1.1 What is a wild cherry?
The Nanking cherry (botanical name: Prunus tomentosa, Chinese Pinyin: Shan Ying Tao, Simplified Chinese: 山樱桃), is a species of deciduous, flowering, fruit bearing shrub in genus Prunus in the rose family, Rosaceae. The flowers are white or pink in a scarlet calyx, 1.5 – 2 cm in diameter. The edible drupe is nearly spherical, small in size between 0.5-1.2 cm in diameter with yellowish to red skin. The plant can grow up to 4 m tall. Native to northern and western China and also cultivated in other Asian countries (North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, India) as well as Russian Far East, habitats of Nanking cherry include hillsides, forest, edge of forest, bushland and meadows (usually from between 100 to 3,200 meters in elevation). Characteristics of Nanking cherry include tolerance for cold and favorable micronutrients contents.
Other names for the Nanking cherry include: Korean cherry, Manchu cherry, downy cherry, Shanghai cherry, Ando cherry, mountain cherry, Chinese bush cherry, Chinese dwarf cherry.
Other simplified Chinese names for Nanking cherry include: 梅桃, 山豆子, 樱桃, 莺桃, 含桃, 荆桃, 牛桃, 婴桃, 英豆.
1.2 How does Nanking cherry taste?
Nanking cherries have juicy, meaty and firmed texture with a flavor that is tart to slightly sweet (it is extremely variable depending on different varieties as well as different producing regions.
1.3 Is the Nanking cherry a cherry?
Yes, Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa) is in the same genus as cherries, plums, and peaches, but is a different species than either the commonly known sweet cherries (P. avium) or sour cherries (P. cerasus). Therefore, Nanking cherry is an independent species of cherry which is less famous than the dominant sweet cherry or wild cherry.
1.4 How is Nanking cherry used in traditional Chinese medicine?
The fruit of the Nanking cherry is considered to have sweet, pungent and neutral properties and to be associated with the spleen and kidney meridians. It is used as spleen tonic, qi tonic and kidney tonic in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as impotence.
1.5 How do I tell if my Nanking cherries are ripe?
Ripe Nanking cherries should be bright red but still firmed. Soft ones may have already gone bad. Sampling a fruit before buying is suggested.
2. Uses, Health Benefits of Nanking Cherry & Medical Formulas
2.1 Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease And Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills while dementia is a general term for an obvious decline in mental ability, both of them are severe enough to disturb daily life. Nanking cherries contain omega 3-fatty acids which may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging according to some studies (webmd.com 2017).
2.2 Aid Digestion
If you’re not having a bowel movement every day, you are experiencing constipation. Constipation can be the precursor to other more destructive disorders including bad breath and skin eruptions as toxic waste remains in the body and accumulates. Cherries are an excellent source of fiber which help ensure proper bowel movement as the insoluble fiber which cannot be aborted will add to the stool and promote defecation which is the final act of digestion.
2.3 Heart Health
Diseases resulted by atherosclerosis are the leading cause of illness and death for both men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (healthywomen.org 2017). In addition, atherosclerosis is usually the first stage of coronary heart disease (CHD). According to a study published in Archives of Pharmaceutical Research, kaemferol, a flavonoid found in the seed of Nanking cherries demonstrate an anti-atherosclerotic effect when tested in rabbits, and may help with the treatment of various heart problems.
2.4 Improve Kidney Function, Promote Vitality And Sexual Energy
[CTM Formula] A decoction of Nanking cherries and other herbs is taken orally to improve kidney function, promote vitality and treat impotence.
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 ChinaAbout.net. 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.
List of reference
healthywomen.org 2017 Atherosclerosis [online] link: http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/atherosclerosis
webmd.com 2017 The Facts on Omega-3 Fatty Acids [online] link: http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet#2