English: Peach kernels

Chinese: 桃仁

Parts used: Dried ripe seed

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Organ affinity: Heart Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Prunus persica or Prunus davidiana

Use of Tao Ren (peach kernels) in TCM

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: Once ripe, the fruit is harvested and the flesh and outer shell are removed. The seeds are kept and dried.

Dosage: 5 - 10 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Tao Ren may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Irregular menstruation Amenorrhea Dysmenorrhea Constipation Abdominal pain

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by pregnant women.

Common TCM formulas in which Tao Ren is used*

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Conditions targeted*: LeiomyomaRetained placenta and others

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Tao He Cheng Qi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, Tao Ren breaks up and eliminates Blood Stagnation

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

Source date: 1291 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Tonifies Blood and regulates the Liver. Moves Qi and Blood in the lower abdomen. Stops pain.

Conditions targeted*: Scanty menstruationPainful menstruations and others

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Tao Hong Si Wu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, Tao Ren tonifies and invigorates the Blood and regulates menstruation. Its use is for concurrent Blood Deficiency and Blood Stagnation leading to a shortened menstrual cycle with copious Bleeding of dark-purple, sticky Blood, with or without clots. Also used when menstruation is accompanied by abdominal pain and distention due to the same mechanism. 

Read more about Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.

Conditions targeted*: AmenorrheaPainful menstruations and others

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang, Tao Ren invigorates the Blood and dispels Blood Stagnation

Read more about Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates the Blood. Dispels blood Stagnation. Spreads the Liver Qi. Unblocks the channels.

Conditions targeted*: Coronary artery diseaseRheumatic valvular heart disease and others

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Tao Ren invigorates the Blood and eliminates Blood Stagnation, especially in the upper part of the body. 

Read more about Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Unblocks painful obstruction. Relieves pain. Invigorate Qi. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Unblock Channels.

Conditions targeted*: Muscle crampsArthralgia and others

Tao Ren is a king ingredient in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, Tao Ren invigorates the Blood and eliminates Blood Stagnation, especially in the upper part of the body. 

Read more about Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.

Conditions targeted*: AppendicitisPelvic inflammatory disease and others

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang, Tao Ren breaks up Blood Stagnation and has a mild moistening and laxative effect.

Read more about Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Conditions targeted*: InfertilityDysmenorrhea and others

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, Tao Ren works, together with Mudan peony bark (the other assistant in this formula), to cool and invigorate the Blood (thereby breaking Stagnation), reduce abdominal masses and disperse accumulations. 

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Wei Jing Tang

Source date: 627 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.

Conditions targeted*: BronchitisBronchiectasis and others

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Wei Jing Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Wei Jing Tang, Tao Ren invigorates the Blood and eliminates Blood Stagnation, which reduces the clumping and thereby breaks up the abscess.

Read more about Wei Jing Tang

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Source date: 1587 AD

Number of ingredients: 16 herbs

Formula key actions: Expels Wind Damp from the Channels. Invigorates Blood. Unblocks the channels.

Conditions targeted*: ArthralgiaBell's palsy and others

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, Tao Ren invigorates Blood, removes Blood stagnation, and unblocks the Channels.

Read more about Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Tonifies Qi. Invigorates Blood. Unblocks the channels.

Conditions targeted*: Poststroke hemiplegiaCerebrovascular disease and others

Tao Ren is an assistant ingredient in Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang, Tao Ren invigorates Blood, removes Blood stagnation, and unblocks the Channels.

Read more about Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang

Source date: 1576 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Expel Dampness. Relieve pain. Move Qi and Blood.

In Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang, Tao Ren invigorates Blood

Read more about Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang

Zhu Yu Zhi Xue Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Stops bleeding.

In Zhu Yu Zhi Xue Tang, Tao Ren invigorates Blood and removes Stagnation.

Read more about Zhu Yu Zhi Xue Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Tao Ren's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tao Ren belongs to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stagnation when it causes certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore Tao Ren is Neutral in nature. This means that Tao 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 Tao Ren means that you don't have to worry about that!

Tao Ren also tastes Bitter 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 Tao 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 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 Tao Ren is thought to target the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on Tao Ren

Guizhi Fuling capsule (consisting of Peach kernels) achieved obvious effects in the treatment of uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, dysmenorrheal, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, breast hyperplasia and other gynecological diseases.1.

Glycosides isolated from Prunus persica seeds were shown to have anti-tumor promoting effects by significantly inhibiting the Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation induced by tumor promoters.2.

Sources:

1. Su ZZ, Li N, Cao L, Wang TJ, Zhang CF, Ding G, Wang ZZ, Xiao W. (2015). Main progress on studies of pharmacological activities and clinical applications of Guizhi Fuling capsule. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. , 40(6):989-92.

2. Toshiyuki Fukuda, Hideyuki Ito, Teruo Mukainaka, Harukuni Tokuda, Hoyoku Nishino, Takashi Yoshida (2003). "Anti-tumor Promoting Effect of Glycosides from Prunus persica Seeds". Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Volume 26, issue 2, pages 271-273