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Finger citron, buddha's hand fo shou gan

Finger Citron

Citrus medica L. var. sarcodactyls

BUDDHA'S HAND, FO SHOU GAN


The finger citron, fo shou gan (Buddha's hand mandarin) is also called fo shou (Buddha's hand), wu zhi gan (five finger mandarin) and xian yuan (fragrant citron). It is an evergreen small tree or shrub growing to 3-4 meters. The branches have thorns.


The fruit is egg shaped or oval, 100-200mm long and 50-70mm in diameter. The end is creased and folded in such a way that it may be likened to a human hand, which is why the ancients called the fruit Buddha's hand.


The fruit ripens in the autumn when the skin turns yellow and has a granular appearance. The flesh is white. There is no juicy part of the fruit or seed. The fruit has a fragrant smell, but the flavor is acid and bitter. Its nature is warm and it has no poison.


The fruit can clear phlegm, ease coughing, benefit the spleen, relieve the effects of alcohol promote circulation of vital energy and help ease pain. It contains vitamin C, organic acids, carbohydrate citropten, orange peel glucoside, etc.


APPLICATIONS

1. INDIGESTION; SWOLLEN STOMACH; VOMITING AND DIARRHOEA. Take 30 grams of fresh fruit, slice, cover with water, steam and serve. Do this in the morning and again in the evening.

2. STOMACH, COLD FEELING AND PAINFUL. Take 15 grams of dried fruit and 30 grams of rice. Stir fry the rice till golden, then cover both with water, steam till cooked and serve. Do this every day, 3 times.

3. COUGH WITH EXCESSIVE PHLEGM. Take 30 grams of fresh fruit and 15 grams of sugar. Cover with water and steam for half an hour then serve. Do this once daily.

4. HICCUPS THAT WILL NOT STOP; GASTRIC DISORDERS WITH NAUSEA. Take 15-30 grams of fruit skin (use a knife to peel the fruit, collecting also the green coloured part). Add an equal quantity of sugar and slowly chew.

5. INJURIES FROM FALLS. Take 15 grams of pickled fruit, 15 grams of rice wine* and an appropriate amount of water. Steam, and serve while still warm. Do this twice a day. (*Japanese sake can be used. Ed.)

6. MENSTRUATION, WITH STOMACH PAINS OR IRREGULARITY. Take 15-30 grams of fresh fruit, 6 grams of Chinese angelica (Angelicae sinensis) and 30 grams of rice wine*, plus an appropriate amount of water. Steam and serve. Do this both in the morning and in the evening. (*Japanese sake can be used. Ed.)

PREPARATION

Generally speaking, the finger citron should not be eaten fresh. It can be covered with vinegar (pickled), salt (salted) or sugar (candied). Leave for some time and it will be ready for use.

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