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Chaenomeles Speciosa (Sweet) Nakai

Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Chaenomelis

Latin Botanical Name: Chaenomeles Speciosa (Sweet) Nakai

Common Name: Common Flowering Qince

Properties: Sour, slightly warm

Channels Entered: Liver, spleen.

Actions & Indications: Being used for sciatica, restless leg syndrome, cervical spondylosis, bone spurs, arthritis, pain in loin and knee joints, beri beri with edema, lack of strength in legs and knees, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic eczema, acute hepatitis with jaundice, prevent cirrhosis of liver resulting in ascites, spasm of gastrocnemius muscle (calf), vascular headache, for lowering blood lipis and overweight

Toxicity & Cautions: Do not use in cases of cold or influenza. Excessive use may harm the teeth and bones.

Chaenomeles speciosa (Common Flowering Qince)

Overview
Common Flowering Qince, Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai, known as Tiegenghaitang in Chinese, is a plant of the Rosaceae family, the nearly ripe fruit of which can be dried and used as a medicinal material. Its Chinese medicinal name is Zhoupimugua.
There are about 5 species of plants in the Chaenomeles genus in the world which are distributed in Eastern Asia, and are cultivated all over the world[A]. About 5 species can be found in China, and about 4 species in this genus are used as herbal medicines[F]. Tiegenghaitang is produced in provinces such as Shaanxi, Gansu, Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangdong, etc., in China, and is also distributed in Burma[A].
Tiegenghaitang was first recorded as a medicine in the name of “Muguashi” in Transactions of Famous Physicians, which listed it as a medium-grade medicine[E]. This species is stated in Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2005) as the official botanical origins of the Chinese medicine Zhoupimugua[D]. It is mainly produced in Anhui, Zhejiang, Hubei and Sichuan, etc., in China[E].
Tiegenghaitang mainly contains organic acids and triterpenes. Chinese Pharmacopoeia uses its characteristics, powder identification and thin-layer chromatography, and specifies that the alcohol-soluble leachate shall not be less than 15%, to control the quality of the medicinal materials[D].
Pharmacological studies indicate that the fruit of Tiegenghaitang has the effects of hepatoprotection, anti-inflammation, anti-bacteria and immunosuppression, etc.
In traditional Chinese medicine theory, Zhoupimugua has the functions of pacifying the liver and relieving spasms, and regulating the stomach and transforming dampness, etc.

Chemical Compositions
The fruit of Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai contains organic acids: malic acid, citramalic acid[1], tartaric acid, protocatechuic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, 5-O-p-coumaroylquinic acid, ascorbic acid[2, 5], fumaric acid, benzoic acid, draconic acid, phenylacrylic acid[1], shikimic acid, quinic acid[3] ; triterpenoids: oleanolic acid, ursolic acid[4], 3-O-acetyl ursolic acid, 3-O-acetyl pomolic acid, betulinic acid[2] ; glycosides: trachelosperoside A-1, chaenomeloside A[4]. It also contains butyl 5-O-p-coumaroylquinate[5].
The petal contains anthocyanins: pelargonidin, cyanidin diglycoside[6].

Pharmacological Activities
1. Hepatoprotection
In rats with acute liver damages, the herbal granule attenuated swelling and ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes, potentiated hepatocytes repairing, and reduced the elevated serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase[7]. Oleanolic acid inhibited the surface antigen and E antigen of hepatitis B virus in vitro[8].
2. Anti-inflammation and analgesia
The herbal fruit decotion inhibited albumen-induced arthritis in mice. Herbal saponins via oral administration inhibited Freund’s adjuvant- and collagen-induced arthritis in rats, attenuated secondary swelling and inflammatory pain, improved the formation and function of synoviocytes, and decreased the levels of interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor-α and prostaglandin E2[9-10]. Acetic acid-induced writhing in mice and formaldehyde secondary response were also inhibited[11].
3. Immunosuppression
The herbal fruit decotion inhibited spleen index in mice via oral administration, and fruit extract reduced the cytophagic rate and index of peritoneal macrophages in mice via intraperitoneal administration.
4. Anti-allergy
Oral administration of herbal saponins to mice inhibited cyclophosphamide-enhanced contact allergic responses, and regulated thymus CD4+/CD8+, Th lymphocytes and cytokines production in mice[12].
5. Anti-bacteria
In vitro, the herbal extract inhibited intestinal bacteria, staphylococcus, pneumococcus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Rickettsia tsutsugamushi.
6. Others
Butyl-5-O-p-coumaroylquinate inhibited compound 48/80-induced histamine release from rat mast cells in vitro[5]. The water infusion also had anti-tumor actions.

