If you’ve ever been walking through Central-South China and stumbled across a small evergreen shrub or tree with bright orange fruit, then perhaps you’re familiar with loquat. Scientifically known as Eriobotrya japonica, loquat is popularly grown for its fruit, due to its delicious tangy flavor, sweet flesh, and delicious juices. Pear-shaped and slightly larger than a plum, the taste of the loquat fruit has been compared to a cross between mango and peach. This particular type of fruit may be native to China, but it was naturalized in Japan more than a millennia ago and has been spread to dozens of other countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, North America, South America, and the Mediterranean region.
The fruit of loquat is used to make jams and jellies and also eaten in its plain or dried form. The leaves of the plant have also been found to be beneficial when dried and brewed into a tea, which is a popular traditional remedy in Japan.
Poultices and salves can also be made with the crushed leaves, and then topically applied to wounds and aches. The diverse range of nutrients contained in loquat fruit and leaves, including pectin, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, make it very effective for boosting overall human health. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of loquat.
Health Benefits of Loquat
Blood Pressure Control: One of the many nutrients found in good supply within loquat is potassium, which acts as a vasodilator for the body’s cardiovascular system. By reducing the strain and pressure on the blood vessels and arteries, potassium is able to lower blood pressure and protect heart health. Potassium is often considered a brain booster, due to the increased flow of blood to the capillaries of the brain, which can improve cognition.
Diabetes Prevention: Loquat tea is often suggested as a means of preventing or treating diabetes, as blood sugar has been shown to significantly reduce in those who regularly ingest it. The unique organic compounds found in loquat tea are able to regulate the insulin and glucose levels, which helps protect the body against diabetes. Also, for those suffering from diabetes, avoiding spikes and drops in blood sugar is crucial, which this tea can also do.
Lower Cancer Risk: There are a number of antioxidants found within loquat that are beneficial for human health. Antioxidants are able to neutralize free radicals within the body that are generated as a natural byproduct of cellular metabolism. These molecules with their unpaired electrons can cause healthy cells to mutate, leading to chronic disease, including cancer. Loquat tea has specifically been linked to lower occurrence rates of lung and oral cancers.
Soothe Respiratory System: Expectorant substances are important in the treatment of colds and other respiratory infections. Loquat tea is used as an expectorant, either when drunk or gargled, as it can cause coughing and expulsion of mucus and phlegm. This is where bacteria can live and grow, while also exacerbating other symptoms, so eliminating that from your respiratory tract can help you feel better fast!
Immune System Health: Loquat is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is a key component of everyone’s immune system. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, the body’s first line of defense against pathogens, and also works as an antioxidant to prevent chronic illness. Furthermore, vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen, which aids growth and repair of tissues throughout the body following an illness or injury.
Digestion: Pectin is a particular type of dietary fiber found in loquat fruit, and it is often praised as a digestive aid. Dietary fiber can bulk up the stool and stimulate peristaltic motion, which helps with the regularity of bowel movements. If you suffer from constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, or other stomach disorders, dietary fiber can ease that inflammation and improve the health of your gut.
Cholesterol Levels: Although the precise mechanism isn’t fully understood, research has directly linked loquat with lower cholesterol levels in those subjects who regularly consumed the fruit and tea. This health benefit of loquat is very exciting, but also relatively unproven on a large scale, and studies to find out more are ongoing.
Strengthen Bones: Losing bone mineral density is a major problem for many people as they age, particularly for women following menopause. Fortunately, loquat has been shown to prevent bone density loss in various parts of the body, owing to its rich mixture of vitamins, nutrients, and hormone-mimicking chemical components.
Circulatory System: High iron levels in a person’s diet are important if they want to avoid anemia and its brutal symptoms. Iron is found in high concentrations within loquat, which is good news for your red blood cells. Iron is a necessary part of hemoglobin, which transports oxygenated red blood cells throughout the body, thus boosting circulation. This can speed healing, increase energy, and ensure that all your organ systems are working at full capacity
A Final Word of Warning: When we consume anything in high volumes, it can be toxic for one reason or another, but when you consume too much loquat leaf extract (a concentrated form occasionally sold in health food stores or naturally derived), a strange thing happens. People have reported toxic myopathy as a result, which consists of weakness and non-specific pain. Consume loquat and its derived products in moderation.