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Herbs & Botanicals

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Chaenomeles Fruit (mu gua)

What is chaenomeles fruit? What is it used for?

Native to east Asia, the chaenomeles fruit comes from a tree, chaenomeles sinensis (Touin) Koehne, which grows predominantly in China and reaches a height of approximately 20 feet.

There are two kinds of chaenomeles fruit used in herbal preparations - one with smooth skin, one with wrinkled skin. The fruit is harvested in the summer and autumn, while it is greenish-yellow. After harvesting, the fruit is cut into segments, boiled (or soaked in hot water), then dried in the sun and cut into slices.

In traditional Chinese medicine, chaenomeles fruit has sour and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver and Spleen meridians. Its main functions are to activate the flow of qi and blood, and to regulate the stomach. Chaenomeles fruit contains a variety of chemicals, including saponins, flavonoids, malic acid and citric acid. Among the conditions it is used to treat are vomiting, diarrhea and indigestion. It also treats rheumatism and arthralgia, along with generalized swelling and pain.

How much chaenomeles fruit should I take?

The typical dose of chaenomeles fruit is between 6 and 12 grams, decocted in water and drunk as a tea. Chaenomeles fruit is often incorporated with other herbs into larger formulas.

What forms of chaenomeles fruit are available?

Dried, sliced chaenomeles fruit can be found at many herbal shops and specialty stores. Some stores also sell powdered chaenomeles fruit, either as a capsule or tablet.

What can happen if I take too much chaenomeles fruit? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

The American Herbal Products Association has given chaenomeles fruit a class 1 rating, meaning that it can be safely used when consumed appropriately. However, because chaenomeles fruit helps with digestion, it should be avoided by people who already produce excessive amounts of gastric acid. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with chaenomeles fruit. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking chaenomeles fruit or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Hamauzu Y, Yasui H, Inno T, et al. Phenolic profile, antioxidant property, and anti-influenza viral activity of Chinese quince (pseudocydonia sinensis Schneid.), quince (cydonia oblonga Mill.), and apple (malus domestica Mill.) fruits. J Agric Food Chem February 23, 2005;53(4):928-34.
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. (eds.) American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, p. 27.
  • Rivera D, Obon C, Inocencio C, et al. The ethnobotanical study of local Mediterranean food plants as medicinal resources in southern Spain. J Physiol Pharmacol March 2005;56 Suppl 1:97-114.
  • Silva BM, Andrade PB, Ferreres F, et al. Composition of quince (cydonia oblonga Miller) seeds: phenolics, organic acids and free amino acids. Nat Prod Res April 2005;19(3):275-81.
  • Silva BM, Andrade PB, Martins RC, et al. Quince (cydonia oblonga Miller) fruit characterization using principal component analysis. J Agric Food Chem January 12, 2005;53(1):111-22.

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