Health benefits of Longan

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Health benefits of Longan

Longan Quick Facts
Name: Longan
Scientific Name: Dimocarpus longan
Origin Southern China, in the provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Schezwan and Fukien, Hainan, Yunnan
Colors Yellowish brown or sometimes grayish yellow,
Shapes Drupaceous, 1.25–3 cm in diameter, subglobose,
Flesh colors Fleshy, translucent, white arilloid
Taste Musky, sweet taste
Calories 2 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin C (3.00%)
Copper (0.56%)
Carbohydrate (0.37%)
Vitamin B2 (0.31%)
Potassium (0.19%)
Health benefits Excellent Stress Remedy, Assist in Controlling Blood Pressure, Helps in Weight Loss, Prevents the development of Cancer, Good for Bone Health, Fight Anemia, Heart health, Healthy Metabolism, Good for Eye Sight, Natural cure for Stomachache, Beneficial for Oral Health, Sex Tonic, Anti-Ageing, Wound Recovery Enhancer
Dimocarpus longan, commonly known as the longan (UK: /ˈlɒŋɡən/; US: /ˈlɑːŋɡən/, /ˈlɔːŋɡən/), is a tropical tree that produces edible fruit. It is one of the better-known tropical members of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae), to which the lychee also belongs. This kind of fruit is extremely preferred in China and is also recognized by its regional title pinyin, which suggests ‘dragon eye’ since the place where the pit or even seed is situated looks like an eye. Apart from longan it is also known as Dragon’s eye, Dragon’s eye fruit, Lungan, Cat’s Eye, Eyeball, Mamoncillo Chino. The fruit month are in between mid and also late summer and is also gathered soon after lychee. The longan tree produces fruits in groups, twice yearly i.e. ending of the dry season and throughout late summer time.

The plant is native to southern China, in the provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Schezwan and Fukien, Hainan, Yunnan and is also known as the lychee’s little brother. The longan is simply a little bigger than an olive and isn’t quite as succulent like a lychee. The fruit of the longan tree ripens just a little later than the lychee and is also capable to develop at reduced temperature ranges and is also significantly less demanding regarding its developing situations.

Plant

Longan is a fast-growing, evergreen, well-branched, fruit tree about 10 to 12 m (32.5 to 39 ft.) tall, but may reach heights of 40 m (130 ft.), with a diameter of up to 1 m. The plant grows well in warm subtropical areas and thrives best on a rich sandy loam and nearly as well on moderately acid, somewhat organic, sand. It also grows to a large size and bears heavily in oolitic limestone. Plant has a rough corky trunk with diameter reaching 1 m and dark brown, lenticellate twigs. Branches are pilosulose (covered with long soft hairs), and are scattered with glaucous lenticels (waxy pores).

Leaves

The evergreen, alternate, paripinnate leaves have 4 to 10 opposite leaflets, elliptic, ovate-oblong or lanceolate, blunt-tipped; 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) long and 1 3/8 to 2 in (3.5-5 cm) wide; leathery, wavy, glossy-green on the upper surface, minutely hairy and grayish-green beneath.

Flower

Flower are pale-yellow, 5- to 6-petalled, hairy-stalked flowers, larger than those of the lychee, are borne in upright terminal panicles, male and female mingled.

Fruit

Fruit hangs in drooping clusters that are circular and about 1.25–3 cm in diameter and are usually yellowish brown or sometimes grayish yellow.  The peel is tan, thin, and leathery with tiny hairs. The flesh is translucent, and the seed is large and black with a circular white spot at the base. This gives the illusion of an eye. The flesh has a musky, sweet taste, which can be compared to the flavor the lychee fruit.

Health benefits of Longan

Longan fruits are highly popular for their medicinal benefits. These fresh delicious and sweet longan have more health advantages than we can think of. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of consuming longan fruit:

1.Heart health

Heart problems are due to the unhealthy condition of heart caused by several problems. Longan fruit consist of good amount of magnesium and potassium which are quite beneficial for normal functioning of the heart. It assists in relaxing the muscles and the nerves connected to heart organ which affects the blood pressure.

2. Assist in Controlling Blood Pressure

As we know that balanced amount of magnesium and potassium is required for maintaining blood pressure level. Longan consists of good amount of minerals so it is quite beneficial for maintaining blood level. So include longan in your regular diet to have balanced blood pressure level.

