Longan fruit is often described as similar to lychee – but smaller, less acidic, and more mildly flavored. This fruit has long been used to reduce pain and swelling, break fevers, and aid digestion in traditional Chinese medicinal applications. As a bonus, it tastes good! About one-third of users find the taste of longan fruit to be at least as good, if not more pleasant and palatable, than that of similarly-effective lychee fruits, making it a better option for many people.
When eaten fresh, the flesh/skin of the longan fruit is a good source of vitamin C (with more vitamin C per fruit than fresh oranges), making it good for boosting immune system function. What’s more, fresh longan fruit is low in carbs and fat but high in natural sugars, making it a potentially adequate substitute for sweets in low-carb diets. Dried longan fruit is also a good source of iron. These nutritional values potentially explain some historical reports of its effectiveness in treating fatigue, appetite loss, dizziness, and menstrual- and postpartum-exhaustion, as well as other contemporarily-known symptoms of anemia. More recently, longan fruit oil/extract has been shown to help improve memory function, and its anti-inflammatory (including anti-rheumatic) effects have recently been empirically proven.
Longan fruit is categorized in Chinese medicine as an herb that tonifies the blood, making it useful for treating anemia. It is classified as sweet and warm, and primarily affects the Spleen and Heart channels.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
Longan fruit is most often available in fresh, canned, or dried forms. In any preparation, it is intended for ingestion, with the most common recommended administrations including eating it raw or drinking a syrup made from the fruit. Longan fruit can also be mashed, pulped, or powdered, then added to food or drink.
There do not appear to be any significant safety or toxicity concerns with the ingestion of longan fruit itself or its extracts. Some people report having non-life-threatening food allergies to longan fruits and associated products, so you should exercise caution when you first try longan fruit supplements, especially if you have other known allergies to soapberry-family fruits.
You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking longan fruit.
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