Fruits

  




Loquat 

 
Latin: Eriobotrya japonica
 
Origin:
The fruit of the subtropical plant Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.)Lindl., of the Rose (Rosaceae) family, it is related to the apple and other well-known fruit trees of the temperate zone. Ornamental in appearance and rarely more than 10 metres in height, the evergreen loquat is frequently planted in parks and gardens.

The leaves, clustered toward the ends of the branches, are thick and stiff, elliptic to lanceolate in form, 200íV250 mm in length, with coarsely serrate margins. The fruits are borne in large, loose clusters; individually they are round, obovoid, or pear-shaped, 25íV75 mm in length, with a tough, yellow to bronze, plumlike skin enclosing juicy, whitish to orange-colored flesh surrounding three or four large seeds. The flavor is agreeably tart, suggesting that of several other fruits of the same family.

Though its native home is probably central eastern China, the loquat tree was introduced into Japan, where it was much developed horticulturally and is still highly valued. Some superior Japanese varieties reached Europe, the Mediterranean area, and a few other regions. The loquat is grown commercially (usually on a rather small scale) in many subtropical regions. They grow well on various soils, from sandy loams to clays, and come into bearing at three or four years.

The fruit is produced in winter and early spring, it is up to 4 cm in diameter. The leaves are harvested as required and can be used fresh or dried. The hairs should be removed from the leaves in order to prevent irritation of the throat.

The fruit, kernel and tender leaves are all used for medicinal purposes.
 
Properties:
Sweet, slightly sour in flavor, cool in nature, it is related to the channels of the lung and stomach. The immature loquat fruit is sour in flavor, and is related to the liver channel.
 
Functions:
Moistens the lungs and relieves coughing, promotes the secretion of body fluids and eliminates thirst, soothes the stomach and pushes down the uprising qi, pacifies the liver and clears heat.

The tender leaves, free of hair, are antitussive (cough suppressant) and eliminate sputum.
 
Applications:
1. For difficult urination with dry throat:

Consume 250 g fresh loquat flesh (pulp) in two equal parts, in morning and evening.

2. For chronic coughing:

a) Pound 15 g loquat seed and then boil in water with 3 thin slices of ginger. Drink 50 ml of the solution, 2-3 times a day. A little honey may also be mixed.

b) Decoct 20 g dry loquat leaves for 15 minutes. Drink the solution as one would tea.

3. For chronic bronchitis:

Boil 75 g loquat leaves and 125 g calyx of eggplant in 3,000 ml water until 2,000 ml remain. Add sugar to make 240 ml syrup. Administer 10 ml, 3 times a day, with 20 days constituted as a therapeutic course.

It is reported in "Eating Your Way to Health" that a group of 167 cases taking this recipe, 42 (25 percent) were clinically controlled, 60 (36 percent) markedly effective, 35 (20 percent) ameliorated, with only 30 (18 percent) ineffective.
 
Dosage and Administration:
The fruit can be eaten raw, cooked or preserved.

A slightly acid, sweet aromatic flavor, they can be eaten out of hand or cooked in pies, sauces, jellies, etc. Loquat pie, if made from fruit that is not fully ripe, is said to taste like cherry pie.

The seed, when cooked, has a pleasant flavor. Caution is advised if the seed is bitter. See notes at Caution below.

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.
 
Cautions on Use:
The seed is slightly poisonous. This report probably refers to the hydrogen cyanide that is found in many plants of this family. The seed should only be used in small amounts if it is bitter. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
Loquat's flesh contains water, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, malic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, tannate, carrotene, vitamins A, B and C.

Its leaves and kernel contain amygdalin, nerolidol and famesol.

The fruit is analgesic (insensibility to pain), antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, expectorant, and sedative.

The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East, it is the ingredient of many patent medicines.

The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent and expectorant. A decoction of the leaves or young shoots is used as an intestinal astringent and as a mouthwash in cases of thrush and also in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, feverish colds, etc.

The flowers are expectorant.
 
 
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