Amazing Health Benefits of Fox Nut – Ben Cao Medical Book

1. Description

1.1 What is a fox nut?

Fox nut (botanical name: Euryale ferox, also known as foxnut, gorgon nut, makhana; Chinese Pinyin: Qian Shi, Simplified Chinese: 芡实), is a species of large, annual, aquatic, flowering, fruit-bearing, herbaceous plant in genus Euryale in the water lilies family, Nymphaeaceae. The term fox nut can refer to the plant as well as the seeds of the plant. The flowers are purple, white or red. The leaves are large and round or oval, usually more than 1 meter in diameter, with a leaf stalk attached in the center of the lower surface. The edible seed is white, round, small in size. Native to eastern Asia and extensively cultivated in China, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia and India, habitats of fox nut include pounds, swamp, shallow water, wetlands and lakes.

Other names for the fox nut include: foxnut, gorgon nut and makhana.

Other simplified Chinese names for fox nut include: 鸡头, 雁喙, 雁头, 鸿头, 鸡雍, 卯菱, 蒍子, 水流黄.

This is what fox nut look like. (Image source:

1.2 How is fox nut used in traditional Chinese medicine?

The dried seed of fox nut is considered to be sweet, neutral, astringent and nontoxic in nature and to be associated with the spleen and kidney meridians. It is used as kidney tonic, anti-diarrheal (stop or slow diarrhea), dampness-dispelling drug in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as impotence and easy nocturnal emission.

2. Uses, Health Benefits of Fox Nut & Medical Formulas

2.1 Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the top diagnosed cancer in women and the incidence of breast cancer is still growing with about 1.7 million newly diagnosed cases worldwide each year ( 2016). The seeds of fox nut are packed with dietary fiber that increases frequency of bowel movements, which in turn helps reduce breast cancer risk by increasing estrogen excretion. Circulating estrogen levels are a well established risk factor for breast cancer.

2.2 Gonorrhea

[CTM Formula] Pills made with fox nut powder, white poria powder and honey are taken orally to treat gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease that can infect both men and women).

2.3 Improve Kidney Function, Promote Vitality And Sexual Energy

[CTM Formula] Pills made with fossil fragments, raspberry, lotus stamen, Calystegia sepium flower, fox nut and Rosa laevigata fruit is taken orally with warm wine to improve kidney function, treat easy nocturnal emission and promote vitality and sexual energy.

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 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.

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