Bitter Apricot Seed

 

Source
The mature seed of Prunus armeniaca L. var. ansu Maxim. (Fam. Rosaceae).

Distribution
Mainly in Chinese provinces such as Liaoning, Hebei,and Shandong, and in Inner Mongolia. Mostly naturally grown; also cultivated.

Harvest & Processing
Collect fruits after maturation in summer; remove sarcocarp and husks; take out seeds; dry under the sun. Commonly used in Hong Kong are the seeds with the testa removed, called ‘ Beixing’ (North Bitter Apricot Seed).

Description
Flattened and cordate (heart-shaped); 1-1.9 cm long, 0.8-1.5 cm wide, 5-8 mm thick. Apex slightly pointed; base obtuse; two sides asymmetrical. Testa thin, brown to dull brown, with irregular wrinkles; one edge of the apex with a hilum, base with an elliptical chalaza; between hilum and chalaza is a raphe; numerous dark brown venous (vein-like) striae radiating from chalaza.

When seeds are soaked in warm boiled water and testa removed, 2 white cotyledons are exposed; cotyledons highly oleaginous (oily), with relatively small radicle and plumule at apex. Odourless; taste: bitter.

Indications
1. Cough
2. Constipation

Chemical Composition
Mainly contains amygdalin, chlorogenic acid, 3′-feruloylguinic acid, 3′-p-coumaroylquinic acid etc.

Note
According to C.P., also used for medicinal purposes is the mature seed of P. sibirica L., of P. mandshurica (Maxim.) Koehne and of P. armeniaca L.

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