Chinese Name : 桃仁
Latin Name : Semen Persicae
This herb is the dried kernel of Prunus Persica (L.) Batsch or P. davidiana (Carr.) Franch. of the family Rosaceae. It is grown in all parts of China. The fruit is picked when ripe, and the seed is removed and dried for use unprocessed.
The kernel of the seed was traditionally used for coughs, blood diseases, rheumatism, amenorrhea, ague, post-partum hemorrhage, and worms. It can be substituted for the kernel of the apricot seed. The peach kernel is a very strong medicinal herb and is currently used to promote blood circulation, eliminate blood stagnation to treat menstrual pain, moisten the bowels, and relieve chronic constipation in the elderly.
Use of Peach Kernel in TCM
Bitter in taste and neutral. It acts on the heart, liver, lung, and large intestine meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Promotes blood circulation and dissipates blood stasis: for amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea due to blood stasis, or postpartum abdominal pain caused by mass formation, peach kernel is used with carthamus (hong hua), Chinese angelica root (dang gui), cnidium rhizome, and red peony root (chi shao), as in Tao Hong Si Wu Tang (R-16).
- Moistens the bowels and relieves constipation: peach kernel is prescribed with hemp seed (ma ren) and trichosanthes seed (gua lou ren) to treat constipation caused by dry intestines.
- Eliminates abscess: peach kernel can be combined with rhubarb, moutan, waxgourd seed, and mirabilite to treat the early stages of intestinal abscess.
- Treats vasculitis: for vasculitis due to thromboembolism, peach kernel mixed with safflower, Chinese angelica, salvia, achyranthes, astragalus, dandelion, scrophularia, and licorice root in a decoction provides satisfactory results.
In a decoction of 6 to 10 g.
Care should be taken to avoid an overdose. Peach kernel should not be used by women with profuse menstruation or who are pregnant. Chemical hydrolysis revealed that peach kernel contains hydrocyanic acid (HCN), which is a nerve poison. Large doses can cause breathing paralysis and death. The lethal dose of HCN for a human is about 0.05 g.
Side Effects and Toxicity
Peach kernel is a potent agent that promotes blood circulation and removes blood stasis. A small amount at the therapeutic dose is safe. Do not overdose.
Peach kernel seeds contain 3.6 percent of amygdalin, multiflorines A and B, compesterol, and sitosterols. Other ingredients include 0.4 percent of volatile oil, 45 percent of fatty oil, proteins, emulsin, oleic acid, glyceric acid, linoleic acid, vitamin B1, and allantoinase.
- In rats, it is an anticoagulant, activates blood flow, and lowers blood pressure.
- Antiallergenic: peach kernel inhibited allergenic antibody formation. It is used for urticaria and dermatitis.
- Protects the liver.
- Antitussive and antiasthmatic. Slight amounts of hydrocyanic acid are antitussive and antiasthmatic.
- Mild laxative.