Peach Kernel (Tao Ren)
What is Peach Kernel (Tao Ren)?
Peach Kernel (tao ren, 桃仁), also known as Semen Persicae, refers to the dry, ripe seed of the deciduous tree Prunus persica (L.) Batsch or P. davidiana (Carr. ) Franch. of family Rosaceae. The ripe fruits of this tree are picked from July to September. After its flesh is removed, its seeds’ casings are then broken to obtain the seeds. After being dried in the sun, the seeds are then peeled for medicinal usage.
Not only does Peach Kernel have an appearance that resembles an almond, but it also tastes like almond. Edible and consumed since ancient times, Peach Kernel is rich in nutritional value too.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Peach Kernel falls under the category of ‘Herbs that invigorate the blood’. Such herbs are used to help the circulation of blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. These herbs are also used to treat tumours, cysts and hardened clots caused by Blood Stagnation.
Neutral in nature, Peach Kernel does not affect the yin-yang balance in your body. Bitter and sweet in taste, Peach Kernel can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Peach Kernel can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and replenish qi and blood. In particular, Peach Kernel targets the Heart, the large intestines and the Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Peach Kernel (Tao Ren)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Peach Kernel has the following health benefits.
Peach Kernel can enter Heart and Liver meridians to activate blood and resolve blood stasis. This herb is indicated for many kinds of syndromes of blood stasis through different combinations with other herbs. For example, Peach Kernel can relieve menstrual pain, numbness in hands, endometriosis, and chronic pelvic inflammatory disease caused by Qi and Blood Stagnation.
Peach Kernel can be combined with other blood-activating, blood-nourishing and menstruation-regulating herbs to treat amenorrhea caused by Blood Stasis and dysmenorrhea. As for postpartum abdominal stagnant pain, Peach Kernel can be combined with stasis-dispelling and meridian-warming analgesics to enhance its treatment effectiveness. Also, Peach Kernel is indicated for traumatic injuries, congestion, swelling and pain when combined with blood-activating and collateral-dredging analgesics.
By dispelling stasis, Peach Kernel can expel abscess too. When combined with Heat-clearing, toxicity-relieving, abscess-curing and pus-expelling herbs, Peach Kernel can treat Lungs and intestine abscess caused by Heat accumulation and Blood Stasis.
As Peach Kernel can moisten and relax one’s bowels, it is often indicated for constipation and dry stools. In addition, Peach Kernel can descend Lung qi with the actions of stopping cough and relieving dyspnea. When combined with antitussives and antiasthmatics, its actions in treating cough and dyspnea are enhanced.
How to Use Peach Kernel (Tao Ren)
The recommended daily dosage of Peach Kernel is 5 – 10g, when used as a decoction. Peach kernel is frequently used in combination with other herbs in TCM to enhance its therapeutic effects. It is often paired with herbs like Safflower (Hong Hua) or Red Peony Root (Chi Shao Yao) in formulations targeting conditions related to blood circulation.
Peach Kernel is also available in supplement form such as powder and pills. You can find Peach Kernel and its supplements in herbal stores, Asian markets and specialty stores.
Cautions and Side Effects of Peach Kernel (Tao Ren)
Peach Kernel should not be used by individuals experiencing pregnancy, loose stools or hemoptysis. Do not over-consume Peach Kernel as it may cause toxic side effects. Amygdalin in the Peach Kernel can be broken down into hydrocyanic acid in the body, which will excite and later paralyse the central nervous system. This may cause side effects such as dizziness, headache, vomiting, palpitations, irritability, followed by unconsciousness, convulsions and life-threatening respiratory paralysis. In addition, Peach Kernel was reported to cause skin irritation and allergies like rashes.
Do note that Peach Kernel should not be used together with anticoagulants such as heparin, warfarin and enoxaparin, as well as antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin, dipyridamole and clopidogrel.
Here is a summary for Peach Kernel (Tao Ren):
- Herb name (Chinese): 桃仁
- Herb name (Pin Yin): táo rén
- Herb name (English): Peach Seed
- Herb name (Botanical): Semen Persicae
- Origin of species: Prunus persica (L.) Batsch; Prunus davidiana (Carr.) Franch.
- Part(s) of herb used: Seed
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Liaoning, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan
- Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, sweet; Neutral; Administrates the Heart, Liver and Large Intestine Meridians
- Actions: Promotes blood circulation in the body, and helps remove blood stasis; Eases coughs and constipation; Relieves symptoms of lung or appendiceal abscesses
Cassiem, W., & de Kock, M. (2019). The anti-proliferative effect of apricot and peach kernel extracts on human colon cancer cells in vitro. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 1-12. [Accessed on 11th May 2023]
Wu, H., Shi, J., Xue, S., Kakuda, Y., Wang, D., Jiang, Y., … & Subramanian, J. (2011). Essential oil extracted from peach (Prunus persica) kernel and its physicochemical and antioxidant properties. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 44(10), 2032-2039.[Accessed on 11th May 2023]
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