The Health Benefits of Loquat Leaf

Loquat Leaf

Loquat, also known as Eriobotrya japonica, is a moderately-sized tree found in subtropical climates that has a history of use in traditional and herbal medicine. Although the loquat bears edible fruit that is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin A, and potassium, the therapeutic power of loquat is contained in its large, glossy, evergreen leaves. Traditionally used to make a tea, loquat leaf has been reputed to offer relief for skin disorders, respiratory ailments, cough, gastroenteric disorders, and more.

Why is Loquat Leaf Beneficial?

Science has caught up with traditional use and discovered that many of the health benefits provided by loquat leaf are owed to its impressive amount of antioxidants. Commonly added to cosmetics and foods, loquat leaf is an ultra-rich source of natural antioxidants. [1] [2] [3] Antioxidants, which have many established benefits, protect the body by neutralizing harmful toxins and free radicals. [4] Loquat leaf also contains triterpenoid acids. These helpful compounds suppress systemic redness and have even been thought to relieve discomfort. [5] [6]

Assists the Liver

The job of your liver is to process and eliminate toxins. It is part of your front-line defense against the harmful effects of such irritants. When your liver is operating at its best, you’re set up to experience good health; loquat leaf can help. It contains an antioxidant known as Amygdalin, or B-17, which supports the liver. It also contains linoleic acids and plant sterols, which encourage healthy liver function. [7]

Promotes Normal Blood Sugar

Support for blood sugar levels is another benefit offered by the triterpenes in loquat leaf. [8] [9] One triterpene in particular, tormentic acid, helps the body produce polysaccharides, which increase insulin production. [10] Although it is premature for diabetics to rejoice and rely on loquat leaf, it is encouraging news. Hopefully we’ll see more research examine the potential for loquat leaf to promote healthy blood sugar.

Respiratory Support

Support for the respiratory system is one of the cornerstones of the traditional use of loquat leaf. It’s been used as a remedy for congestion, cough, sensitivity to irritants, and even lung irritation. [11] Clinical research has confirmed its efficacy. A 2009 study at the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine found that loquat leaf slowed the allergic reactions in mice. [12] Other animal models have found that it helps to reduce sneezing and the effects of histamines. [13]

There’s no denying that the antioxidants in loquat leaf are able to defend against airway irritation. However, the primary reason loquat leaf is so beneficial is because it stops irritation from ever occurring. A separate study in 2009 found that loquat leaf disrupts the communication from the cells that detect irritation and “turn on” the redness and swelling response. [14]

Soothes Irritated Skin and Gums

When used in a topical cream, loquat leaf can be an excellent remedy for the red, irritated skin that results from environmental sensitivities. This is especially true when irritation is the result of histamines. [15] Similarly, the soothing benefits of loquat leaf can be had orally. Loquat leaf has been used to extinguish uncomfortable, swollen gums when periodontal disease is present. [16]

Supports Brain Health

Oxidative damage caused by free radicals is believed to be one of the primary causes of neurodegenerative disorders. Because loquat leaf is a beneficial antioxidant, it was examined in 2011 for its ability to support normal brain operation and protect against oxidative stress. Not only did the results confirm both, but mice given loquat leaf extract were observed to experience memory improvements. [17]

