Apricot is a relatively small tree with dense and spreading canopy. It has white to pinkish flowers and heart-shaped leaves having pointed tips. The fruit of apricot contains just one seed, which different communities have used for various medicinal purposes since time immemorial. Although its scientific name, Prunus armeniaca L., seems to suggest that it originates from Armenia, apricot is actually native to China, close to the border with Russia.
Soothing the Respiratory Tract
According to Food plants of China, apricot seeds have a tonic effect on the respiratory organs, which helps them to strengthen elderly and weak people. About 50% of the apricot seed is composed of fatty oil and 3% is amygdalin, which is a poisonous cyanogenic glucoside. Soaking and boiling the seeds hydrolizes amydgalin in two steps.
You can use the detoxified apricot seed to prepare a lung tonic beverage. Mix ½ cup of white detoxified apricot seed, ½ cup sugared jojobe, and 3 cups of water. Boil the mixture in a non-metal pot. Use low heat to bring the content to 1 ½ cups. You can use the mixture for treating coughs.
According to Joseph P. Hou and Youyu Jin in The healing power of Chinese herbs and medicinal recipes, one of the functions of apricot seed kernel is the relief of constipation. They state that the kernel acts on both the lung and large intestine meridians. The seeds relieve constipation by moistening the intestines, thereby encouraging bowel movements. The apricot seed kernel is often combined with peach kernel for treating constipation. Use in a decoction of three to ten grams.
It is better to avoid this medication if you are suffering from diarrhea, long-term coughing, or yin deficiency. An oral administration of amygdalin causes low toxicity and an overdose may result in such side effects as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Apricot seeds contain Vitamin B17, which is especially good at fighting cancerous growths. Robert Kiley and E. Graham explain in ‘The patient’s Internet handbook’ that people used to take apricot seeds to cure cancer more than thirty years ago. It was said that taking between 3 and 7 apricot seeds per day would keep cancer at bay.
According to Tom Pritchard in Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge, cancer is just one of the things that Vitamin B17 helps in. The vitamin is a cell rejuvenator that helps to maintain optimum health.
According to Beauty Therapy Fact File, the oil extracted from apricot seed kernels is good for sensitive, dry, and prematurely aged skin.
- Food plants of China, Shiu-ying Hu, (pp 228)
- The healing power of Chinese herbs and medicinal recipes, Joseph P. Hou, Youyu Jin (364)
- The patient’s Internet handbook, The patient’s Internet handbook (pp 142)
- Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge, Tom Pritchard (pp 168)
- Beauty Therapy Fact File, (pp 234)