Apple (Ping Guo)
Botanical Name: Malus pumila (commonly incorrectly called Malus domestica)
The apple tree is perhaps the first tree to ever be cultivated. It is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. The nutrients of apples, are significantly higher in their skins, so be sure when you are eating an apple to eat their skin too!
Below is an overview of Apple (Ping Guo), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Apple (Ping Guo).
Western Name: Apple
Also Known As: Depends on cultivar
Organs/Systems: Digestion, Heart
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Digestive, Tonic. Gastro-intestinal digestion, lowers blood sugars, lowers fat levels in the blood, scurvy, protects the colon from cancerous toxins.
Pin Yin: Ping Guo
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Heart, Intestines
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Supports the Lungs/Builds Qi/Nourishes Skin: builds defensive Qi (Energy), immunity, asthma, bronchitis, supports growth and development, resolves mucous, promotes body fluids. Strengthens Intestines/Stops Diarrhea: constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating. Tonifies Liver: helps remove toxins from the blood. Strengthens the Heart.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Fruit
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Tart, cooling
Caution: Some Northern Europeans have allergic reactions to apples if they are also allergic to birch pollen. In the Mediterranean, some people have allergic reactions to apples because of their similarity to peaches. Often people allergic to nuts and other fruits can be allergic to apples.
History/Folklore: Apple trees have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe. They were brought to North America by European colonists in the 17th century. Alexander the Great is credited with finding apples in Kazakhstan in 328 BC and bringing them back to Macedonia for cultivation. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, were an important source of vitamins and other nutrients in the winter months in Asia and Europe for many thousands of years.
Apples have sacred and mythical significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions. In Norse mythology apples are said to have given the gods their eternal youthfulness. Buckets of apples have been found at burial sites in Norway and ancient German grave sites, suggesting they held symbolic importance to these early peoples.
Apples have long been a symbol of fertility. In ancient Greece, apples were said to be sacred to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. To throw an apple at someone was to declare your love for them, and to catch the apple was to accept that love.
In the Bible, apples are associated with the Garden of Eden and are the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result of the story of Adam, Eve and The Apple, the apple became a symbol of knowledge, immortality, temptation, and the fall of man into sin. The larynx in the human throat is called an “Adam’s Apple” because of an old notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit remaining in Adam’s throat. It also evolved into a symbol of sexual seduction, as another play on the notion of it being a forbidden fruit.
Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize having a sweet new year.
A typical medium sized apple contains about 100 calories. They are often eaten raw, but can be baked, stewed, made into apple sauce or dried for later use.
Apples help regulate blood sugar, lower fat levels in the blood and significantly lower two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine, improving large intestine digestion.
Differing apple species are grown for making cider, eating raw, or cooking. The size, shape and branch density are determined by root-stock selection and trimming methods.
Apple trees are prone to fungal, bacterial and pest problems which can be controlled by organic or non-organic means. In the wild apples grow easily from seeds, however most commercial cultivars are now started by grafting, to help sustain consistent crops as wild apples can develop very different characteristics from their parent tree.
China accounts for 49% of the world’s total apple production.
Two apple trees can provide you with enough apples to feed your family and friends. If you decide to grow one or two apple trees in your garden be sure there is a local pollen source within 100 feet of your apple tree. If none is available be sure to plant two different kinds of apple trees so they can provide each other with pollen. Apple trees like eight hours of sun a day.
High in Flavonoids (Quercetin, Epicatechin and Procyanidin B2) and Phenolic compounds, Pectin, Enzymes (Alpha-amylase, Alpha-glucosidase), Vitamin C and K, Beta-carotene, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pyridoxine (B6), Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium.
Stored up to a Year
Apples can be stored for some months in cool temperature environments. Some types, including Granny Smith an Fuji can be stored up to a year.
Regulate Blood Sugar
The polyphenols found in apples help to regulate blood sugar, by reducing the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract.
There are more than 7,500 cultivars of apples.
References: For a complete list of references please visit our References and Resources page.
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