Supplementing with Loquat Leaf

Loquat leaf is available in several forms, including tea and even as a respiratory syrup for kids. We’ve added it to our Detox Foot Pads to support the elimination of toxic substances. Have you had any experience with loquat leaf? If so, please leave a comment below and let us know what benefits you observed.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Kim JY, Hong JH, Jung HK, Jeong YS, Cho KH. Grape skin and loquat leaf extracts and acai puree have potent anti-atherosclerotic and anti-diabetic activity in vitro and in vivo in hypercholesterolemic zebrafish. Int J Mol Med. 2012 Sep;30(3):606-14. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.1045. Epub 2012 Jun 28.
  2. Song FL, Gan RY, Zhang Y, Xiao Q, Kuang L, Li HB. Total phenolic contents and antioxidant capacities of selected chinese medicinal plants. Int J Mol Sci. 2010 Jun 1;11(6):2362-72. doi: 10.3390/ijms11062362.
  3. Polat AA, Calişkan O, Serçe S, Saraçoğlu O, Kaya C, Ozgen M. Determining total phenolic content and total antioxidant capacity of loquat cultivars grown in Hatay. Pharmacogn Mag. 2010 Jan;6(21):5-8. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.59959. Epub 2 010 Feb 13.
  4. Hamada, Atsuhide, Saburo Yoshioka, Daisuke Takuma, Junko Yokota, Tailine Cui, Masahiko Kusunose, Mitsuhiko Miyamura, Shojiro Kyotani, and Yutaka Nishioka. “The Effect of Eriobotrya japonica Seed Extract on Oxidative Stress in Adriamycin-Induced Nephropathy in Rats.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 27 (2004): 1961-964.
  5. Cha DS, Shin TY, Eun JS, Kim DK, Jeon H. Anti-metastatic properties of the leaves of Eriobotrya japonica. Arch Pharm Res. 2011 Mar;34(3):425-36. doi: 10.1007/s12272-011-0310-1. Epub 2011 May 6.
  6. Lu H, Xi C, Chen J, Li W. [Determination of triterpenoid acids in leaves of Eriobotrya japonica collected at in different seasons]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Sep;34(18):2353-5.
  7. Nishioka Y, Yoshioka S, Kusunose M, Cui T, Hamada A, Ono M, Miyamura M, Kyotani S. Effects of extract derived from Eriobotrya japonica on liver function improvement in rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002 Aug;25(8):1053-7.
  8. Chen J, Li WL, Wu JL, Ren BR, Zhang HQ. Euscaphic acid, a new hypoglycemic natural product from Folium Eriobotryae. Pharmazie. 2008 Oct;63(10):765-7.
  9. Zong W, Zhao G. Corosolic acid isolation from the leaves of Eriobotrta japonica showing the effects on carbohydrate metabolism and differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:346-52.
  10. Taniguchi, Shoko, Yoko Imayoshi, Eri Kobayashi, Yoshie Takamatsu, Hideyuki Ito, Tsutomu Hatano, Hiroshi Sakagami, Harukuni Tokuda, Hoyoku Nishino, Daigo Sugita, Susumu Shimura, and Takashi Yoshida. “Production of bioactive triterpenes by Eriobotrya japonica calli.” Phytochemistry 59 (2002): 315-23.
  11. Lee CH, Wu SL, Chen JC, Li CC, Lo HY, Cheng WY, Lin JG, Chang YH, Hsiang CY, Ho TY. Eriobotrya japonica leaf and its triterpenes inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokines and inducible enzyme production via the nuclear factor-kappaB signaling pathway in lung epithelial cells. Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(6):1185-98.
  12. Kim SH, Kwon YE, Park WH, Jeon H, Shin TY. Effect of leaves of Eriobotrya japonica on anaphylactic allergic reaction and production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2009 Jun;31(2):314-9. doi: 10.1080/08923970802714775.
  13. Onogawa M, Sun G, Takuma D, Hamada A, Yokota J, Yoshioka S, Kusunose M, Miyamura M, Kyotani S, Nishioka Y. Animal studies supporting the inhibition of mast cell activation by Eriobotrya japonica seed extract. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009 Feb;61(2):237-41. doi: 10.1211/jpp/61.02.0014.
  14. Kim SH, Shin TY. Anti-inflammatory effect of leaves of Eriobotrya japonica correlating with attenuation of p38 MAPK, ERK, and NF-kappaB activation in mast cells. Toxicol In Vitro. 2009 Oct;23(7):1215-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2009.07.036. Epub 2009 Aug 7.
  15. Shimizu, Mineo, Hideki Fukumura, Hideki Tsuji, Seiichi Tanaami, Toshimitsu Hayashi, and Naokata Morita. “Anti-inflammatory Constituents of Topically Applied Crude Drugs. I. Constituents and Anti-inflammatory Effect of Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.” Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 34 (1986): 2614-617.
  16. Choi YG, Seok YH, Yeo S, Jeong MY, Lim S. Protective changes of inflammation-related gene expression by the leaves of Eriobotrya japonica in the LPS-stimulated human gingival fibroblast: microarray analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jun 1;135(3):636-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.03.066. Epub 2011 Apr 5.
  17. Kim MJ, Lee J, Seong AR, Lee YH, Kim YJ, Baek HY, Kim YJ, Jun WJ, Yoon HG. Neuroprotective effects of Eriobotrya japonica against β-amyloid-induced oxidative stress and memory impairment. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Apr;49(4):780-4. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2010.11.043. Epub 2010 Dec 17.

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  • Lilly-Lyn

    I have 3 loquat trees in my backyard. My husband uses AllerTrex for respiratory problems so maybe we should harvest the leaves off the loquats. If only there were a simple method!

  • ghc_health

    Manual labor is the only method I know of!

  • Lilly-Lyn

    I don’t mind manual labor but what do I do with the leaves once I have manually picked them to make them benefiacially usable?

  • ghc_health

    From Loquat World:

    There are three basic ways that one can consume the nutrients and benefits of loquat leaves. It is done pretty much the same way one makes regular tea.
    1. If the leaves are whole or large pieces, I put them in a pot of boiling water, bring to boil, boil for about 5 minutes or so, let sit for 5 minutes to half hour or so, stir, remove or strain out the leaves, and pour the liquid tea into a glass to drink out of and or a container for storage. Enjoy!

    2. If the leaves are broken up into small pieces, l put some of the broken up leaves in a small strainer, set it over a glass, and then pour hot water slowly over the leaves. Remove strainer and stir the liquid. The loquat leaf tea is now ready to drink or sip it not too hot. Enjoy!

    3. If the leaves are broken up into small pieces, l put some of the broken up leaves in an infuser, place infuser with leaves into a glass, pour hot or boiling water into glass, and then stir. It is now ready to drink unless too hot. Enjoy!

    After the leaves are used, throw the leaves away and get more fresh leaves to make more.

    If the resulting tea is too strong add more water

  • Lilly-Lyn

    I thank you! I typically order all supplements online from the wonderful people like you that have it available ready for my family’s use. So this is new to me to actually pick leaves from my backyard to make my own healthy tea. I appreciate your patience in teaching me such things. :)

  • Jack Walters

    How soon after planting a 5’0″ Loquat Tree can I harvest the leaves from the tree. I am a Diabetic and want to make Tea from the leaves. I would really appreciate a response.
    Jack

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