3. Helps in Weight Loss

Fruit is one of the important parts of the weight loss program. Longan is a good source of carbohydrate which is essential to form energy, so even during diet the body will get sufficient stamina and at the same time assist in reducing your craving towards foods. Apart from that longan also consists of adequate amount of water which will keep your body hydrated.

4. Prevents the development of Cancer

Almost all fruits are rich source of antioxidant and are powerful solution to prevent the development of cancerous cell. Cancerous cells are caused by the untreated damaged cells caused by free radicals. The best way to deal with it is by eliminating the damaged cells before it will affect any healthy cells. Polyphenols has ability in dealing with those damaged cells and at the same time assisting in regeneration of new and healthy cells. Longan fruit is a wonderful source of polyphenols so including this fruit in your diet is best for dealing with cancer.

5. Excellent Stress Remedy

Stress is one of the most common psychological problems, people are facing throughout the world and the main causes of stress are unhealthy social life, work pressure and many more. Regular consumption of longan is one of the best options to deal with stress since it consists of certain substances that help in calming the stress.

6. Good for Bone Health

Mineral deficiency and age factor is one of the main cause behind poor bone conditions. Mostly the women who entered postmenopausal stage are suffering from certain bone conditions like osteoporosis due to insufficient mineral. Longan consists of good amount of minerals like magnesium, potassium and copper so female with early osteoporosis symptoms could at least slower the degeneration of bone cells if they frequently consume longan fruit.

7. Fight Anemia

Longan consists of good amount of Iron which is quite essential for dealing with Anemia. Iron is important for producing red blood cells; proper amount of red blood cells in the body means zero risk of Anemia. Additionally Longan is a wonderful source of Vitamin C and this vitamin is natural substances which help in enhancing the absorption of Iron.

8. Healthy Metabolism

Riboflavin which is found abundantly in longan fruit is quite essential for healthy metabolism. This substance has contribution in stimulating special enzymes that could help body optimizing the process of fats, carbohydrate and proteins in proper way.

9. Good for Eye Sight

Riboflavin is an important Vitamin B complex which is essential for reducing the risk of eye disorders particularly Cataract. Regular consumption of longan for long term helps to reduce the risk of age related conditions that commonly affects the vision as soon as the person reaches senior age.

10. Natural cure for Stomachache

Longan consists of certain substances which could help as home remedy to cure several stomach problems like pain and infections. Due to its antimicrobial actions it helps to treat several stomach problems by eliminating or killing the root cause of infections.

11. Beneficial for Oral Health

As mentioned before longan fruit consists of good amount if Vitamin C. Vitamin C is quite beneficial for maintaining damaged membranes, thus regular consumption of longan assists in maintaining oral health. Since it is mineral rich fruit, it also assists in maintaining the strong teeth structure.

12. Sex Tonic

Since ancient times, longan is considered one of the best sex tonics by Chinese. Chinese recognized longan as herbal medicine at the first time due to its capability to provide longer energy which is good for any sexual activity.

13. Anti-Ageing

Polyphenols found in longan is considered one of the best natural sources of anti- ageing. However polyphenols has fast response towards free radicals and will remove it from body system to prevent healthy cells being affected. Thus regeneration of cells is conducted effectively without interference which makes longan powerful anti-ageing.

14. Wound Recovery Enhancer

Vitamin C and Vitamin B are those important vitamins that are essential to repair damaged cells. Wound is also a type of the damaged skin cell and vitamin C helps to repair the damaged tissues. Since it also functions as anti- microbial, it also prevents the wounds from further infections. Open wounds are easily contaminated by bacteria. Include Longan in your diet to get required amount of vitamins.

History

Longan is native to southern China, in the provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Schezwan and Fukien, Hainan, Yunnan, between elevations of 150–700 m. The species has also reported to be found in India, Sri Lanka, Upper Myanmar, North Thailand, Kampuchea, North Vietnam and New Guinea. The crop is mainly grown in southern China, Taiwan and north Thailand, Kampuchea, Laos and Vietnam with small acreages elsewhere in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Queensland (Australia) and Florida (United States). Scattered trees are found at higher elevations in South-East Asia. Longan is also grown in the Reunion and Mauritius. Nowadays because of its higher nutritional value and wonderful taste it is grown throughout the world with suitable environment.

