Mu Gua (Fructus Chaenomelis)

What Is Mu Gua

Mu Gua commonly known as Fructus Chaenomelis is the nearly mature fruit of Chaenomeles speciosa, which is a deciduous shrub belonging to the family Rosacea. It is a relatively practical Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Mingyi Bie Lu> around 420-589 AD.

There are 5 species of Chaenomeles, namely Chaenomeles speciosa, Chaenomeles sinensis, Chaenomeles cathayensis, Chaenomeles thibetica, and Chaenomeles japonica. They are native to East Asia. Among them, some species have been introduced into some European and American countries as ornamental plants.

Chaenomeles speciosa commonly known as Flowering Quince is a medicinal and edible plant. This plant is light-loving, shade-tolerant, and cold-tolerant. They grow well in rich, well-drained loam soil. They are distributed in Sichuan, Hubei, Shandong, Anhui, Zhejiang, and other regions of China.

Among them, the Mu Gua from Xuancheng City, Anhui Province is the most famous. They are called Xuan Mu Gua. They have high medicinal value and rich nutrition and were often used as tribute in the feudal dynasties.

Chaenomeles speciosa

In summer and autumn, people gather the nearly mature fruits of Chaenomeles speciosa, remove impurities, scald them with boiling water to turn the outer skin gray-white, cut them in half lengthwise, dry them in the sun, cut them into slices, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Mu Gua contains oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, acetyl ursolic acid, maslinic acid, betulinic acid, betulin, chlorogenic acid, cinnamic acid, caffeic acid, methyl chlorogenate, 7,8-dihydroxy coumarin, p-coumaric acid, rutin, quercetin, hyperoside, kaempferol, epicatechin, protocatechuic acid, shikimic acid, citric acid, gallic acid, β-sitosterol, β-daucosterol, oils, amino acids, polysaccharides, and some trace elements.

Generally, reddish-brown or purple-red Mu Gua with irregular and deep shrinking lines, reddish-brown pulp, and a slightly fragrant is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Mu Gua is relatively warm, with a sour taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver and spleen meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to relieve rigidity of muscles and activate collaterals, regulate the stomach and resolve dampness, and treat rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, aching and heavy pain in the waist and knee joints, arthritis with fixed pain caused by dampness, muscular spasm, cholera, enteritis, beriberi, athlete’s foot, acute bacterial dysentery, acute viral hepatitis, tetanus, adhesive intestinal obstruction, and pediatric urinary tract infection.

There are more than 50 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Mu Gua Zhuang Gu Wan, Jiwu Gutong Capsule, and Qin Chuan Tong Bi Pian.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting xylene-induced mouse ear swelling and carrageenan-induced rat foot swelling.
  • Raising the pain threshold and inhibiting the pain caused by the hot plate experiment and glacial acetic acid experiment in mice.
  • Reducing CCL4-induced acute liver injury in mice and protecting the liver.
  • Reducing triglyceride levels and improving hepatic lipid deposition in mice with high-glucose and high-fat-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Inhibiting indomethacin-induced gastric mucosal injury in mice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced small intestinal injury in mice.
  • Increasing the phagocytic percentage and phagocytic index of peritoneal macrophages in mice, the number of T lymphocytes in peripheral blood, and enhancing immunity.
  • Relieving rigidity of muscles and activating collaterals, treating stiffness of neck and neck muscle spasms caused by wind-dampness.
  • Treating aching and heavy pain in the waist and knee joints, the inability to walk and stand for a long time caused by wind-dampness.
  • Eliminating dampness, and relieving swelling and pain caused by athlete’s foot.
  • Regulating the stomach, and treating abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps caused by turbid damp retention in middle-jiao.
  • Promoting digestion, improving appetite, and indigestion.
  • Promoting fluid production and treating thirst caused by the consumption of body fluids.
  • Inhibiting the growth of human melanoma cell A375 and mouse melanoma cell B16, and the proliferation of gastric cancer HGG-27 and SGC7901 cells.
  • Inhibiting Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Studies have found that its suspension has an intervening protective effect on cigarette smoke-induced lung injury in mice, which can reduce the inflammatory response and lung tissue edema caused by lung injury in mice to a certain extent.


Side Effects

At present, there are no reports in the literature that Mu Gua has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

If you need to take it for a long time, please consult a professional doctor and formulate a reasonable medication plan.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Mu Gua should be controlled at 6-9g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, medicinal liquors, or lotions.
  • People who are allergic to Mu Gua should not take it.
  • Patients should avoid taking iron or lead-containing medicines while taking the medicine.
  • People with stagnant heat should not take it.
  • People with scanty dark urine should not take it.
  • Patients with hyperacidity should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.