Herbal Glossary : Radix Morindae Officinalis

Original plant of Radix Morindae Officinalis Dried roots Name Latin Name: Radix Morindae Officinalis
Common Name: Morinda Root / Medicinal Indian mulberry Root
Scientific Name: Morinda officinalis
Chinese Name: 巴戟天
Pinyin Name: Ba ji tian Origin The dried root of Morinda officinalis How; family Rubiaceae. Where Does It Grow? It is mainly distributed in Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian provinces of China. Nature and Taste It is sweet and pungent in taste and slightly warm in nature. It enters kidney and liver meridians. Identified Active Components/ Major Chemical Constituents Identified active ingredients include: Rubiadin, rubiadin-1-methyl-ether, methyl-ether from Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, monotropein, tetraacetylasperuloside, β-sitosterol, palmitic acid, nonadecalkane and dimethyl-alkane. Radix Morindae Officinalis also contains monosaccharides, polysaccharides, resin, vitamin C, 11 free amino acids and 17 amino acid hydrolysates.

The cortex of Radix Morindae Officinalis (pic.a) contains reducing sugars and glycosides, cardiac glycosides, flavones, triterpenoid steroids, amino acids, organic acids, micro-anthraquinone and metal elements. More abundant microelements include potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). The lead content in the cortex is lower than in the root core (pic.b). Other elements like iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn) and 16 others are higher in the cortex than in the root core.
Historical Use

Radix Morinda officinalis enters the blood aspect of the kidney meridian, strengthens reproductive functions (which is termed as "strengthening yin" in the text) and benefits essence (jing). It can treat various kinds of impairments caused by overstrain and "disperse" wind and dampness evils attacking the body; because, pungent tastes are good for dispersing functions. It can also treat edema (swelling) in the feet caused by an attack of wind evils and/or dampness evils. What is It Used for in TCM? Radix Morinda officinalis invigorates kidney yang, strengthens tendons and bones and removes wind and dampness evils.

1. It is used in the treatment of kidney yang deficiency type erectile dysfunction, infertility, menstruation disorders, and cold-type pain in the lower abdomen. 2. It can be used in the treatment of liver and kidney deficiency type weaknesses, the wasting of tendons and bones and for soreness and pain in the lower back and knees. 3. It is also used in the treatment of diseases caused by an attack of wind and dampness evils resulting in the obstruction of qi (vital energy) and blood flow in the meridians. Typically, this manifests as arthritic problems such as stiff feet and walking difficulty. The pungent taste and warm nature of Radix Morinda officinalis removes the attack of wind and dampness evils and helps relieve arthritic symptoms by invigorating yang and supplementing essence (jing). Pharmacological Actions
1. Effects on Reproductive Organs Animal studies A 30g/kg/day dose of Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction was administered to castrated mice once a day for 15 days. Results showed that the weights of levator ani muscles, seminal vesicle and prostate were not significantly effected.

Female rats, administered with 20g/kg Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction twice a day by gavage for five days, showed increments in weights of the ovaries, uterus and pituitary glands. Blood luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were unchanged. However, the binding affinity of HCG/LH receptors and the number of HCG/LH receptors were both increased. Consequently, the value for dissociation constant (Kd) increased when compared to the control group. When rats were injected with LRH, LH secretion was enhanced. After 90 minutes, plasma LH level raised to 51.20ng/ml. 2. Effects on Stress Response Animal studies When 20g/kg Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction was given once per day to mice by gavage, for 11 consecutive days, it was shown that the body weights of the mice were increased, and that they could swim for a longer duration of time.

When 5, 10 and 50g/kg/day of Radix Morindae Officinalis infusion was given for eight consecutive days, it did not have the ability to prolong the lifespan of rats whose adrenal glands had been previously removed. 3. Effects on Thymus Glands Animal studies When immature mice were orally administered with 64 and 80g/kg of Radix Morindae Officinalis warm water extracts, or 60g/kg of an ethanol extract, or injected i.p. with 10g/kg of a warm water extract once a day for four consecutive days, it was noticed that their mammary glands became atrophic. However, when mature mice were administered 20g/kg Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction by gavage once a day for 11 days, the thymus gland weight and white blood cell count increased. Radix Morindae Officinalis was also able to restore depressed white cell counts in gamma-radiated mice. 4. Toxicity Acute toxicity: Mice were fed with 50g/kg Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction four times a day. The accumulated dose was 250g/kg. Mice were then observed for three days. No animal death was observed.

Genotoxicity: Using the SOS chromotest, it was shown that Radix Morindae Officinalis decoction had no mutagenic or genotoxic effects on Escherichia Coli PQ37 DNA .
Administration and Dosage A decoction is typically made with 10-15g of Radix Morindae Officinalis and three to four cups of boiling water until the volume is reduced by half. A decoction is usually taken orally and split into two doses but this dose may taken all at once or escalated depending on the person's condition and recommendation by the Chinese medicine practitioner. Adverse Effect, Side Effects and Cautions Individuals experiencing yin deficiency and excessive prime minister-fire should not take Radix Morinda officinalis.