Applications
Indications: 1. Arthritis, rheumatic arthritis, ankle oedema; 2. Diarrhoea, bacillary dysentery; 3. Dyspepsia; 4. Hepatitis.

Comments
Mugua (Zhoupimugua) is one of the medicinal-cum-dietary species specified by the Ministry of Health of China. Tiegenghaitang is a plant that carries dietary, medicinal and aesthetic values at the same time. Its nutritious fruit has been made into Mugua drinks, Mugua vinegar, preserved Mugua pulp, etc. Since Mugua is rich in oleanolic acid, it has the functions of improving gastrointestinal functions and protecting the liver, which allows it to be developed into healthcare food products.

References
1. CW Gao, Y Kan, ZM Lei, ZH Duan, L Li. The studies on the acidic constituents in the fresh-fruit of Chaenomeles spciosa. Journal of Yunnan University. 1999, 21(4): 319-321
2. XM Guo, L Zhang, SC Quan, YF Hong, LN Sun, MZ Liu. Isolation and identification of triterpenoid compounds in fruits of Chaenomeles lagenaria (Loisel.) Koidz. China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1998, 23(9): 546-547
3. HC Chen, LS Ding, SL Peng, X Liao. Chemical constituents in fruits of iChaenomeles lagenaria. Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs. 2005, 36(1): 30-31
4. MH Lee, YN Han. A new in vitro tissue inhibitory triterpene from the fruits of Chaenomeles sinensis. Planta Medica. 2003, 69(4): 327-331
5. GF Zhang. New quinic acid derivatives in Chaenomeles speciosa. Foreign Medical Sciences. 2003, 25(2): 77
6. CF Timberlake, P Bridle. Anthocyanins in petals of Chaenomeles speciosa. Phytochemistry. 1971, 10(9): 2265-2267
7. QW Tian. Clinical observation of curative effect of “Shugan” (soothing liver) water soluble granules of Chaenomeles speciosa in treating acute icteric hepatitis. Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs. 1989, 20(2): 4, 48
8. HJ Liu, JH Hu, LN Sun, Z Cai, J Shi, T Liu. Inhibition effects of oleanolic acid from Chaenomeles lagenaria on hepatitis B virus in vitro. Pharmaceutical Journal of Chinese People's Liberation Army. 2002, 18(5): 272-274
9. M Dai, W Wei, YX Shen, YQ Zheng. Glucosides of Chaenomeles speciosa remit rat adjuvant arthritis by inhibiting synoviocyte activities. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 2003, 24(11): 1161-1166
10. Q Chen, W Wei. Effects and mechanisms of glucosides of chaenomeles speciosa on collagen-induced arthritis in rats. International Immunopharmacology. 2003, 3(4): 593-608
11. NP Wang, M Dai, H Wang, LL Zhang, W Wei. Anti-nociceptive effect of glucosides of Chaenomeles speciosa. Chinese Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2005, 19(3): 169-174
12. YQ Zheng, W Wei, NP Wang. Effects of chaenomeles speciosa glucosides on cyclophosphamide potentiated contact hypersensitivity in mice. Chinese Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2004, 18(6): 415-420
A. 中國科學院中國植物志編輯委員會﹒中國植物志﹒第三十六卷﹒北京:科學出版社﹒1974:348-352
D. 中華人民共和國藥典委員會﹒中華人民共和國藥典﹒北京:化學工業出版社﹒2005:41
E. 肖培根﹒新編中藥志﹒第二卷﹒北京:化學工業出版社﹒2000:107-111
F. 國家中醫藥管理局《中華本草》編委會﹒中華本草(第四冊)﹒上海:上海科學技術出版社﹒1999:115-119

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