Varieties

There are some unique variations of longan that are further down

1. Chompoo longan

Chompoo longanIt really is tiny in dimensions that have yellow tan color. It is just a Thai variety along with huge, top quality fruit having a faint pink dash within the flesh. It really is fairly sweet in flavor.

 

2. Kohala Seedling

Kohala SeedlingA close relative to the lychee tree yet much bigger, more robust and much colder resistant. The fruit is delightfully sweet in flavor. The color of the fruit is darkish grey to reddish rust. The flavor is great.

 

3. Haew

HaewHaew is really a late maturing cultivar. The high quality fruit is moderate to big in dimensions having a somewhat tiny seed. The color of the fruity is golden brown.

 

4. Kohala marcotted

Kohala marcottedStrongly associated with lychees, longons are greatly regarded in south east asia.It really is bigger in size along with dark tan color. It’s got fragrant taste.

 

5. Wu Yuan

Wu Yuan (“black ball”) has small, sour fruit used for canning. The tree is vigorous and seedlings are valued as rootstocks. ‘Kao Yuan’ is believed to be a slightly better type of this variety and is widely canned.

6. Tsao ho

‘Tsao ho’ (‘Early Rice’) is the earliest variety and a form called ‘Ch’i chin tsao ho’ precedes it by 2 weeks. In quality, both are inferior to ‘Wu Yuan’.

7. She p’ i

‘She p’ i’ (‘Snake skin’) has the largest fruit, as big as a small lychee and slightly elongated. The skin is rough, the seed large, some of the juice is between the rind and the flesh, and the quality is low. Its only advantage is that it is very late in season.

8. Hua Kioh

‘Hua Kioh’ (‘Flower Skin’), slightly elongated, has thin, nearly tasteless flesh, some of the juice is between the rind and the flesh, and the overall quality is poor. It is seldom propagated vegetatively.

More about Longan

The fruit is generally just consumed by itself since it includes a delicate flavor effortlessly compromised by various other food items. Purchase longan when they’re still on the stem in the marketplace – fruits off the stem and usually too ripe to be in their best by the time you receive them home. Make sure the skin is free from mildew and also blotches. Due to the stronger skin, the fruit is much less spoilable as opposed to lychee.

The flesh of the fruit is considered as a remedy for poison whilst the dried flesh taken like a tea may be used to deal with sleeplessness and also neurasthenic neurosis. In Vietnam the seed is constrained next to snakebite in the thought that it’ll soak up the venom.

Storage

To store longan, wrap them within a paper towel to soak up excessive dampness and put them in a punctured plastic bag within the fridge. They’ll keep for just two – 3 weeks, even though they have a tendency to shed a few of their taste as time passes. For optimum taste, they must be consumed as quickly as possible. Longan could be frozen within their covering.

Traditional uses and benefits of Longan

  • Dried flesh of the fruit is administered as a stomachic, febrifuge and vermifuge, and is regarded as an antidote for poison in traditional herbal medicines.
  • Decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis.
  • The “eye” of the longan seed is pressed against a snake bite in the belief that it will absorb the venom in both North and South Vietnam.
  • Longan fruit has been used in the traditional Chinese medicinal formulation, serving as an agent in relief of neural pain and swelling.
  • Seeds are often given to persons to counteract heavy sweating.
  • Pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic.
  • Decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis.
  • Eating longan fruit is regarded a natural remedy for treating a stomach ache.
  • Fruit helps to improve and boost the immune system and this helps the body fight against various diseases.
  • It is rich in potassium and is therefore helpful in maintaining one’s blood pressure and keeping it normal.
  • Consuming dried longan fruit is believed to help cure people of sleeping disorders like insomnia.
  • It is used to treat health conditions such as amnesia and neurasthenic neurosis.
  • Fresh fruit of the longan tree is often consumed to reduce and bring down high fevers.

Culinary Uses

  • Fruit pulp is best eaten fresh, out-of-hand or frozen, thawed and eaten.
  • Fruit is also eaten cooked in various cuisines, dried or canned in its own juice or in syrup.
  • Canned longan is usually used in various hot or cold desserts.
  • Dried longan is commonly used in Asian herbal soups, as snacks, dessert, beverage and sweet-and-sour food.
  • Dried longan is a bupin fruit used to make bupin.
  • Liqueur is made by macerating the longan flesh in alcohol.
  • Fruit is eaten fresh out of hand or in fruit salads or they may be prepared into juice, canned, candied or dried.

