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  • Pyrus malus L.
  • Rose family

Common Names


Parts Usually Used

Fruit and bark

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

The apple tree is a small deciduous tree with a dense crown and gray bark. The twigs are downy at first; toothed, elliptical pointed leaves grow with pink-flushed, white flowers on short side twigs. Flowers open with the leaves. Fruits are rounded green apples, depressed at each end, ripens in the fall.

Where Found

Cultivated throughout much of North America and naturalized in eastern United States, on the prairies, in southern Canada and the Pacific states.

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, laxative, diuretic

Biochemical Information

Carbohydrates, sodium, magnesium

Legends, Myths and Stories

Apples are rightly called the King of Fruits.

A case is reported of a man who saved apple seeds until he had accumulated a cupful. He then ate the entire amount and died.

In the 2nd century, Galen, the famous court physician to the emperors and the gladiators, prescribed apple wine as a cure-all for nearly every ailment.

Eating an apple a day and getting proper exercise will change your life from ill health to healthy. Most people overeat, causing ill health with the over-indulgence.

The Chinese word for apple (P. malus) is Lin-ch'in.

Apples are thought to originate in Southwest Asia, in the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The diggings of Stone Age lake dwellers in central Europe show apple usage long before recorded history. The origin of the Trojan War was attributed to "the apple of discord", a golden apple down in front of an assembly of gods by the goddess of hate, Eris. Inscribed on the apple were the words (For the Fairest). Hera, wife of Zeus, queen of the gods; Athene, goddess of wisdom; and Aphrodite, goddess of love; all wanted the apple. Paris, son of the King of Troy, was to decide which goddess got the apple. Hera offered him power and riches; Athene offered wisdom and fame; Aphrodite promised to give him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris, with Aphrodite's help, abducted Helen, the wife of a Greek king. His refusal to return her started the Trojan War.

Grimm's Fairy Tales have at least four stories (taken from old folk tales) involving apples, including Snow White.

The lives of William Tell and Johnny Appleseed can also be considered in the folk tradition although they involved real people.

In Gerard's time, an ointment made of pulp of apples, swine's grease and rosewater was sold in shops to beautify face and take away roughness of skin. The juice of sour apples was rubbed on warts to remove them.


Apples regulate the digestive system, preventing constipation and stopping diarrhea; also neutralizing the effects of rich fatty foods. They help purify the blood, clear gout and rheumatism, and prevent gallstones. They also help to keep the teeth clean.

Tea made from apple tree bark is an old fashioned remedy. It is said to be a tonic, relieves biliousness and intermittent fever, helps digestion (too much stomach acid, eat sweet apples; not enough stomach acid, eat sour apples), dysentery, boils, insect stings, rabid dog bites, and toothache.

Peeled and grated apple relieves flatulence and diarrhea. A fasting diet of 1 or 2 days of unripe apples should do the job. As a laxative, eat 2 or more apples, very effective. Apple peels can be dried and made into a tea, recommended for rheumatism, regulates blood sugar in diabetes. Apple wine is an ancient cure-all, mentioned by Galen in the 2nd century AD. Wine at least 2 years old should be used. Apple juice will turn to apple cider and if aged will become hard apple cider with alcoholic content.

Studies show that apples can reduce blood cholesterol levels. According to one reference, the ordinary apple cider is not fit to be used.

Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. dried apple peels with 1 cup simmering water. Take from 1 to 3 cups a day.

For diarrhea, eat a grated, peeled apple. Dried apple peels simmered in warm water help regulate digestion. For maximum benefit, eat 1 to 2 medium-sized apples every day.

Nutrient Content

Carbohydrates, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and iron salts

How Sold

In any supermarket


Apple seeds eaten in large quantities can be poisonous.

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