Other names: Lucerne

Scientific name: Cydonia oblonga

Common names:

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Mu gua

Bangladesh names: Bahidana

Arabic names:    سفرجل (safarjal)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Roseaceae

Approximate number of species known: 3 known species

Common parts used: Seeds, Fruit

Collection:  The fruit is collected in Autumn, the seeds are then used

Annual/Perennial: Annual & Perennial Plant

Height: 8-15 feet

Actions:  Astringent, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, laxative, emollient

Known Constituents:  Mucilage, tannin, fatty oils, pectin, amygdalin, Vitamin C

Constituents Explained:

Description: In Japanese medicine the ripe fruits are harvested in autumn and dried in the sun. The drug is seen as analgesic, anti-spasmodic and antitussive. A decoction is considered highly effective at combating respiratory infections and fortifying a weak constitution.  For the most part, Karin is used as a domestic antitussive and expectorant agent used to treat coughs and colds. A number of homemade medicines are produced by country people to treat respiratory infections. The ripe fruits are either boiled with sugar to make a syrup, or soaked in clear, strong alcohol and then sweetened to make an alcohol based syrup. Both the syrup and the liquor are considered to be nutritive tonics and soothing anti-cough agents ideal when coughs and colds strike.  The famous Japanese illustrated encyclopedia ‘Wakansansaizue’ published three hundred years ago mentions using Karin to treat coughs and phlegm. The recipe suggests the juice of Karin and the root of ginger be made into a paste. The paste is then sweetened with sugar. This ancient cough remedy is still made and used in Japan today.

Traditional Use:

A tree whose fruit is an astrigent and slight sedative.1  The Quince seeds act as a light laxative, but can soothe and stop diarrhea when needed.  Used for the chest area as an expectorant.

Externally applied to skin, particulary in the case of burns.  The juice has been used as a gargle.1

Clinical Studies:

A study determined the phenolic content and evaluate the antioxidant activity of quince (Cydonia oblonga) fruit. For this purpose, fruits were separated into pulps, peels and seeds and methanolic extracts were prepared. 

The phenolic profiles were determined by HPLC/UV and antioxidant properties were studied for their ability to quench the stable free radical 2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and to inhibit the 2,2′-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH)-induced oxidative hemolysis of human erythrocytes. 

The main phenolic compounds were 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid for pulp and peel (57% and 29%, respectively) and stellarin-2 for seed (18%). Total phenolics content was 2.5, 6.3 and 0.4g/kg of methanolic extract for pulp, peel and seed, respectively.

Pulp and peel extracts showed similar DPPH free radical scavenging activities (EC(50) of 0.6 and 0.8 mg/ml, respectively), while seed extract presented much lower antioxidant potential. Under the oxidative action of AAPH, pulp and peel extracts showed significant protection of the erythrocyte membrane from hemolysis, in a time- and concentration-dependent manner.

Seed extracts by themselves induced extensive hemolysis. These results indicate higher antioxidant activity for certain parts of quince fruit, namely pulp and peel, that may therefore represent accessible sources of natural antioxidants with potential application in nutritional/pharmaceutical fields, as preventive or therapeutic agents in diseases in which free radicals are implicated.


Magalhaes AS, Silva BM, Pereira JA, Andrade PB, Valentao P, Carvalho M. “Protective Effect Of Quince (Cydonia Oblonga Miller) Fruit Against Oxidative Hemolysis Of Human Erythrocytes.” 2009 June http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19306906