Chinese plum (scientific name: Prunus mume, also known as Japanese apricot, Chinese Pinyin: Mei, Simplified Chinese:梅树, 梅花), is an Asian deciduous, flowering, fruit bearing tree species with white, pink, and red flower, yellow to red drupes. The plant is classified in genus Prunus in the rose family, Rosaceae. Habitats of Chinese plum include valley, hillside, fields, stream banks and village margins (usually from between 0 to 3,100 meters in elevation), the plant is originated in the south of mainland China and can grow up to 10 m tall. Characteristics of Chinese plum include ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 3,000 meters above sea level, tolerance for cold and drought. Flavor of Chinese plum fruits is generally described as sour and sweet. The flower and fruit of Chinese plum are used as expectorant, detoxicant, antitussive and anti-diabetic drugs in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as gastritis and lung dysfunction with coughing.
2. Odour, Properties And Channels
Green plum (unripe) of Chinese plum is considered to have sour, neutral and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the liver, spleen, lung and large intestine meridians.
Fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) is considered to have sour, warm, neutral, astringent and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the liver, spleen, lung and large intestine meridians.
Salted dried plum is considered to have sour, brackish, neutral and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the liver, spleen, lung and large intestine meridians.
3. Uses, Health Benefits of Chinese Plum & Medical Formulas
3.1 Cold, Flu, Fever And Coughing
Pork lung cooked with Trichosanthes kirilowii fruits, fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) and almond is taken to treat lung dysfunction with coughing.
Opium poppy capsule and fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) are powdered and taken orally to relieve chronic cough and sweating.
3.2 Skin Health
Ointment made with realgar, alum, fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) and croton can be used to heal sores getting from horsing (马汗疮).
A decocation of polygonatum odoratum, pig spine, pig’s bile, urine of boys under ten, radix bupleuri, rhizomes of picrorhizae, fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) and onion is taken orally to treat tuberculosis (an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it generally affects the lungs).
3.4 The Excretory System
Powdered artemisia anomala, fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) and fresh ginger are taken orally to treat dysentery (diarrhea with viscid red or white grains).
A decoction of root of ophiopogon japonicus and fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) is taken to treat diarrhea.
Medicated wine with Dichroa febrifuga seedling (also known as Shu Qi, Chinese: 蜀漆), gypsum (calcined), fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) and licorice root is taken to treat malaria in pregnant women.
3.6 The Digestive System
Recent studies have also shown that Prunus mume extract may inhibit Helicobacter pylori, associated with gastritis and gastric ulcers.
A decoction of Smilax China root and fructus mume (smoked unripe fruit of Prunus mume) can be used in treating diabetes.
List of reference
Miyazawa, M; Utsunomiya, H; Inada, K; Yamada, T; Okuno, Y; Tanaka, H; Tatematsu, M (January 2006). “Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori motility by (+)-Syringaresinol from unripe Japanese apricot.”. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 29 (1): 172–3. PMID 16394533. doi:10.1248/bpb.29.172
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.