Watermelon - The Melon King

Extract the golden sword, strike the jade vase,
Thousands of pieces of red cherries, a ball of yellow crystal.
The internal heat in the throat disappeared instantly,
The crack of ice and snow sounded between the teeth.
Talking about Shao Ping clearing the rich in Changan,
Who would like to compete for being the premier in the Han Dynasty?

[South Song Dynasty] Wen Tian Xiang: "The Watermelon Poem"

Another summer has arrived and, at the entrances of many supermarkets, various kinds of watermelons are nicely displayed, which has become a landmark. I remember that when I was a child, my father always took me to the local ground stall to buy watermelons. He could tell whether or not the melon was ripe or had mushy pulp just by thumping them. Nowadays any melons in the supermarket are good because of the perfect control of growth and harvesting, which avoids the process of choosing by customers, but the fun for it has also been missed.

The watermelon is sweet and juicy and is a very good fruit for summer, so it is called the King of Melons. The watermelon is also named the Summer Melon or the Cold Melon. In The Comprehensive Book for Agriculture by Xu Guangqi in the Ming Dynasty it says: "The Watermelon (Western Melon) was named after its origin in the western region." Li Shizhen recorded in the Ben Cao Gang Mu: "Hu Jiao got the melon seeds in Hui He, so it was named the Western Melon. The watermelon was introduced to China in the Five Generation Dynasty. Now they are planted in both the south and north." The reason for naming it the Cold Melon probably is because of its cold nature.

The watermelon is not only a popular fruit in summer, its juice and skin can also be used as medicines. The Ben Cao Gang Mu says that the watermelon "can relieve thirst and heat, cure a dry and painful throat, help urination, is good for constipation and resolves alcoholism". Traditional Chinese medicine calls the watermelon skin the jade cloth with a sweet taste and cold nature, which can cure a swollen throat and apotheosis. The root and leaves of the watermelon can be used to treat diarrhea and intestinal inflammation. The seeds of the watermelon have a warm nature and are good to generate saliva in mouth, which benefits the lungs and intestines.

A Chinese old saying says: "You don't need medicine if you always eat watermelon in the summer," which also tells of the benefits of watermelon.

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