Xing Ren is the mature seed of Prunus armeniaca L. var. ansu Maxim, P. armeniaca L., P. mandshurica (Maxim.) Koehne or P. sibirica L., family Rosaceae.
Xing Ren contains 50% of fatty oils (including oleic, linoleic. palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids), as well as amygdalin, amygdalase and prunase. Hydrolysing amygdalin generates benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid, which is toxic
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁 , also known as xing ren 杏仁，ku xing ren 苦杏仁，kuang xing ren 光杏仁，ku he ren 杏核仁，炒杏仁，jian xing ren 尖杏仁，xing ren xiang 杏仁霜. It belong to the “Rosaceae” family.
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁 has a warm, bitter and slightly toxic. It is use for treating the lung and large intestine.
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Armeniacae.Botanical Name: 1. Prunus armeniaca L. var. ansu maxim.; 2. Prunus mandshurica(Maxim.) Koehne; 3. Prunus sibirica L.
Common Name: Apricot seed, Bitter apricot seed or kernel.Source of Earliest Record: Shennong Bencao Jing.Part Used & Method for Pharmaceutical
Preparations: The seeds are collected after the apricot ripens in summer. They are then dried in the sun and pounded into pieces.Properties & Taste: Bitter, slightly warm and slightly toxic.Meridians: Lung and large intestine.
Functions: 1. To stop cough and relieve asthma; 2. To moisten the intestines and move stool.Indications & Combinations:1. Cough and asthma: a) cough due to invasion by exogenous pathogenic wind and heat Apricot seed (Xingren) is used with Mulberry leaf (Sangye) and Chrysanthemum flower (Juhua) in the formula Sang Ju Yin; b) cough due to dysfunction of the lungs caused by dryness and heatApricot seed (Xingren) is used with Mulberry leaf (Sangye), Tendrilled fritillary bulb (Chuanbeimu) and Glehnia root (Shashen) in the formula Sang Xing Tang; c) cough and asthma due to accumulated heat in the lungsApricot seed (Xingren) is used with Gypsum (Shigao) and Ephedra (Mahuang) in the formula Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang.2. Constipation due to dryness in the intestines: Apricot seed (Xingren) is used with Hemp seed (Huomaren) and Chinese angelica root (Danggui) in the formula Runchang Wan.Dosage: 3-10 g.Cautions & Contraindications: This herb is slightly toxic, so overdosing should be avoided. It should be used with caution in infants.
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁
1. Arresting coughing and asthma.
2. Expelling phlegm.
3. Help bowel movements.
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁 Toxicity & Cautions:
Bitter Apricot Seed ( Xingren ) 杏仁 contain hydrogen cyanide which is a strong toxin. Eating 20 to 30 piece may cause toxic reaction even death. The toxin can be hydrolyzed in cooking and can render it non toxic. It is not recommended for small children.
Taste: bitter; nature: slightly warm; slightly toxic.
Lung and Large Intestine.
Functions and indications
Stops coughing and calms wheezing, moistens the Intestines and frees the bowels. It is indicated for coughing and wheezing, sore throat andconstipation.
3-10g, decocted for a short time only.
Precautions and contraindications
- As Xing Ren is slightly toxic, large dosages should be avoided, especially when treating infants.
- Contraindicated in cases of weak constitution and profuse sweating.
Ku Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae Amarum), or bitter apricot kernel, is normally used for this herb.
In China, people who can afford to buy apricot as a fresh fruit generally throw the stones away. Servants and the less fortunate children gatherthe stones and sell them to collectors who use cheap labor to crack the shells (endocarp) and free the seeds (kernel) with the brown seed coat tightly covering the embryo (two cotyledons with the small radical and plumule).
In Chinese prescriptions, an apricot seed with the brown seed coat intact is called bei-xing-ren (northern apricot seed). All Chinese apothecaries keep a supply of apricot seeds in this state.
Detoxificated apricot seed: The major portion of the annual production of apricot seed is detoxified, processed by being first subjected to boiling water to loosen the seed coat, which can then be rubbed off by hand, followed by soaking the white cotyledons in cold water with several changes to eliminate the bitter element and to detoxify them. Then the detoxified white cotyledons are dried for the market. In Chinese prescriptions, this decoated and detoxified material is called nan-xing-ren (southern apricot seed) or tian-xing-ren (sweet apricot seed), which is also available in apothecaries. However, a greater portion of the detoxified material is used in pastry and for food.
The LD for intravenous injection of amygdalin in mice or rats is 25g/kg; for intraperitoneal injection, it is 8g/kg; and for oraladministration, it is O.6g/kg. Oral administration of 55 pieces (the equivalem of about 60g) of Ku Xing Ren, containing 1.8g of amygdalin, can cause death in humans. The main symptoms oftoxic reaction include a bitter taste in the mouth, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, diarrhoea, agitation, vexation and restlessness, palpitations, and weakness of the limbs, and in severe cases, oppression in the chest, difficulty in breathing, loss of consciousness, a reduction in blood pressure and even coma. Ku Xing Ren should therefore not be used raw and overdosage must be avoided.
- Inhibits the respiratory centre to stop coughing and calmwheezing.
- Affects digestion by inhibiting the activity of pepsins.
- Reduces the level of blood fats.
- Inhibits inflammation and alleviates pain.
- Inhibits carcinoma