Gorgon Fruit Health Benefits and Traditional Lore
The Qianshi Water Lily, commonly known as gorgon fruit, is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. The kernel of this plant is often referred to as "chicken head kernel" due to its peculiar shape, and it holds a variety of health benefits. In this article, we will explore the properties of the chicken head kernel, its indications, and the traditional lore surrounding its use.
Properties of Chicken Head Kernel
Scientifically known as Euryale ferox Salisb, the chicken head kernel belongs to the Nymphaceae family. The pharmaceutical name for this plant is Semen Euryales, and it is primarily used for its kernels. The recommended dosage ranges from 6 to 10 grams, and its flavor is sweet with a neutral energy. It is classified as an herb to constrict and obstruct movements, and it is associated with the spleen and kidney meridians.
Actions and Indications
The chicken head kernel is known for its ability to strengthen the spleen, benefit the kidneys, solidify semen, and relieve diarrhea. It is indicated for conditions such as diarrhea caused by spleen deficiency, seminal emission, and vaginal discharge. However, it is important to note that chicken head kernel is obstructive in nature and should be avoided by those who suffer from constipation.
A remarkable story from the Wen Feng Commune tells of a 60-year-old woman who suffered from a severe illness and was overweight. Her family had begun preparing her funeral, as nothing seemed to help her condition. An old Chinese doctor recommended she take a powder made from grinding 450 grams of sweet apricot and 450 grams of water lily. After consuming the powder, the woman recovered from her illness and remained healthy thereafter.
The use of apricot kernels in traditional Chinese medicine is also noteworthy. There are two types of apricot kernels: bitter apricot kernel (kuxingren) and sweet apricot kernel (tianxingren). Bitter apricot kernels are effective for expelling sputum, suppressing cough, and lubricating the intestines, while sweet apricot kernels are better for lubricating the lungs, suppressing cough, and easing a dry cough caused by yin deficiency of the lungs.
Sun Shu Mao (581-682), in his renowned classic One Thousand Ounces Gold Classic, shared a formula for longevity called "sweet apricot mixture." This mixture involves frying 5 kilograms of sweet apricot kernel, grinding it into a powder, immersing it in rice wine, straining the liquid, and mixing it with honey. The mixture is then boiled until it reaches a jelly-like consistency. A dosage of 20 to 35 grams of this liquid can help in recovering from illness and achieving longevity.
The Qianshi Water Lily, or chicken head kernel, has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Its various health benefits and its role in treating conditions like diarrhea, seminal emission, and vaginal discharge demonstrate its potential as a natural remedy. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating chicken head kernel into one's health regimen.