Qi Regulators

  




Citron 

 
Latin: Fructus Citri
 
Origin:
Citron is the ripe fruit of the small evergreen tree or shrub Citrus medica L. (medicinal citron), or Citrus wilsonii Tanaka (wilson citron), of the family Rutaceae. The tree is cultivated in Mediterranean countries and the West Indies, as well as Australia, South America, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, Spain, and China.

The tree grows to about 3.5 m high and has irregular, spreading, spiny branches. It is in leaf all year, in flower all year. The leaves are large, pale green, broadly oblong, and slightly serrate with wingless petioles. The flowers of the acidic varieties, such as the Diamante, are purple on the outside and white on the inside, while those of sweet varieties, such as the Corsican, are creamy white. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion) and insects. The plant cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

The oval or oblong fruit is protuberant at the tip, about 12 to 15 cm long, and furrowed. The inner portion of the adhesive rind is thick, white, and fleshy; the outer is thin, greenish yellow, and fragrant. The pulp is firm, either acidic or sweet, and used only for by-products. The thick peel is cured in brine, candied, and sold as a confection. The fruit of the Etrog variety of citron is used in Jewish religious rites.

In China, it is mainly produced in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangxi, etc. Reaped in autumn when the fruit ripens, it is sliced when fresh and dried in the sun or in low heat for use when raw.
 
Properties:
Pungent, slightly bitter and sour in flavor, warm in nature, it is related to the liver, spleen and stomach channels.
 
Functions:
Sooths the liver and regulates the flow of qi, normalizes the functional activities of qi and relieves epigastric distention as well as resolves phlegm and arrests coughing.
 
Applications:
1. To treat distending pain in the chest and hypochondria (extreme depression) due to stagnation of liver-qi:

Citron has the same functions as the fleshfingered citron but it is inferior in efficacy.

2. To treat distending pain in the abdomen due to stagnation of qi in the spleen and stomach, retching and acid regurgitation and vomiting and nausea with poor appetite:

Citron can be used together with aucklandia root, amomum, wrinkled gianthyssop (Herba Agastachis) or cablin patchouli (Herba Pogostemons), etc.

3. To treat coughing with profuse sputum due to damp phlegm:

Citron can be used together with pinellia tuber, tuckahoe (Poria Cocos), etc.
 
Dosage and Administration:
3-10 g.

Decoct citron for oral administration.
 
Cautions on Use:
New Compilation of Materia Medica : "Calming the liver, removing stagnation, regulating the flow of lung-qi, regulating menstruation and inducing diuresis."

Reading Guide to Herbals : "Sending down adversely rising qi, removing phlegm, relieving epigastric distention and normalizing the functioning of the diaphragm."
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, citric acid, malic acid, hesperidin and essential oils (volatile oils).

The essential oils in citron can also protect gastrointestinal organs and the liver.

For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).

Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).

Citrus species also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics.

Its rich in vitamin C helps the body to fight off infections and also to prevent or treat scurvy.

The bioflavonoids in the fruit help to strengthen the inner lining of blood vessels, especially veins and capillaries, and help counter varicose veins and easy bruising.

Although the fruit is very acid, once eaten it has an alkalizing effect upon the body. This makes it useful in the treatment of rheumatic conditions.

The skin of the ripe fruit is carminative (expelling gas from the alimentary canal so as to relieve colic or griping) and stomachic. The essential oil from the skin of the fruit is strongly rubefacient (causing redness of the skin) and when taken internally in small doses has stimulating and carminative properties.
 
 
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