Chinese Herb Xing Ren Ku (Apricot Seed)
Xing Ren (Ku), (Apricot Seed, Bitter Apricot seed or kernel), Prunus armeniaca L. var. ansu Maxim.; Semen Armeniacae Amarum 杏仁
Bitter, slightly warm, slightly toxic
Lung, Large Intestine
Stops Cough, Moistens Intestines, Relieves Constipation and Muscle Tension, Relieves Asthma
The Prunus armeniaca was cultivated extensively, but it is thought to have originated in Asia. The Apricot tree blooms with pinkish flowers. It is part of the plum family, and the Xing Ren (Ku) is the seed of that plant. The seed is enclosed in what is often referred to as “the stone”. The seeds have been uncovered in archeological digs as old as 6000 years ago, such as the Shengavit Settlement and Garni Temple. People believe it was introduced to Greece by Alexander the Great, and to Rome by General Lucullus. Apricots grown in the Mediterranean and central Asia have very sweet seeds and are sometimes substituted for almonds. The Xing Ren herb is associated both with education and medicine in the Chinese culture.
The high oil content in the Xing Ren herb makes it great for relieving blocked bowels and is also used to clear Lung Cold. Mixing Apricot Seed with sugar reduces its toxicity and the bark of the same plant can be used as an antidote; removing the skin and tips of the seed also reduces toxicity. Xing Ren Ku’s anti-carcinogenic properties inhibit cell growth of many fungi and cancers. The toxicity helps Apricot Kernel kill parasites as well as heal sores, and its pathogenic factors relieve muscle tension and descend Qi.
The Xing Ren herb is not compatible with Huang Qi, Huang Qin, or Ge Gen but most commonly paired with Zi Su Ye, Sang Ye, Mai Men Dong, and Sang Ye.