English Name: melon pedicule
Pharmaceutical Name: Pedicellus Cucumeris
Medica Category: Emetic Herbs
Properties: Gua Di is bitter in nature and cold in temperature. Its purpose is to induce vomiting and is thus according to TCM is considered toxic.
The Chinese Herb Gua Di is the dried pedicel (stalk or stem) of Cucumis melo L. (e.g. honeydew, casaba melons, and cantaloupe).
Gua Di induces vomiting and is used clinically in instances of hot phlegm accumulation above the diaphragm where inducing vomiting is the preferred treatment. Characteristic symptoms of this condition may include seizures, mania, throat bi (i.e. sore throat), wheezing, irritability and/or insomnia. Gua Di is also used clinically to induce vomiting in cases of food stagnation as well.
Gua Di can be made into a powder and blown into the nostrils to treat headache and jaundice caused by damp-heat; yellow drainage from the nostrils indicates successful elimination of damp-heat from the body (at which point use of the herb should be discontinued).
In general, emetic herbs are extremely toxic, irritating, and potent and must be used only when necessary, according to appropriate guidelines, and with extreme caution. We recommend using them only under the supervision of a trained TCM professional.
Gua Di itself is contraindicated in cases of deficiency, bleeding, or in persons who do not have an excess condition.
Overdose of Gua Di usually occurs within 30 minutes of ingestion and consists of a variety of symptoms, to include sensations of pain in the stomach and abdomen, continuous vomiting and nausea, vomiting food and bile, severe diarrhea, restlessness, anxiety, thirst, and hypotension (not an exhaustive list). TCM treatment for overdose of Gua Di is 5ml. of the juice of fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) or a decoction of 10g of Ban Xia (pinellia rhizome) and 6g. of Gan Cao (licorice root).