Have you ever been to South China? If the answer is yes, have you ever stumbled upon a small shrub with orange fruit? This exotic fruit loaded with vitamins and minerals is called loquat. Loquat is one of the first fruits to be cultivated in Asia and is often referred to in Chinese mythology.
Loquat is sweet, and its flavor is a blend of peach, citrus, and mango. This evergreen shrub is known by various names like Japanese medlar, Japanese plum, and Chinese plum. It has been grown originally in China. Now, this fruit is grown throughout the world. However, Japan is the leading producer of loquat as far as its production is concerned; followed by Israel and Brazil.
In around 1100AD, the loquat tree was first documented in China. According to Chinese history, in the past 1000 years, different parts of the loquat tree have been used as folk medicines(1). Research shows that the extracts of this fruit contain many antioxidants that can treat diabetes, inflammation, cancer, aging, pain, bacterial infection, allergy, and other health issues.
This tree is adapted to a sub-tropical climate and is found in Kashmir, where it grows naturally at high altitudes. At least 14 varieties of loquat cultivate in India, and all vary in quality, size, shape, acidity, and sweetness. Take a bite of loquat and read along. We explain the health benefits of this fruit and much more.
What is Loquat?
In general, the loquat tree blooms in fall and bears fruits in early spring. The fruit belongs to the Rosacea family, and its scientific name is Eriobotrya Japonica. It can be mainly consumed raw or added to inevitable flavored jams. The leaves are also used to prepare tea that relaxes your body when consumed. Loquat fruits have been used in ethnomedicine for numerous diseases, since time immemorial. This fruit can treat many diseases including Asthma, common cold, diabetes, and another day to day various diseases. It also has pharmaceutical value as it possesses several properties including anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic benefits.
[Read: Benefits of Banana]
Is Loquat Toxic for Health?
The seeds and leaves of the loquat have toxic properties. They contain cyanogenic glycosides which release cyanide. Poisoning generally occurs because of ingestion of bones. It is advisable to avoid the seeds or tea prepared from these seeds during pregnancy. Here are some symptoms that indicate intoxication because of loquat seeds ingestion:
- Breath with odor of bitter almonds.
- Cyanotic color along with choking. If this symptom is present, contact the doctor immediately.
- If consumed in large quantities, it may cause respiratory failure and sometimes death.
However, the low concentration of the components above and the bitter taste prevents people from consuming the seeds.
Loquat Nutritional Composition
Fresh Fruit: Nutritional Value per 100 g
Percentage of RDA
|Total Fat||0.20 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.70 g||4%|
|Vitamin A||1528 IU||51%|
|Vitamin C||1 mg||2%|
According to an article, A Critical Review on Loquat, published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives, the below table illustrates the nutritional value of the fruit per 100g.
The fruit is rich in sugar, pectin, and acid. It is comparatively high in potassium and high in sodium, vitamin A and fiber. According to an article published in Purdue University, the fruit(2) contains laevulose, sucrose, and malic acid and lesser amounts of citric, tartaric and succinic acid. The pulp contains the carotenoids B-carotene (33%); y-carotene (6%); kryptoxanthin (22%), lutein, violaxanthin, neoxanthin (3-4% each). The peel is five times richer than the pulp in carotenoids which are like those in apricots.
10 loquat benefits for Enhancing Your Health
There are numerous health benefits of loquat fruit. Let us have a look at some of them
1. Boosts Immunity
Loquat fruit is rich in Vitamin C. It acts as an antioxidant that can reduce risks associated with some chronic diseases. This, in turn, increases immunity and prevents attacks from various deadly diseases.
2. Prevents Indigestion
The most common disease nowadays is indigestion. For the alleviation of this disease, it is important to take dietary fiber. This loquat fruit is enriched with dietary fiber, thus enhancing digestion. It also regulates irregular bowel movements. Also, loquat fruit treats the inflammation of the gut.
3. Regulates High Blood Pressure
It is known that potassium regulates high blood pressure levels. This mineral alleviates pressure on blood vessels and arteries. The loquat fruit contains loads of potassium and is naturally used for treating high blood pressure.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Reduce Blood Pressure]
4. Prevents Risks of Cancer
Free radicals contribute to the rapid growth of cancerous cells. Food rich in antioxidants combat these free radicals. Organic fruits like loquat and some vegetables are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants also help in minimizing the risks of lung and oral cancer.
5. For Respiratory Health
The fruit along with its tea is useful for improving respiratory health. The tea is a natural way by which phlegm and mucus are expelled from the lungs. It also works as an expectorant when it comes to treating respiratory problems.
There are some known and tried benefits of the loquat leaves as well. Here is a consolidated list of these excellent benefits, researched over the years.
The leaves produce a chemical known as triterpenes and an acid called tormentic acid. It gives the leaves an anti-diabetic potential. The Chinese government has also approved the consumption of loquat leaves for diabetes as they simulate insulin in the pancreas.
7. Liver Support
The liver is the powerhouse that eliminates toxins from the body. There is a component called Amygdalin present in the loquat fruit which supports the liver. The presence of linoleic acids also enhances liver functioning.
8. For Eczema and other Skin Complaints
The leaves are a natural remedy for irritation and redness caused by environmental allergies. They treat the allergies primarily caused by histamine. It combats the histamine and soothes the skin. The antioxidant properties prevent the skin from getting damaged radically. Also, the anti-inflammatory behavior of loquat combats many allergies.
9. For Brain Health
The powerful antioxidants help in improving brain health. A study published in 2011 demonstrated that mice fed with the extract of these leaves exhibited significant improvement in brain activity and helped in preventing oxidative damage to the brain.
10. Bone Strength
The strength of our bones starts decreasing with age. Especially for women in the menopause zone, experience more weakness in the bones because of the depleted estrogen level. A recent study conducted on mice (with ovaries removed) suggested that there was a significant improvement in bones around the lumbar area and the head.
DIY Loquat Recipes
Loquat leaf tea
There are many health benefits one can reap when it comes to loquat tea recipe.
We will tell you the step-by-step procedure to make this tea.
You will need the following to make a hot cup of tea.
- Two cups Filtered Water
- Two 4-inch Loquat Leaves (new growth leaves preferred)
- Scrape off the furry portion of leaves using fingernails.
- Take a stainless-steel vessel and combine water and minced tea leaves.
- Bring it to a boil, when it reduces simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from stove and cover the tea for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea. Serve hot or cold with ice as you wish.
- Enjoy this with a splash of bourbon or some whiskey.
Loquat fruit is a magic fruit that treats various diseases from top to bottom. Loquat fruit has its ways of treating each one of them. It is full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which are the need of the hour today. Nothing can be as simple as consuming fruit and feeling healthier and better over some time. Imagine someone complimenting that you look more youthful and look brighter than ever before. You feel on top of this world right. Eat this fruit right, and you will get many of these compliments.