Peaches (Prunus persica, P. vulgaris) are a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family and a close relative of almonds and apples. Nectarines are basically peaches, without the fuzz. Peaches are believed to be native to China, though they were originally called Persian apples, as they also grew there. The word peach is from the Latin word for Persian. In the Taoist tradition, peaches are considered a fruit of immortality and to this day are consumed as a longevity fruit.
Peaches have been used to treat acidosis, anemia, asthma, atherosclerosis, constipation, cough, gastritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, indigestion, kidney stones, nephritis (kidney inflammation), obesity, ulcers, and to rid the body of intestinal worms. They are used to improve skin tone, lubricate the intestines, strengthen the lungs, promote circulation and reduce excess perspiration.
Peaches are cool, sweet and sour. They are antioxidant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, and laxative. Peaches are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, boron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and flavonoids.
Look for fruits free of blemishes. Yielding to pressure indicates ripeness. They will ripen faster if placed in a paper bag and sealed for a day or two. Store ripe unwashed peaches in the refrigerator. Enjoy peaches alone, in fruit salads, cold soups, ice creams, jams, pies and cobblers. . Mashed peaches can be applied as a facial for radiant skin. In the Orient peach kernels are used to inhibit cancer cells, though large amounts can be toxic.