By: Emily Zhang
From time to time, I go out for a walk after dinner. Through the seasons, I have observed several loquat trees on the street blossom and bear fruit, but the fruits are always left on the tree, dried and shrunken.
No one eats the loquat fruit.
Loquat is a fruit tree native to China and Japan, but can also be found in California and other places in North America, such as Floria and Hawaii. It’s not an extremely popular fruit in America, so my neighbors down the street likely don’t know that loquat fruit is sweet, delicious, and full of vitamins. It has a lot of health benefits for the eyes, immune system, and can help against inflammation diseases.
Historically, loquat is used in traditional Chinese medicines to treat coughing and to clear the lungs. It’s the main ingredient in the famous Chinese medicine, Honey and Loquat syrup. This sweet syrup is commonly used to treat people with coughing. In California, you can easily find it in a Chinese supermarket like 99 Ranch, or any Chinese herb store. You can even buy it online, from sites such as Amazon or eBay.
While the loquat fruit is good for medicine, the other parts of the loquat tree have many practical uses. For example, the leaves can be dried and used in tea to treat lung and stomach diseases, such as vomiting and coughing. Boiling the loquat leaves and using them in bathwater can help ease rashes and feelings of prickly heat. Loquat flowers can be dried and mixed with rice wine to treat headaches and runny noses. Even the seeds can be smashed, mixed with ginger, and boiled to make a drink to help relieve coughing. However, loquat seeds are poisonous and cannot be eaten raw, and should only be consumed in small quantities when cooked.
I hope my neighbors down the street realize what a terrific loquat tree they have!