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Quince

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  • Botanical: Cydonia oblonga
  • Family: Rosaceae
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Quince

Botanical

Cydonia oblonga

Family

Rosaceae

Known as

Quitte

Old Use

C. vulgaris. Pyrus cydonia.

Parts Used

flowers, fruit

Aroma

balsamic, clean, fruity

Medicinal

antiseptic, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, burns, colds, coughs, digestion, respiratory, sore throat, mouth sores

Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, difficulty breathing, pharyngitis, sore throat, tonsillitis

Stomach & Intestinal

bowel cleansing, diarrhea, digestion, gastrointestinal, stomach pain, stomach cramps, ulcers

Skin & Hair

burns

Properties

anti inflammatory, astringent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, stimulant, tonic

Description

The tree grows 5 to 8 metres (16 and a half feet to 26 feet) high and 4 to 6 metres (13 feet to 19 and a half feet) wide. The fruit is 7 to 12 centimetres (3 to 5 inches) long and 6 to 9 centimetres (2 to 3 and a half inches) across.

The immature fruit is green with dense grey-white pubescence, most of which rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard, strongly perfumed flesh. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6–11 cm (2–4 in) long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm (2 in) across, with five petals.

Properties & Uses

The stem bark is astringent, it is used in the treatment of ulcers. The seed is a mild but reliable laxative, astringent and anti-inflammatory. When soaked in water, the seed swells up to form a mucilaginous mass. This has a soothing and demulcent action when taken internally and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, especially in children. This mucilage is also applied externally to minor burns etc. The fruit is antivinous, astringent, cardiac, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, peptic, refrigerant, restorative, stimulant and tonic. The unripe fruit is very astringent, a syrup made from it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and is particularly safe for children. The fruit, and its juice, can be used as a mouthwash or gargle to treat mouth ulcers, gum problems and sore throats. The leaves contain tannin and pectin. Tannin can be used as an astringent whilst pectin has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system and helps to reduce blood pressure.

Other Uses

A mucilage obtained from the seed coat is used as a gum arabic substitute to add gloss to material. The seed contains 20% mucilage and 15% fatty oils. The fruit is rich in pectin. Pectin is said to protect the body against radiation. The leaves contain 11% tannin.

Fruit - raw or cooked. When grown in warm temperate or tropical climates, the fruit can become soft and juicy and is suitable for eating raw. In cooler climates such as Britain, however, it remains hard and astringent and needs to be cooked before being eaten. It is used in jellies, preserves etc. The cooked fruit adds a delicious flavour to cooked apples. Strongly aromatic with a firm but rather gritty flesh. The fruit is rich in pectin. The fruit is about 10m long and 9cm wide, tapering to the stalk. A drink can be made by adding the dried crushed seed to water, simmering for 5 minutes and sweetening to taste.

Cautions

The seed is poisonous. Like many of the species in the family Rosaceae it contains hydrogen cyanide (this is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic flavour). In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Distribution

It is native to rocky slopes and woodland margins in South-west Asia, Turkey and Iran although it can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. It should not be confused with its relative, the Flowering Quince, (Chaenomeles).

Constituents

3-O-caffeoylquinic, 4-O-caffeoylquinic, 5-O-caffeoylquinic and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acids, lucenin-2, vicenin-2, stellarin-2, isoschaftoside, schaftoside, 6-C-pentosyl-8-C-glucosyl chrysoeriol and 6-C-glucosyl-8-C-pentosyl chrysoeriol.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.