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Persimmon (shi di)

What is persimmon? What is it used for?

Persimmon is a type of tree that usually grows in the tropics. It is made of especially hard wood and yields an orange-reddish fruit that can be eaten only when the fruit is completely ripe.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the calyx, or protective outer covering, of the fruit is used in herbal remedies. The calyces are gathered in August or September and allowed to dry in the sun before use.

In traditional Chinese medicine, persimmon calyx is associated with the Lung and Stomach meridians, and has bitter and neutral properties. Its chief functions are to stop hiccups and belching, and to move stomach qi downward. Persimmon calyx is often taken with cloves and fresh ginger or bamboo shavings. Some practitioners may also use fresh persimmon juice to lower blood pressure.

How much persimmon should I take?

The typical dosage of persimmon is between 6 and 12 grams, which is typically taken as part of a decoction. Some herbalists and practitioners may recommend a smaller dose (4.5-9 grams).

What forms of persimmon calyx are available?

Whole, dried pieces of persimmon calyx can be found at some herbal shops and Asian markets. Persimmon calyx is also available as a powder or decoction.

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

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with persimmon calyx, nor are there any adverse effects associated with taking large amounts of persimmon calyx. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking persimmon calyx or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Blake S. Medicinal plant names - sample excerpt. Available online.
  • Cohen I, Tagliaferri M, Tripathy D. Traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of cancer, part three. Available at CancerLynx.
  • Gu JQ, Graf TN, Lee D, et al. Cytotoxic and antimicrobial constituents of the bark of diospyros maritima collected in two geographical locations in Indonesia. J Nat Prod July 2004;67(7):1156-61.
  • Kawase M, Motohashi N, Satoh K, et al. Biological activity of persimmon (Diospyros kaki) peel extracts. Phytother Res May 2003;17(5):495-500.
  • Nakano R, Ogura E, Kubo Y, et al. Ethylene biosynthesis in detached young persimmon fruit is initiated in calyx and modulated by water loss from the fruit. Plant Physiol January 2003;131(1):276-86.

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