Eriobotrya japonica Lindl. or
Common Names: Loquat, Japanese medlar, Nispero.
Distant Affinity: Apples (Malus spp.), Medlar (Mispilus germanica), Stone Fruit (Prunus spp.), Pears (Pyrus spp.) and others.
Loquats are indeed delicious and a great source of nutrients including minerals and vitamins. Vitamins include folate and vitamin A and C. Minerals include potassium, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium. Its ability to support blood sugar and skin health shows in preliminary research that the loquat leaf may be helpful for supporting liver and and pancreatic health, two key organs that aid in detoxification. Loquat leaf helps the body release antioxidants, known mostly for their ability to neutralize harmful toxins commonly used to protect the body against various diseases, support immunity, and possibly increase life expectancy.
Loquat leaf produces a variety of chemicals called triterpenes. One of the most important acids in this class of chemicals is tormentic acid. Tormentic acid has been shown to increase insulin production which may help reduce the symptoms related to diabetes. It has been approved by the Chinese government as a blood-sugar supporter because it produces a set of natural bodily chemicals known as polysaccharides, compounds that have also been shown to increase insulin production.
The loquat is indigenous to southeastern China. It was introduced into Japan and became naturalized there in very early times. It has been cultivated in Japan for over 1,000 years. It has also become naturalized in India and many other areas. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii. It was common as a small-fruited ornamental in California in the 1870’s, and the improved variety, Giant, was being sold there by 1887. Japan is the leading producer of loquats, followed by Israel and Brazil.
It also helps the liver. Loquat leaf contains a substance known as Amygdalin (B-17), and this substance is known to help combat liver disorders as well as supporting the liver’s ability to process and eliminate poisons in the body. It is somewhat controversial as to how effective amygdalin is in the support of liver problems, but many believe that the controversy is due largely to excessively Western modes of thinking about health. Amygdalin, incidentally, is thought to have its benefits through antioxidation effects.