Chinese Quince (Ma Gua)Quince (Ma Gua)

Botanical Name: Western – Pseudocydonia sinensis (formerly called Cydonia sinensis, C. vulgaris). Eastern – Fructus Chaenomelis Lagenariae.

While both Western and Eastern varieties have similar properties, Chinese quince (Fructus Chaenomelis Lagenariae), the Eastern variety, is native to Asia and has been enjoyed as a food and medicine. As a medicine it is used both internally and externally. Internally it is used to treat digestive issues, relieve arthritic pain, and swelling and cramping of the calves and lower legs. Externally it is used to treat injuries, cuts, and as a softener for skin. The variety used in the West (Pseudocydonia sinensis) has demulcent, astringent, and antidiarrheal properties. Its seeds are very mucilaginous.

Below is an overview of Quince (Ma Gua), 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 Quince (Ma Gua).

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Western Name: Quince

Also Known As: Mogwa, Mokgwa, Karin

Organs/Systems: Stomach, Muscular-Skeletal System

Key Actions: Western (Pseudocydonia sinensis) – Demulcent, Astringent, Antidiarrheal, Anti-inflammatory.
Eastern (Fructus Chaenomelis Lagenariae) – Antioxidant, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Laxative, Antirheumatic, Analgesic.

Medicinal Uses: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, swollen and painful legs, cuts, bruises, tendonitis, flu, coughs, swollen sore throat.


Pin Yin: Ma Gua (translates as Wood Melon)

Also Known As: Chinese Quince, Flowering Quince

Meridians: Spleen, Liver

Key Actions: Western (Pseudocydonia sinensis) – Clears Damp Heat, Moves Qi and Blood, Transforms Damp.
Eastern (Fructus Chaenomelis Lagenariae) – Clears Damp Heat, Dispels Wind and Damp, Warms the Interior, Expels Cold, Facilitates Lactation, Moves Qi and Blood, Harmonizes the Stomach, Transforms Damp, Relaxes the Sinews, Opens the Channels.

Medicinal Uses: Rheumatoid arthritis, heatstroke, diarrhea, constipation, edema, joint pain, tendinitis, stiffness, abdominal pain, intestinal cramping, lactation, injuries, cuts, loss of appetite, swollen and painful legs, low back pain, tendons, severe leg cramping, spasms of the calf, libido, coughs, flu, high blood pressure.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

The Chinese quince is a deciduous or semi-evergreen tree in the family Rosaceae (apples and pears are also in this family). It can grow to be 10 to 18 feet tall. It has a dense and twiggy crown with simple leaves that are alternately arranged and have serrated margins. The flowers have five pink petals and bloom in mid spring. The fruit is a large ovoid pome that gives off an intense, sweet smell as it ripens in the late fall. Western quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis) is synonymous with Cydonia sinensis, a name it is no longer called.

Chinese quince is native to eastern Asia and china. It also has a history in the Middle East, growing in Turkey and Iran, where it then spread to Greece.

Chinese Quince (Ma Gua)Parts Most Frequently Used: Fruit, Seed

Flavors/Temps: Sour, Astringing, Slightly Warm

Caution: Considered safe.

History/Folklore: Recent studies suggest the phytochemicals in Chinese quince are full of antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is used to treat digestive disorders, including abdominal pain and diarrhea. Quince is also used to treat coughs and influenza A, a viral infection.

Chinese quince was considered by the ancient Greeks to be sacred to the goddess Aphrodite.

Chinese quince has been used as a poultice or compress and applied directly to injuries, nipple soreness, deeply cut fingers, and swollen or painful joints. It also treats severe cramping in the calves, and what is known as Stagnant Blood and Qi.

Due to the high antioxidant properties contained in Chinese quince, the fruit is able to help prevent heart disorders including, lower blood pressure and prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Western quince seeds can be made into a poultice, ointment, balm, or lotion to treat burns, cuts, or skin ulcers. As a mouthwash they can be used to treat swollen throats.

In the Middle East it is said that quiche will give you the strength of 40 men and help cure intestinal ulcers. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) is quoted as saying, “ Feed your pregnant women on quince, for it cures the diseases of the heart and makes the babies handsome.”

Western quince is also used to make a homeopathic remedy used to strengthen the stomach and tonify male genitalia. A typical homeopathic dose is a 30C potency.

Chinese quince are not eaten raw, but cooked to remove their high acidity. They are made into jam, marmalade, wine, tea, and also poached. They cook into a pretty pink/red color that is striking. A paste made from Chinese quince is often paired with cheese or ice cream.

Both varieties of quince are high in vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber.

In ancient Greece, Chinese quince was presented to the bride on her wedding day as a symbol of fertility.

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Key Constituents:

Amino acids, Polyphenols, Flavonols, Organic acids, Vitamin C, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Iron, Fiber, Folate.

Did you know?

Fruit of Temptation

Quince may have been the ‘Fruit of Temptation’ referenced in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden.



Chinese quince has been used as an ingredient with other herbs to assist the healing of broken bones and fractures.

Fun fact!

Not Raw!

Chinese quince is not eaten raw, its fragrant and lovely flavor is brought out with cooking when it is made into jellies and marmalade.

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