1.1 What is a citron?
The citron (botanical name: Citrus medica, Chinese Pinyin: Ju Yuan, Simplified Chinese: 枸橼), is a species of slow-growing small tree or shrub in genus Citrus in the rue family, Rutaceae. The flowers are white-yellowish or purplish. The big fruits of citron are inedible or edible depending on different varieties, they are ovate or oblong in shape with yellow skin. The plant can grow up to 5 m tall. Native to Southeast Asia and now cultivated elsewhere, the citron is one of the four original citrus fruits (the others being pomelo, mandarin and papeda). Habitats of citron include broad-leaved forest, mountainous regions, hillside and valley (usually from between 350 to 1,750 meters in elevation). Characteristics of citron include ability to withstand cultivation at high altitudes, adaptation to barren lands.
Other simplified Chinese names for citron include: 香橼, 佛手柑, 香水柠檬, 枸橼子, 陈香圆, 香圆片, 香圆皮, 钩缘干, 香泡树, 柑枸橼, 香圆.
1.2 How does citron taste?
Citron fruits are fragrant with firmed texture and a flavor that is acidic or sweet, and vibrant.
1.3 How is citron used in traditional Chinese medicine?
The dried fruit of citron is considered to have pungent, sour and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the lung, liver and spleen meridians. It is used as expectorant, digestion aid, antiphlogistic and secretory in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as headache and chest pain.
1.4 What is a citron peel?
Different from lemons or oranges which are peeled to consume their pulpy and juicy segments, the citron’s pulp is dry, containing a small quantity of insipid juice (some types of citron are even pulpless). The main content of a citron fruit is the thick white rind, which adheres to the segments and cannot be peeled off easily like oranges.
2. Uses, Health Benefits of Citron & Medical Formulas
2.1 Kidney Stone
Citric acid is an organic agent occurring naturally in the citric acid fruits like oranges, grape fruit and lemons, it is abundantly found in citron fruits. Citric acid, being able to integrate with calcium is good to kidney stone sufferers. Most kidney stones arise from accumulation of excess calcium in the kidneys and citric acid’s capability to bind itself to calcium and expel it from the body is a great deterrent to the agony and unbearable suffering undertaken by several people due to kidney stones.
2.2 Revitalizing The Skin
Citric acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which exfoliates the skin and as a result of which it removes dead skin cells in the pores of skin. It also helps in the regeneration of skin tissue, slowing down the aging process. Creams rich in citric acid can have a depigmenting effect and can lighten freckles. Therefore, citric acid is a common ingredient in face packs and skin products.
2.3 Blood Vessel Health
Like many other citrus fruits, citron fruits also contain hesperidin which is a bioflavonoid glycoside. Hesperidin alone, or in combination with other citrus bioflavonoids (diosmin, for example), is most often used for blood vessel conditions such as hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and poor circulation (venous stasis). Therefore, citron is good for our blood vessel health.
2.4 Cardiovascular Health
Citron fruits contain high level of vitamin C. Studies prove that vitamin C affects several aspects of cardiac health, ranging from blood pressure to endothelial health. A 2007 study from nutritionists at the University of Arizona proved a vital relationship between vitamin C levels and obesity-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease (lifeextension.com 2008).
2.5 Abdominal Bloating
[CTM Formula] A decoction of citron fruits is taken orally to relieve abdominal bloating or fullness.
2.6 Nausea And Vomiting
[CTM Formula] A decoction of citron fruits, costus root, amomum kravanh fruits and Agastache rugosa leaves is taken orally to treat nausea and vomiting.
[CTM Formula] A decoction of citron fruits, fresh ginger, pinellia ternata root and Smilax glabra root is taken orally to relieve cough and reduce sputum.
3. Contraindication, Side-effects & Cautions
Administration with caution for pregnant women and people experiencing deficiency of yin.
The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.
The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.
Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.
List of reference
lifeextension.com 2008 Newly Discovered Health Benefits of Vitamin C [online] link: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/4/newly-discovered-benefits-of-vitamin-c/Page-01