The Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a native of the rainforests of southeastern China, from where it spread to Japan, across Europe, and to the Americas. It’s possible to walk down a Southern California street and see the beautiful, bush-like evergreens. The small juicy, sweet (with a touch of tang) fruit is not only tasty, it is full of nutrients and other beneficial ingredients.

Other Names for Loquats

Loquats, like apples, strawberries and pears, are members of the Rose family (Rosaceae). The fruit goes by a number of names, including; Japanese plums, Japanese medlars, nisperos and Maltese plums.

Nutritional Content of Loquat

Loquats pack quite a nutritional punch for one small fruit. Below we will explore in more detail:

Vitamins in Loquats

One large fruit provides 6% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, and a cupful contains more than half of an adult’s requirement. Vitamin A is the secret to healthy skin, mucous membranes and eyes. Most of the B Vitamins complex is found in loquats. They are, in particular, a good source of vitamin B6.

Minerals in Loquats

Loquats contain Iron, CopperCalciumManganese and Potassium. The first two minerals are essential for red blood cell formation. Calcium and manganese are vital for bone strength. Potassium is a powerhouse that lowers blood pressure (thereby preventing strokes), relieves headaches and colic, and benefits arthritis, colitis, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

Antioxidants in Loquats

Flavonoid antioxidants are found in abundance. Chlorogenic acid, one type of these oxygen-free-radical busters, is more strongly concentrated in ripe fruits. Among the benefits are a reduced likelihood of high blood pressure, certain eye diseases, heart problems and some types of cancer.

Omega Oils in Loquats

Loquats are full of both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These monounsaturated fats are good for the heart, and also keep brain function at an optimum level.

Dietary Fiber

Pectin is a complex carbohydrate and a natural component found in the cell walls of many fruits, including Loquats. Pectin, an insoluble dietary fiber, is a natural laxative which works by keeping moisture in the colon. Toxic substances are thus removed before they can damage the colon’s mucous membrane. What’s more, there is less time for this organ to bind with substances that can cause cancer.

In addition, pectin lessens the rate of cholesterol’s re-absorption in the colon, which benefits those whose blood cholesterol is too high. Dietary fiber also plays an important role in weight loss. Loquats are extremely low in calories, fewer than 10 calories in each piece of fruit.

Loquat Leaves

Lush, dark green foliage makes the Loquat tree a thing of beauty. The leaves provide many benefits to health and well-being. Even more than the fruit, the loquat tree’s greenery provides protection and relief from numerous disorders.

Loquat leaves are a major weapon in the arsenal against adult-onset, or type 2, diabetes. The tormentic acid in loquat leaves boosts insulin production, while loquat leaf extract lowers glucose levels. (Wang, Z., Wang, W., and Chan, P. Treating type 2 diabetes mellitus with traditional Chinese and Indian medicinal herbs. Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine 2013, 17 pages)

The leaves are powerful cholesterol-reducing and antioxidant agents. The foliage is also a demonstrated liver-function booster and a proven cancer-fighter. Oral and breast tumors are two types that are responsive to loquat leaf extract. In addition, this extract is antiviral, thanks to its phytochemicals; even HIV is susceptible.

Antispasmodic Effects of Loquats

Loquat leaves are an effective anti-spasmodic, which is beneficial to pregnant women afflicted by morning sickness. A tonic made by boiling the leaves is a thirst-quencher and a guard against sunstroke.

The therapeutic benefits of this solution extend to treatment of various types of wounds. (Singh, B et. al. Pharmacological potential of Eriobotrya japonica: an overview. International Research Journal of Pharmacy 2010;1:95-99 and Kim, M et al. Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) extracts suppress the adhesion, migration and invasion of human breast cancer cell line. Nutritional Research and Practice 2009:4(259-264)

Loquats Reduce Inflammation

Another effect of the extract of these remarkable leaves is of far-reaching benefit. Patients living with the autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and other diseases in which inflammation plays a role, find relief from their symptoms when taking Loquat leaves.

In addition, the progression of the maladies themselves may be positively affected. (Prasad, P. et. al. Age-Associated chronic diseases require age-old medicine: role of chronic inflammation. Preventive Medicine 2012;54:S29-S37.)

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Loquat Herb Notes / Side Effects

While loquats can be enjoyed as a tasty and nutritious fruit, it’s essential to consume them in moderation and avoid ingesting the seeds and leaves to minimize the risk of adverse effects. While they are generally considered safe to eat in moderation, consuming large amounts may lead to some side effects for certain individuals:

Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to loquats, experiencing symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing. Individuals with known sensitivities to birch pollen or other fruits in the Rosaceae family (such as apples, peaches, or cherries) may be more likely to experience allergic reactions to loquats.

Gastrointestinal issues: Eating excessive amounts of loquats may cause digestive discomfort, including diarrhea, stomach upset, or bloating, especially in individuals with sensitive stomachs or those prone to digestive issues.

Potential toxicity: While the fruit pulp is generally safe to eat, loquat seeds and leaves contain compounds such as amygdalin, which can release cyanide when metabolized. Ingesting large quantities of seeds or leaves may lead to cyanide poisoning, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, confusion, and in severe cases, respiratory distress or even death. It’s essential to avoid consuming the seeds and leaves of loquats.

Interactions with medications: Loquat leaves are sometimes used in traditional medicine or herbal remedies, including teas or supplements. However, they may interact with certain medications or exacerbate underlying health conditions. Individuals taking prescription medications or with pre-existing medical conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before using loquat leaves medicinally.

If you experience any concerning symptoms after consuming loquats or suspect an allergic reaction, seek medical attention promptly.

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