1.1 What is a Korean pine?
The Korean pine (botanical name: Pinus koraiensis, also known as Chinese pinenut; Chinese Pinyin: Hong Song, Simplified Chinese: 红松, 海松子), is a species of pine in genus Pinus in the pine family, Pinaceae. Since pines are gymnosperms, Korean pine does not have flowers or fruits, it has unenclosed or “naked” seeds. The plant can grow up to 100 feet (30 m) tall. Native to eastern Asia (Korea peninsula, northeastern China, Mongolia, the Temperate rainforests of the Russian Far East, and central Japan), habitats of Korean pine include coniferous and broadleaved mixed forest and mountainous regions (usually found from between 150 to 1,800 meters in elevation).
Other simplified Chinese names for Korean pine nuts include: 松子, 松子仁, 新罗松子.
1.2 How does Korean pine seed taste?
Good Korean pine nuts have a crisp, nutty and dense texture with a flavor that is bitter and metallic.
1.3 How is Korean pine seed used in traditional Chinese medicine?
The seed of Korean pine is considered to have sweet, mildly warm properties and to be associated with the liver, lung and large intestine meridians. It is used as blood enricher and carminative in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as dizziness and dry cough.
2. Uses, Health Benefits of Korean Pine Nuts & Medical Formulas
2.1 Reduce The Risk of Getting Heart Diseases
Saturated and trans fat are commonly found in daily consumed food such as butter, whole milk, desserts and baked goods. For example, 50% of the fat content in butter is saturated fat and 4% is trans fat. Studies show that trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Also, trans fats even in small amounts can bring big harm: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the chance of getting heart disease may increase by 23% (harvard.edu 2015). Therefore, replacing food that contain high level of saturated and trans fat is important to our heart health. Korean pine seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acid which is a better and healthier fat that can improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of getting heart disease.
2.2 Keep An Active And Healthy Brain
A key mineral found abundantly in Korean pine nuts is magnesium which is crucial to our body’s normal functioning. The mineral actively participate in over 300 enzymatic reactions within our body including the metabolism of food, synthesis of fatty acids and various proteins, and the transmission of nerve impulses. Magnesium is a macrominerals in our body, we need to intake a minimum of 100 milligrams each day (it’s recommended to get between 300 to 350 milligrams per day). A study demonstrates that intake of magnesium above what is traditionally considered the normal dietary amount has a dramatic effect on improving multiple aspects of memory and learning. What’s more important, these findings are applicable to both young and old (wellnessresources.com 2012). Therefore, eating Korean pine seeds which contain rich magnesium may help us to keep an active and healthy brain.
2.3 Dissolve Blood Clots
Blood clotting, or coagulation, is an influential process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured. Normally, human body can dissolve the blood clot after some time. However, if clots happen without an injury, they may not dissolve in a natural way. Deep vein thrombosis, or deep venous thrombosis (DVT), is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) within a deep vein, most commonly the legs. DVT can kill people, it is estimated that each year DVT affects as many as 900,000 people in the United States and kills up to 100,000 (hematology.org 2017). Studies found out that Vitamin E helps to gradually break down blood clots in the circulatory system, and prevents the forming of new blood clots by promoting collateral circulation in the smaller blood vessels of the body. Therefore, eating Vitamin E rich food such as Korean pine seeds may help to dissolve blood clots and reduce the chance of getting the deadly DVT.
[CTM Formula] A mixture of Korean pine seeds, walnut kernel and refined honey are processed and taken orally after meal to treat lung dryness related cough.
[CTM Formula] Pills made with Korean pine seeds, the tuber of Stemona Japonica (fried), ephedra, apricot kernel and white granulated sugar are kept to dissolve against a gum to treat cough due to cold in children.
2.5 Chronic Constipation
[CTM Formula] Pills made from Korean pine seeds, seeds of Oriental arborvitae are taken orally with Astragalus propinquus soup to treat chronic constipation.
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
hematology.org 2017 Blood Clots [online] link: http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Clots/
harvard.edu 2015 The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between [online] link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
wellnessresources.com 2012 Magnesium Boosts Brain Function [online] link: https://www.wellnessresources.com/news/magnesium-boosts-brain-function