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Apricot, xing

Apricot

Prunus armeniaca, XING

 

The apricot, zing, is also called xing guo (apricot fruit). It is a deciduous tree growing to a height of 4-10 meters. The fruit is round or egg-shaped with a diameter of 30-40mm. It ripens in the autumn. The ripe fruit is yellow, with a red blush, and covered with fine hairs.

The flesh is sweet and there is a stone in the centre. In the centre of the stone is a kernel, of which there are two sorts, a sweet one and bitter one. The fruit with a sweet kernel is called sweet apricot, and the fruit with a bitter kernel is called bitter apricot.

The fruit flavor is sweet-acid, its nature neither hot nor cold. It can moisten the lungs, relieve asthma, promote secretion of saliva and quench thirst.

The bitter apricot kernel has a bitter, pungent flavor. Its nature is warm and it contains poison. It can ease a cough, sooth asthma and moisten the intestines.

The sweet apricot kernel has a bitter-sweet flavor. Its nature is warm. It can moisten the intestines, ease coughing, and invigorate vital energy.

The fruit flesh contains carbohydrate, protein, vitamins B1, B2, C, carotene, nicotinic acid, calcium, phosphorous, iron, citric acid, malic acid, volatile oils, etc.

The bitter apricot kernel contains amygdalin, fatty oil, enzyme, oil, protein, amino acids, etc.


APPLICATIONS
1. DRY THROAT, WITH THIRST. Take 2-3 pieces of dry or fresh fruit and eat, both in the morning and in the evening.

2. DYSENTERY, BACILLARY; ENTERITIS; HOT FLUSHES; TUBERCULOSIS FEVER; HECTIC FEVER; COUGH. Take half or one (Chinese) soup spoon of green apricot tonic twice a day.

 

3. WEAKNESS; INTOLERANCE TO COLD; LACK OF STRENGTH WITH CHRONIC COUGH. Take 5-10 sweet apricot kernels, discard the skins and chew. Do this daily before breakfast until the effect can be seen.

4. CONSTIPATION ASSOCIATED WITH OLD AGE OR AFTER GIVING BIRTH. Take 15 grams of sweet apricot kernel and discard the skin, 30 grams of rice and 30 grams of sugar, plus a little water. Grind together into a smooth liquid then steam till cooked. Eat this in the morning and again in the evening.

5. COUGH ASSOCIATED WITH A DRY FEELING IN THE LUNGS. Take 6 grams of bitter apricot kernel and grind into a powder. Take also one or two peeled and cored pears. Place the kernels inside the pears and steam in a sealed container for half an hour, then eat. Alternatively take 3 dried apricots, including the stones, and crush them. Steam in water and serve both in the morning and again in the evening.

6. COUGH ASSOCIATED WITH A COLD FEELING IN THE LUNGS; LACK OF PHLEGM; PHLEGM THIN AND FROTHY. Take 9 grams of bitter apricot kernel, 6 grams of fresh ginger and 2 candied Chinese dates. Steam in water and serve twice daily, in the morning and again in the evening.


PREPARATIONS
l. DRIED APRICOT. Take not fully ripe fruit, sprinkle with salt and dry them in the sun. No further preparation is needed.

 

2. BITTER AND SWEET APRICOT KERNELS. Collect the fruit stones, break them open and obtain the kernels. Classify them as being either bitter or sweet and dry them in the sun. The sweet kernels contain no poison so they can be eaten without first boiling. They are usually classified as either sweet or bitter by simply tasting with the tip of the tongue.

3. GREEN APRICOT TONIC. Take partly ripe fresh fruit, wash in water and discard the stones. Peel the fruit, mash and squeeze to a pulp. Simmer this (the Chinese use a pottery cooking vessel) until it reduces to a thick paste.

WARNING
1. Large quantities of fresh apricots should not be eaten as they can affect the spleen and stomach. Do not eat the kernels if suffering from a cough associated with a deficiency of yin, or if suffering from diarrhoea or half-congealed stools.

2. Bitter apricot kernels contain a poison, hydrocyanic acid, and should be boiled before being eaten. Sweet kernels contain no poison, so they can be eaten without boiling. Taste the kernel with the tip of the tongue.

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