1.1 What is a loquat?
The loquat (botanical name: Eriobotrya japonica, also known as Chinese plum, Japanese medlar or Japanese plum, Chinese Pinyin: Pi Pa, Simplified Chinese: 枇杷), is a species of small, evergreen, flowering, fruit bearing tree in genus Eriobotrya in the rose family, Rosaceae. The flowers are white, about 2 cm in diameter, with 5 petals. The edible fruits are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, small in size between 3-5 cm in diameter with yellow to orange skin. The plant can grow up to 10 m tall. Native to southeastern China and extensively cultivated in Asia (Japan, Korea, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka), habitats of loquat include valley, hillside, fields, shrubland and hill lands (usually from between 0 to 4,200 meters in elevation). Characteristics of loquat include ability to withstand cultivation at high altitudes, tolerance for shade, cold and drought.
Other simplified Chinese names for loquat include: 芦橘, 金丸, 芦枝.
1.2 How do loquats taste?
Loquat fruits have a soft texture with a flavor that is sweet, a mixture of peach, citrus and mild mango.
1.3 How is loquat used in traditional Chinese medicine?
The leaves of loquat are considered to have bitter, neutral and nontoxic properties and to be associated with lung and stomach meridians; the fruits of loquat are considered to have sweet, sour, neutral and nontoxic properties and be associated with lung and spleen meridians. They are used as antitussive, antiasthmatic and antidipticum in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as chronic cough.
1.4 How do I tell if my loquats are ripe?
Loquat fruits ripen in the trees, ripe loquat fruits are softened but still firmed, and in orange to yellow color, they are sweet and succulent.
1.5 Can loquat fruits be frozen for better storage?
Loquat fruits may be frozen or canned for extended storage. Remember to choose ripe but still firm fruits, wash them thoroughly, remove seeds and immerse the flesh into a 30% syrup (made of 1 ¾ cup sugar to 4 cups water) for freezing.
1.6 Is it easy to peel loquats?
Peeled loquats (Image source: pic.rt-mart.net)
Ripe loquats are softened and can be easily peeled for eating. Try not to chew and swallow the large seeds unless you really want to test your digestive tract.
2. Uses, Health Benefits of Loquats & Medical Formulas
2.1 Healthy Weight Loss
Loquat fruits are low in calorie, 100g of the fruits contains only 47 calories and 0.20g of fat according to USDA National Nutrient data base. In addition, its rich insoluble fiber which cannot be aborted will add to the stool and prevent constipation. Therefore, eating loquat fruits can help improve bowel movement and promote healthy weight loss.
2.2 Regulate Blood Cholesterol Levels
Enough evidence has accumulated to substantiate that one in four Americans has a cholesterol level that imparts an increased risk of premature coronary heart disease. Loquats contain dietary fiber, pectin, which can help to regulate blood cholesterol levels. Studies strongly indicate that pectin may have a direct, beneficial effect on atherosclerosis by a mechanism independent of cholesterol levels (profibe.com 2017).
2.3 Anti-Aging And Eye Health
Loquats are rich in Vitamin A, 100g of the fruits provide 51% of RDA of Vitamin A according to USDA National Nutrient data base which is much higher than many other fruits. Vitamin A protects us against UV damage and studies also repeatedly prove that antioxidants like Vitamin A are vital to eye health and vision protection.
2.4 Bone Health
Loquats are excellent source of some important minerals including Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Zinc. Among these minerals, manganese is a trace mineral but it is key to life. Our body contains only approximately 15 to 20 milligrams of manganese, most of which is found in bones. Two manganese deficiency symptoms are impaired bone growth or skeletal abnormalities, especially in children and excessive bone loss and weak hair and nails (healthsupplementsnutritionalguide.com 2017). Thus, eating loquats help to ensure bone growth in young people and prevent bone loss in the elderly.
2.5 Cough With Lung Heat
[CTM Formula] Pills made with loquat leaves, Akebia quinata stem, coltsfoot flower, Aster tataricus, apricots, the root bark of white mulberry, rheum officinale and honey is kept to dissolve against a gum to treat cough with lung heat.
2.6 Nausea And Vomiting
[CTM Formula] A decoction of loquat leaves, clove, ginseng and fresh ginger is taken orally to treat nausea and vomiting.
[CTM Formula] Loquat leaves and loquat seeds are powdered and taken with warm wine to treat a red swollen nose caused by rosacea.
The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.
The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.
Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.
List of reference
healthsupplementsnutritionalguide.com 2017 Manganese [online] link: http://www.healthsupplementsnutritionalguide.com/manganese/
profibe.com 2017 The Pectin Cholesterol Connection [online] link: http://profibe.com/research/pectin-cholesterol-connection-2.html