English Name: papaya
Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Chaenomelis
Medica Category: Wind Damp Dispelling Herbs – Channel and Collateral Opening Herbs
Properties: Mu Gua enters the Liver and Spleen channels; it is sour in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Mu Gua is papaya fruit (Chaenomeles lagenaria (Loisel.) Koidz.; Chaenomeles sinensis (Thouin) Koehne). It can be eaten fresh or dried and used “as an herb” in formula.
Mu Gua is sour in nature and contains digestive enzymes; this leads into its function of addressing food stagnation/incomplete digestion. Mu Gua also promotes gastric secretions (i.e. the production of stomach acid) in cases where the gastric glands have atrophied. This function is relatively mild and will not overcome chronic poor digestion (as, for example, from a history of the use of proton-pump inhibitors), but as food it can lend a nice assist to the digestive process.
Mu Gua is warm without being drying in nature; and entering the Liver channel it nourishes the muscles and tendons to address musculoskeletal issues involving cramping, spams, and stiffness (most effectively in the lower part of the body). This is known as bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome) in the language of Chinese medicine.
Mu Gua dissolve dampness from the Stomach and Spleen to address nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping.
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