The loquat tree grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Also known as Japanese plum leaf, it belongs to the family Rosaceae, and appears similar to an evergreen tree. It is a moderately sized tree that grows up to 30 feet, and is indigenous to southeastern China. The tree produces round fruits, called Eriobotrya japonica, varying in colors from white to orange. They have a tangy taste, and are usually eaten fresh. They are covered with a thin peel, and used in preparing jams, jellies, pie, and sauces. The leaves are shiny and dark green, with a length of 5-12 inches, and width of 3-4 inches. The leaves are gathered in late spring and early summer, and dried under the sun. Their soft external hair are brushed off, and the leaves are cut into small pieces.
Leaves and fruits of the Loquat are loaded with vitamins and minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and ascorbic acid. Hence its extract has a great medicinal value.
Antioxidant Properties: Loquat leaf extract benefits our body in different ways. It acts as a mucolytic agent, and helps in diluting thick mucous in the body, that contains toxic substances. Its antioxidant properties have the ability to neutralize harmful toxins and eradicate free radicals from the body, that may otherwise lead to numerous health complications. Hence, the extract prevents various diseases, improves body’s immune system, and increases your life expectancy.
Fights Diabetes: Another important health benefit is that it helps to fight against diabetes. The leaf comprises variety of chemicals, known as triterpenes, of which tormentic acid has been known to reduce diabetes in the body. It also acts as an anti-diabetic agent, as it releases a set of natural bodily chemicals known as polysaccharides, which induce insulin production. Besides these, the extract also supports pancreas, either by supplementing their insulin production or by regenerating their cells.
Detoxifying Properties: These help the liver. The extract contains a substance called Amygdalin (B-17), which is known to fight liver disorders or malfunctions, and improves the liver’s ability to process and get rid of poisons or toxic substances from the body.
Combats Skin Problems: It reduces skin inflammation and prevents various skin disorders. The extract of the loquat is commonly used in many topical creams, and applied to fight against edema and histamine-induced skin contraction. Such creams not only heal skin inflammation or irritation, but also provide a soothing effect to it. The extract also helps fight skin cancer, as the leaf contains chemicals that can suppress the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce and grow.
Anti-Viral Properties: Research shows that loquat leaf releases a variety of acids that contain anti-viral properties. Megastigmane glycosides and polyphenolic constituents are two chemicals that have viral antigen properties. Moreover, the 2-alpha-hydoxyursolic acid from the leaf is also believed to have a restrictive effect on the HIV, though mild.
Other Benefits: When used in medicinal teas, loquat leaves help to reduce vomiting and thirst, and also alleviate diarrhea, depression, and swelling.
Since excess of anything is injurious to the body, the same is applicable to loquat leaf. However, to overcome the side effects, the recommended dosage is 4.5-12 grams of dried leaves, boiled in water and consumed as a tea or decoction. The dosage could be 15-30 grams if the leaves are fresh. After reading the aforementioned health benefits, I am sure you won’t forget to incorporate this nutritional herb in your diet.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and not intended to replace the advice offered by a medical expert.