What Are The Health Benefits Of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)?

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Science and Nature

This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Where did loquat originate from? What does loquat symbolize? Is loquat native to Australia? Is loquat fruit poisonous? Can you eat too many loquats? Is loquat good for skin? How much vitamin C is in a loquat? What is the benefit of drinking loquat tea?

History of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a large evergreen shrub or tree, grown commercially for its orange fruit and for its leaves for tea originated from China and imported to Japan during Tang dynasty at early medieval ages (known as "biwa cha" in Japan), and also cultivated as an ornamental plant. The loquat is in the family Rosaceae, and is native to the cooler hill regions of south-central China. The loquat has been grown in Japan for over 1,000 years, and has been introduced to regions with subtropical to mild temperate climates throughout the world. Eriobotrya japonica was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes mistakenly known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and Chinese plum, as well as pipa in China, naspli in Malta, níspero in Spain, nêspera in Portugal, and nespolo in Italy (where the name is shared with Mespilus germanica). The plant is originally from China, where related species can be found growing in the wild. It has been cultivated there for over a thousand years. It has also become naturalised in Georgia, Armenia, Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Chile, Kenya, India, Israel, Iran, Iraq, South Africa, the whole Mediterranean Basin, Pakistan, New Zealand, Réunion, Tonga, Central America, Mexico, South America and in warmer parts of the United States (Hawaii, California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina). In Louisiana, many refer to loquats as "misbeliefs" and they grow in yards of homes. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii and California. It has been cultivated in Japan for about 1,000 years and presumably the fruits and seeds were brought back from China to Japan by the many Japanese scholars visiting and studying in China during the Tang Dynasty.

Description of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Eriobotrya japonica is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow to 5–10 metres (16–33 ft) tall, but is often smaller, about 3–4 metres (10–13 ft). The fruit begins to ripen during spring to summer depending on the temperature in the area. The leaves are alternate, simple, 10–25 centimetres (4–10 in) long, dark green, tough and leathery in texture, with a serrated margin, and densely velvety-hairy below with thick yellow-brown pubescence; the young leaves are also densely pubescent above, but this soon rubs off.

Health Benefits of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

  • Loquats are low-calorie fruits that provide an array of nutrients, including provitamin A, several B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and manganese
  • Loquats are an excellent source of carotenoids and phenolic compounds, which offer plenty of health benefits
  • Loquats are rich in potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds, all of which may boost heart health and protect against heart disease
  • Loquats may have anticancer properties
  • Loquat fruit, leaves, and seeds may benefit several aspects of metabolic health
  • Loquats may have powerful anti-inflammatory effects

Side Effects of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Too much intake of loquat leaf extract (a concentrated form occasionally sold in health food stores or naturally derived) can cause toxic myopathy, which is weakness and non-specific pain. The seeds of the loquat fruit contain toxic substances and can be life-threatening if consumed in excess.

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