Although this fruit is also called Japanese loquat to set it apart from the European variety, it originated in Southern China. However, its adequate acclimation to Japan has turned it into one of the country’s most representative trees, as much for the loquat fruit benefits as for its appealing and ornamental value.
Loquat Scientific Facts
- Synonyms: Japanese medlar; Japanese plum, Tanaka
- French: Nefle
- Spanish: Nispero, nispera;
- German: Mispel
- Description: Fruit of ‘Eriobotrya japonica’ Lindl., an evergreen tree of the botanical family Rosaceae, reaches 5 meters. Trees are also used as ornamental
- Habitat: Loquacity are grown widely in Japan. The tree has spread throughout Southeast Asia, the countries surrounding the Mediterranean, and hot regions on the American continent, such as California and Florida. It adapts equally well to subtropical and temperate climates.
Loquat Fruit Benefits: Preparation and Dosage
- Fresh is the best way to eat loquats. They must be ripe. If they are not, they are very acidic.
- Compostes and jams: The use of these products is not common, although it is the only way to eat loquats other than during the spring months. Unfortunately, they lose most of their properties when prepared in this way.
- Loquat treatment: This is done in spring and consists of eating from 1 to 2 kilos of loquats a day as the primary food for 2-3 days. They may be accompanied by small amounts of toasted bread or crackers.
Medicinal Properties and Indications
Some are a little disappointed when they open a loquat and find that half of its volume is seeds. However, that opinion quickly changes when they taste the succulent fruit, even when it is only a portion of the whole.
The sugars fructose and levulose make 10.4% of its edible portion. Their fat and protein content is negligible (0.2% and 0.4%, respectively).
Vitamin A (in the form of provitamin) is the most abundant, with 153 mg RE/100 g. B complex vitamins, C, and E, are present, although in small amounts.
In terms of minerals, loquats contain significant iron, calcium, and magnesium, although potassium is the most abundant. Loquats supply few calories, but abundant water and mineral salts, which bolster their diuretic action.
- Diabetes: Lab experiments show that loquat extracts reduced the level of sugar in the urine of diabetic rats. Sesquiterpene glucosides and triterpenoids, non-nutritive substances present in loquats, have been identified as those responsible for this anti-diabetic action.
According to studies carried out at the Autonomous University of Mexico, Loquat’s anti-diabetic effect has also been demonstrated in humans. It makes sense, then, to recommend liberal use of loquats in cases of diabetes. As is the issue with other fruits, sugar does not affect their appropriateness for those suffering from this disease. Fruits and other plant-based foods still have many secrets and continue to surprise researchers.
- Liver disorders: A loquat treatment in the springtime gives good results in cases of chronic liver disease: hepatitis, fatty deterioration of the liver, and cirrhosis. It may be repeated every two or three weeks.
A loquat treatment decongests the liver and reduces its volume in the case of hepatomegalia (enlargement of the liver). It also reduces ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity), which often accompanies liver degeneration. It is unknown which of the loquat’s components is responsible for these beneficial effects, and research continues to that end.
- Infectious diarrhea: (gastroenteritis, enterocolitis, and colitis). Loquats have a mild astringent and normalizing effect on the digestive tract. They also provide water and restore mineral salts. They are highly recommended as a first solid food after periods of fasting or liquid diet necessary in cases of infectious diarrhea. One may eat up to a kilo of well-ripened loquats a day, bearing in mind that they are only available in the spring.
- Kidney disorders: The loquat is an effective diuretic, increasing urine production, and facilitating the elimination of uric sediments through the kidneys. Loquats are recommended for gout, excess uric acid, kidney stones (particularly urate stones), and kidney failure because of their low protein and significant mineral content.
- Common cold: It has been demonstrated that one of the types of substances in loquats, triterpenic esters, has a significant antiviral effect, particularly against the rhinoviruses that cause the common cold. Eating loquats in the spring to prevent and cure colds is highly recommended. Unfortunately, the antiviral effects of loquats do not act on the AIDS virus.
Loquats Nutrition Facts and Composition
|Energy||47.0 kcal = 196 kj|
|Vitamin A||153 ug RE|
|Vitamin B1||0.019 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.024 mg|
|Niacin||0.263 mg NE|
|Vitamin B6||0.100 mg|
|Vitamin C||1.00 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.890 mg a-TE|
|Total Fat||0.200 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.040 g|
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 298, 299. Print. [loquat fruit benefits]