Malus domestica, is the Latin name for the fruit we now know as apple. It is an ancestor of Malus sieversii, which is a wild form of apple native to the mountains in central Asia, in countries like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Malus sylvestris, European crabapple, found all over Europe. Apples appear to have been around for over thousands of years and have over 7500 cultivars. What also is amazing about this fruit is that it comes from the family of Rosaceae, the Rose. All the relatives of plants that we had no idea of, native to an area and migrating from one place to another and then becoming almost natural to that place over a period of time, as we humans. Have you ever cut an apple horizontally? I normally don't but when I did, this is what I found, a star with five points. Wow! What a revelation for me! The pentagram is sacred in many cultures, the Celts, the ancient Greeks, Romans, Jewish tradition...to name a few. It is also relevant in mathematics and geometry. In Chinese Medicine, it represents the 5 Elements (refer to the diagram in my first post in February 2019). All these years, I have been eating my apple and was never ever aware it had this form within it.
Now is the time of the apple harvest, late summer into autumn, the time of Earth and Metal in Chinese Medicine. As such, the apple affects the organs of the Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Large Intestines and also the Gall Bladder, by nature of its medicinal properties. All herbs and foods in the Chinese Materia Medica, have organs associated with it, a temperature, tastes, which also have connections to organs and its specific functions. Apple is cooling, as most fruits are, and has a sweet, sour taste. This means that apple will cool down warm conditions or heat in the body, its sweetness will nourish Qi and the sour will astringe fluid. So, when we look at its functions of reducing and clearing heat in the body, moistening dryness, stimulating digestion, as well as tonifying Qi and Blood, it all makes sense with the tastes and temperature. It also will cool down heat in the Lung, protecting it from cigarette smoke, stimulate appetite, help lower cholesterol and toxic metal levels in the body. You can grate apple and make a poultice for sunburn and conjunctivitis. Of course, be aware that if you have a tendency to feel cold and have sensitive digestion, like loose stools, you should not overeat apple. Cooking it may help that it be absorbed better, like in the case of babies, who have weak digestive systems.
Remarkable isn't it? Something so common, found in every grocery store at the moment, or somebody's yard falling to the ground as no one had time to pick them, can do all that. We take too many things for granted. Maybe the simple things in life, right in front of our eyes, hold the magic and the miracle of healing and health. For us in Chinese Medicine, we take the perspective that "Food is Medicine." What you eat in the everyday, affects how your body and mind functions. Don't just eat apple, because someone told you it's good for you, eat it and sense how it makes you feel, in mind and body. With this, I propose a new adage,
"If you want to stay healthy, listen to your body (and mind ;-))".
Image: apple by Pixabay user bernwaeltz
Image: 5-pointed-star apple by Elaine