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Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)

Close up of Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)

What is Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)?

Semen Pruni (yu li ren, 郁李仁), also known as Dwarf Flowering Cherry Seed, Bush Cherry Pit or Chinese Dwarf Cherry Seed, refers to the seeds of the deciduous shrub Prunus humilis, which belongs to the Rosaceae family. 

These cherry trees have been associated with virginity since ancient times, with its red coloured fruit and enclosed seeds acting as a symbol of the uterus. The Danes believed that it is important for pregnant ladies to consume cherries. By 800 BC, cherry trees were cultivated in Asia Minor and later Greece. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yu Li Ren falls under the category of ‘Laxative herbs that drain downwards’. Such herbs are mainly used to treat constipation. Rich in oils, these herbs can lubricate the intestines to promote the movement of stools. Neutral in nature, Yu Li Ren does not affect the yin-yang balance in one’s body.

Bitter, pungent and sweet in taste, Yu Li Ren can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Yu Li Ren can promote the circulations of qi and body fluids, slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Yu Li Ren targets the large intestines, small intestines and the Spleen.

Functions and Benefits of Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren) has the following health benefits.

Yu Li Ren can moisten intestines, relax bowels and remove Qi Stagnation in the large intestines. Thus, it is often used to treat constipation caused by intestinal dryness, and abdominal distention caused by Qi Stagnation. Yu Li Ren can be combined with other intestine-moistening and bowels-relaxing herbs, such as Semen Cannabis (Huo Ma Ren) and Semen Platycladi (Bai Zi Ren), to enhance its effectiveness.

Also, Yu Li Ren can induce diuresis to alleviate oedema. For oedema and difficulty in urination, Yu Li Ren can be combined with other herbs that can induce diuresis to enhance its effectiveness.

Close up of Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)
Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren) is effective in easing constipation.

How to Use Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)

The recommended daily dosage of Yu Li Ren is 6 – 12g, when used as a decoction. To use Yu Li Ren, you have to extract the pits from the cherries, dry them and crush them before use.

You can find Yu Li Ren and its supplements in many herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren)

Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren) should not be used by individuals experiencing pregnancy or Yin Deficiency with depleted fluids.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren) to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Semen Pruni (Yu Li Ren):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 郁李仁
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): yù lǐ rén
  • Herb name (English): Chinese Dwarf Cherry Seed
  • Herb name (Botanical): Semen Pruni
  • Origin of species: Prunus humilis Bge.; Prunus japonica Thunb.; Prunus pedunculata Maxim.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Seed
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Pungent, bitter, sweet; Neutral; Administrates the Spleen, Large Intestine and Small Intestine Meridians
  • Actions: Eases constipation; Relieves water retention symptoms in the lower body

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Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.