Longan Recipe Ideas and Uses

  • Stew longan in sugar and also syrup: they’ll keep for a long period.
  • Their fairly sweet rejuvenating flavor makes longan an excellent choice for sorbet.
  • Slice the fruit as an element of an exotic salad and can include along with pineapple, carambola along with a soy-based dressing.
  • Use in jello recipes, as their texture matches those of jello’s.
  • Make vodka jello shots and also include pieces of the fresh fruit
  • Dry the flesh on the slow, open fire and also add some smoky fruit to soups.
  • Serve cut longan along with cantaloupe or any other melons along with coconut ice cream.

Healthy Longan Fruit Recipes

1. Longan and red date soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried Chinese red dates
  • 1 cup dried longan flesh
  • 8 cups room temperature water
  • ½ cup rock sugar (Chinese preferred)

Directions

  • Mix the red dates, water and longan fruit and cook to a boil.
  • Add the rock sugar and then cook until soup-like consistency.
  • This generally takes about 30 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate and serve as a cold soup later.

2. Stir-fried chicken with longan

This simple yet elegant 3-part recipe is easy to make and wonderful to share.

Ingredients

Ingredients for marinade

  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1tablespoon of cornstarch

Ingredients for sauce

  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

Ingredients for main portion

  • 10-ounce boneless chicken breast
  • 1 can longans, drained, rinsed and diced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or light virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

Directions

  • Mix the cornstarch, salt and soy sauce in a bowl. Set it aside for later use.
  • Combine all sauce ingredients in separate bowl and mix well.
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Soak the longan fruit in salted water for 15 minutes, then drain and slice in half.
  • Use a skillet and cook the chicken using the olive oil. As the chicken becomes tender, add the diced pepper, sauce and longan fruit.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes and the sauce will thicken as the chicken finishes cooking. Serve over jasmine or brown rice.

Other Facts

  • Both lychee and longan are considered as ‘warm fruit’.
  • Seeds are rich in saponins and are used as hair shampoo.
  • Both the seed and the fruit flesh of longan have several medicinal uses.
  • The red, hard longan timber is not often cut for timber.
  • Wood is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture and construction.
  • Seeds and the rind are burnt for fuel.
  • Overripe, purple-fleshed longan develops savory, musky, pungent flavor resembling garlic and onions.

Side effects of consuming too much Longan fruit

1. Avoid Longan during Pregnancy

Healthy pregnant woman can still able to consume fewer amount of longan but eating too much may result in several problems like bleeding and in worst case even miscarriage. Due to this reason, no matter how nutritious it is, it must be avoided in all cost while pregnant.

2. Not Good during Hot summer days

Since Longan consist of high amount of water, it also consists of properties that make body warmer so it is not favorable for hot summer days. In Case you consume it then you will feel some kinds of burning sensations in your body.  So avoid its use during summer days. However consuming longan as part of fruit salad or fruit punch is still tolerable as long as you consume it in a limited amount.

3. Relatively High in Sugar

Longan consists of relatively high amount of sugar. Since it is high in sugar people who are currently in diet program should not consume it in higher quantities. Diabetes patients should completely avoid this fruit, since their body cannot control the sugar level in the blood. Consuming longan will just make the condition worse.

Longan Facts

Longan is a small tropical fruit that closely resembles the lychee, both in terms of taste and appearance. This fruit is considered to have originated in either the area between India and Burma or in China. It is now grown in various parts of the world such as Sri Lanka, South India, several Southeastern Asian countries as well as South China. The fruit is either round or oval with a translucent pulp and contains one single, black seed. The longan tree is an evergreen tree which grows to a height of about 9-12 meters. There are many varieties of the Longan fruit now, such as “Kohala” which is found in Hawaii and ‘Hei ho shih hsia’ and ‘Chin ch’ i ho shih hsia’.

