Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Extract the pits and dry, crush before use.
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Moistens the Intestines and invigorates Qi. Increases the flow of urine.
Contraindications*: Should be avoided by pregnant women and those with Yin Deficiency
Source date: 1345 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Moistens the Intestines. Unblocks the movement of Stool.
Yu Li Ren is a deputy ingredient in Wu Ren Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Wu Ren Wan, Yu Li Ren increases the capacity of the formula to moisten the Intestine along with Biota seeds.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yu Li Ren belongs to the 'Laxative herbs that drain downward' category. The herbs in this category are those whose main purpose is to treat constipation. They're called 'laxative' because they're often rich in oils. This allows them to lubricate the Intestines in order to help it remove the stools from the body.
Furthermore Yu Li Ren is Neutral in nature. This means that Yu Li Ren typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Yu Li Ren means that you don't have to worry about that!
Yu Li Ren also tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Yu Li Ren tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Pungent ingredients tend to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food. Lastly Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Yu Li Ren is thought to target the Large intestine, the Small intestine and the Spleen. In TCM the Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine. The Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body.
MeOH extracts of Prunus japonica seeds possess anti-acne and antimicrobial properties.1
1. MZ Sultan, KM Lee, SS Moon (2009). Antibacterial effect of naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids from Prunus japonica against Propionibacterium acnes. Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.90-96. DOI: 10.3742/OPEM.2009.9.1.090