eruptions, and other signs of heat invasion.

At the same time, some texts classify Wanggua Gen as being sweet in flavor and therefore of potential benefit to the Spleen. This quality sets the herb apart from other cooling and detoxifying medicinals, which are typically quite bitter and have the potential to harm Spleen yang. Along the same lines, both parts of the plant are said to enhance the Spleen’s ability to hold the Blood in the vessels and stop symptoms of bleeding, especially in the digestive tract. From a cosmological perspective, these functions are an expression of the location of the Spleen on the ancient organ clock, where the Spleen is not only associated with the time from 9-11 AM, but also the 4th month of the agricultural year (May 6 – June 5). In the “Chapter on Miscellaneous Female Diseases” in Zhang Zhongjing’s 3rd century clinical primer Jingui yaolüe, moreover, Wanggua Gen is mentioned as the primary ingredient in Tugua Gen San, a prescription for menstrual irregularity and leucorrhea. This formula confirms the herb’s alchemical compatibility with the Spleen regulating materials Guizhi and Shaoyao, which are also used in conjunction with Wanggu Gen in the Classical Pearls remedy Cinnamon Pearls.

Wanggua and Wanggua Gen, the fruit and root of the snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumeroides), are ancient medicinals that are botanically related to the more commonly known Chinese herbs Gualou and Tianhuafen. While virtually forgotten today, the origins of Wanggua’s use is closely connected to the alchemical and cosmological roots of the Chinese materia medica. Similar to the spagyrical background of the herb Banxia, the snake gourd is one of the designated 72 seasonal markers first outlined in chapter six of the classic Liji (Book of Rites). Specifically, its appearance in nature marks the last 5 days of the Lixia (Beginning of Summer) period in the agricultural calendar of ancient China, a time that is approximately equivalent to May 15-20. During this period, heat pathogens and parasitic influences begin to put stress on the body in the environment of central and Southern China. As stated in one of the holistic tenets of the Neijing, the bounty of nature tends to always provide a perfect antidote to imbalances in the energy dynamics of place or time. Both the fruit and the root of the snake gourd are described in ancient herb primers as cooling, detoxifying, and anti-parasitic. The root was known as a remedy for toxic swellings of all kinds, jaundice, malaria, skin eruptions, and other signs of heat invasion.

At the same time, some texts classify Wanggua Gen as being sweet in flavor and therefore of potential benefit to the Spleen. This quality sets the herb apart from other cooling and detoxifying medicinals, which are typically quite bitter and have the potential to harm Spleen yang. Along the same lines, both parts of the plant are said to enhance the Spleen’s ability to hold the Blood in the vessels and stop symptoms of bleeding, especially in the digestive tract. From a cosmological perspective, these functions are an expression of the location of the Spleen on the ancient organ clock, where the Spleen is not only associated with the time from 9-11 AM, but also the 4th month of the agricultural year (May 6 – June 5). In the “Chapter on Miscellaneous Female Diseases” in Zhang Zhongjing’s 3rd century clinical primer Jingui yaolüe, moreover, Wanggua Gen is mentioned as the primary ingredient in Tugua Gen San, a prescription for menstrual irregularity and leucorrhea. This formula confirms the herb’s alchemical compatibility with the Spleen regulating materials Guizhi and Shaoyao, which are also used in conjunction with Wanggu Gen in the Classical Pearls remedy Cinnamon Pearls.

Classical Pearls is proud to be an active participant in the revival of the alchemical tradition and the cosmological roots of Chinese herbalism. In this context, it is one of our goals to make forgotten medicinals such as Wanggua Gen available in the West. The source material for our Wanggua Gen is harvested from snake gourd plants that are grown in near-wild conditions in the remote mountains of Sichuan province.
Unprocessed, naturally slow-dried (processed without alum or sulphuric acid)