Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Mespilus japonica. Photinia japonica.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Eriobotrya japonica

Wood – hard, close grained. Used for rulers etc[146].

  • Medicinal Use

    The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East, it is the ingredient of many patent medicines[238].

    The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, diuretic and expectorant[7, 116, 147, 176, 218, 279]. A decoction of the leaves or young shoots is used as an intestinal astringent and as a mouthwash in cases of thrush and also in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, feverish colds etc[7, 238]. The leaves are harvested as required and can be used fresh or dried[238]. The hairs should be removed from the leaves in order to prevent irritation of the throat[238].

    The flowers are expectorant[218, 240].

    The fruit is slightly astringent, expectorant and sedative[7, 240]. It is used in allaying vomiting and thirst[240].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw, cooked or preserved[46]. A slightly acid, sweet aromatic flavour[200], they can be eaten out of hand or cooked in pies, sauces, jellies etc[3]. Loquat pie, if made from fruit that is not fully ripe, is said to taste like cherry pie[183]. The fruit is produced in winter and early spring[132], it is up to 4cm in diameter[200]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

    Seed – cooked. A pleasant flavour[142]. Caution is advised if the seed is bitter, see notes at top of the page.

    The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[105, 177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seed is slightly poisonous. This report probably refers to the hydrogen cyanide that is found in many plants of this family, the seed should only be used in small amounts if it is bitter[K]. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold fame in the spring[200]. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and sow late winter in a warm greenhouse[78, 113]. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20¡c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Cuttings of softwood, spring in a frame[78]. Air layering[200].
Prefers a fertile well-drained soil in full sun or light shade[200]. Succeeds in any well-drained soil but dislikes too much lime[3]. Prefers to be near the coast, tolerating maritime exposure but dislikes cold winds[200]. Tolerates dry soils[200]. Succeeds in an open position in the milder areas of Britain but usually requires wall protection in most of this country[11, 59]. Plants are hardy to at least -5¡c, and can survive to between -12 and -17¡c but with some damage[200]. Plants from different provenances differ widely in their hardiness, it is best to obtain stock as cuttings from plants that are established in this country[219]. Trees usually only flower and produce fruit in Britain after a long hot summer[11, 202], but a tree at Maidwell Hall in Northants fruits regularly[11]. The main difficulty with producing a crop of fruit from this tree is that the plant flower in the winter and will not ripen fruit of a satisfactory standard if the winter is cold. Indeed, the fruit is rendered inedible by hard frosts in cold areas[200]. Often cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate regions, there are more than 800 cultivars in Japan[200]. ‘Advance’ is a dwarf tree with very juicy fruits[200]. The flowers emit a most potent oriental perfume[245].
E. Asia – China, Japan.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.