Pears (Pyrus communis) are native to Asia, in the region of The Caspian Sea. They are members of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family, and close relatives of apples and peaches. Once called "butter fruit," the genus name pyrus is from the Latin meaning "pear tree" and the species name, communis means "common."
Pears are cool, sweet and mildly sour. Pears are diuretic. They help tonify the intestines, lubricate dryness and dissolve uric acid, helping to reduce swollen joints. Pears are considered cooling, a yin tonic and alkaline. Pears are used to treat acidosis, alcoholism, diabetes, lower cholesterol, dizziness, gallstones, hypertension, mucus conditions, nephritis, colitis, constipation, diverticulitis, gastritis, indigestion, irritable bowel, obesity, difficulty in urination, blurred vision, lost voice, and tinnitus.
Pears are a good source of beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C, boron, calcium, iodine, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Pears are a good source of water-soluble fiber, even higher than apples.
Pears are picked early and will ripen at home if left at room temperature or placed in a paper bag. Pears are ripe when they yield to pressure. Once ripe, store pears in the refrigerator.
Enjoy pears in fruit salads, in pies, puddings, sorbets, smoothies, juiced, and simply, as a snack. Pears add a natural sweetness to any dish. Most of the nutrients are concentrated in the skin, so buy organic pears so you can avoid chemical contaminations. Dried pears, unless from a health food store are likely to contain sulfites, which can cause allergic reactions in those susceptible.
Pears are sweet and it is best to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after consumption, to deter dental problems. Use only in moderation during pregnancy as pears are cooling and can increase the risk of miscarriage according to oriental medicine.