Name Longan
Scientific Name Dimocarpus longan
Native Native to southern China, in the provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Schezwan and Fukien, Hainan, Yunnan
Common Names Dragon’s eye, Dragon’s eye fruit, Longan, Lonagn Tree, Lungan, Cat’s Eye, Eyeball, Mamoncillo Chino
Name in Other Languages Brazil : Olho-De-Dragão ( Portuguese)
Burmese : Kyet Mouk
Chinese: Lóng Yǎn, Longan, Lung Ngaan, Gui, Gui yuan,  Yang yan guo shu,  Yuan yan, Yuan, Yang Yan Guo Shu, Yuan Yan
Cuba : Mamoncillo Chino ( Spanish )
Dutch : Lengkeng
English: Dragon’s eye, Dragon’s eye fruit, Longan
French : Longan, Longanier, Oeil De Dragon
German : Longane, Longanbaum, Longanbeere
India : Ash-Fol ( Bengali ), Kanakindeli (Kannada), Chempoovana, Chempunna, Malampoovathi, Malampuvanna, Mulei, Pasakotta, Poripuna ( Malayalam ), Kattupuvam Shempuvam (Tamil )
Indonesia : Kalengleng ( Madurese ), Lengkeng
Japanese : Rongan, Ryugan
Khmer : Mien
Laos : Lam Nhai, Nam Nhai
Malay: Mata kucing, Kelengkeng (Indonesia), Lengkeng (Indonesia)
Malaysia : Lengkeng, Longan Lungan
Philippines : Longan ( Tagalog)
Persian:  از تیرهٔ ناترکیان
Russian : Longan, Longana
Portuguese : Longana, Pitomba Longana, Olho-de-dragão
Russian: Longan
Sinhalese:  Mora
Spanish : Longán, Mamoncillo Chino
Sri Lanka : Mora ( Sinhalese )
Swedish: Longan
Tagalog: Alupag
Thailand : Lamyai Pa, Ma Lamyai
Vietnamese: Nhãn, Long Nhãn
Plant Growth Habit Fast-growing, evergreen, well-branched, fruit tree
Growing Climate Grows well in warm subtropical areas
Soil Thrives best on a rich sandy loam and nearly as well on moderately acid, somewhat organic, sand. It also grows to a large size and bears heavily in oolitic limestone.
Plant Size 10 to 12 m (32.5 to 39 ft.), but may reach heights of 40 m (130 ft), with a diameter of up to 1 m
Trunk Rough corky trunk with diameter reaching 1 m
Branches Pilosulose (covered with long soft hairs), and are scattered with glaucous lenticels (waxy pores).
Leaf Alternate, petiolate 2–10 cm long, paripinnate with 2–6 jugate, leaflets opposite on 1.5–10 mm long petiolules.
Leaflets Oblong-elliptic to oblong lanceolate, 6–15 by 2.5–5 cm, upper surface glossy deep green, lower pale green, chartaceous, both surfaces glabrous, lateral veins 12–15 pairs, only prominent abaxially, base extremely asymmetrical, apex acute, blunt to obtuse
Flower Pale-yellow, 5- to 6-petalled, hairy-stalked flowers, larger than those of the lychee, are borne in upright terminal panicles, male and female mingled.
Fruit Shape & Size Drupaceous, 1.25–3 cm in diameter, subglobose,
Fruit Color Usually yellowish brown or sometimes grayish yellow
Fruit Skin Thin, brittle, yellow-brown to light reddish-brown rind
Flesh Color Fleshy, translucent, white arilloid
Flavor/Aroma Wonderfully sweet, mysterious tasting blend of musk, spruce and gardenia
Taste Musky, sweet taste
Seed Hard elliptical or round hard seed
Plants Parts Used
  • Wood
  • Seeds
  • Rind
  • Fruits
  • Leaves
Major Nutrition Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 2.7 mg (3.00%)
Copper, Cu 0.005 mg (0.56%)
Carbohydrate 0.48 g (0.37%)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.004 mg (0.31%)
Potassium, K 9 mg (0.19%)
Phosphorus, P 1 mg (0.14%)
Valine 0.002 g (0.09%)
Manganese, Mn 0.002 mg (0.09%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.001 mg (0.08%)
Protein 0.04 g (0.08%)
Calories in 1 fruit (3.2 gm) 2 K cal
Health Benefits
  • Excellent Stress Remedy
  • Assist in Controlling Blood Pressure
  • Helps in Weight Loss
  • Prevents the development of Cancer
  • Good for Bone Health
  • Fight Anemia
  • Heart health
  • Healthy Metabolism
  • Good for Eye Sight
  • Natural cure for Stomachache
  • Beneficial for Oral Health
  • Sex Tonic
  • Anti-Ageing
  • Wound Recovery Enhancer

References:

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2768547

http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Dimocarpus.html

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506072#null

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/65052

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=14131

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dimocarpus+longan

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=DILO7

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/longan.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longan

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