Longan is a sweet-tasting fruit that may be small in size (it’s a little smaller than a grape) but it packs some big benefits for your health and well-being. These health benefits primarily come from two main active compounds found in abundance in the fruit: Polyphenols and Saponins. Whether eaten raw, cooked, dried, or taken the traditional way as an extract they are able to provide some awesome health benefits.
The old adage “small but powerful” perfectly describes the famous Chinese herbal medicine: Longan Fruit. It is also known as Dragon Eye Fruit or Longan Berry because of its appearance. If you cut the fruit perfectly in half and look closely at the pit there is a mark that looks as a pupil of a large eye hence the alternate name Dragon Eye Fruit.
Here are the nutrition facts on Longan fruit it is a great source of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Based on 100 grams (approximately 30 pieces fresh) Longan Fruit contains the following:
- 83 grams water
- 1.3 grams of protein
- 15 grams of carbohydrates
- 1.3 grams dietary fiber
- 266 mg Potassium
- 84 mg Vitamin C
- 10 mg Magnesium
- 1 mg Calcium
- A little amount of B1(Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), Iron, Copper, Phosphorous, and Zinc.
Longan has a lot of benefits that effect just about your whole body but are for the most part derived from two basic functions relaxing your nervous system while improving your circulation. Here are some specific systems of your body that receive benefits from consuming this superfood in whole or extract form.
Dragon Eye Fruit has calming effects on the nerves and has been proven to improve nerve function. Hence, it is used as anti-depressant and for treatment of neurasthenic neurosis, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system.
The calming effects benefit the heart as well for it prevents irregular and rapid heart beats. At the same time, it can help lower the blood pressure of a hypertensive person. Risks of cardiac arrest and strokes are greatly reduced with the use of this fruit, too. Also, longan fruit is rich in iron, an essential element for production of blood, it keeps the blood healthy and helps the person to be free from anemia.
This amazing fruit can help maintain a healthy, glowing skin. It can prevent wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Plus, it prevents peeling off and cracking of skin.
It can invigorate the spleen thereby helping the individual overcome many potential diseases. Why? Spleen functions primarily to help the immune system by producing white blood cells, which are the ones responsible for fighting infections and synthesizing antibodies. Spleen aids in purifying the blood too by removing microbes and damaged or worn out red blood cells.
Longan fruit promotes the growth of good microorganism in the intestines. It prevents stomachache and infections. Also, it helps maintain ideal body weight due to the high levels of complex carbohydrates in the fruit. Complex carbohydrates break down slowly in the digestive system, giving them an opportunity to be used directly as energy for your body instead of storing as fat.The fruit is low in calories and fat, satiating the feeling of hunger with less calories. Aside from this, the fruit is an energy enhancer, giving one the extra strength needed to do exercise or other strenuous activities. It has also been studied for it’s ability to eliminate cravings for sweet and unhealthy foods.
The probability of acquiring diseases is lowered with the help of Longan Fruit as it strengthens the immune system also.
Benefits of Polyphenols in Longan
Longan fruit is incredible rich with polyphenols, these incredible active compounds are well known for their antioxidant properties and are linked in studies with all sorts of health benefits like:
- Preventing and fighting cancer by blocking the formation of carcinogens
- Protecting against degenerative diseases
- Prevents free radicals and damage to the healthy cells.
- Polyphenols cause vasodilation of arteries, veins and capillaries.
- Have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Inhibits the growth and development of various harmful microorganisms such as fungi, virus and bacteria.
- It has probiotic effect.
- It has aesthetic abilities. Aside from its skin health benefits, this fruit is widely popular for its anti-aging effects. The beauty benefits of the Dragon Eye Fruit can be attributed to the healthy organs and systems brought about by this fruit. At the same time, as it enhances the “good mood” of the individual, stresses and its negative effects are lessened hence the younger appearance.
Benefits of Saponins in Longan
If all these benefits weren’t already enough, longan fruit has a high content of saponins another awesome compound that brings even more health benefits to your body.
The saponin from the fruit’s kernel is used as an ingredient in shampoos because it helps make your hair smooth and healthy preventing split ends while giving a silky feel and sheen. Again fighting aging by making you look physically younger and healthier.
Studies have confirmed this fruit helps to keeping the enamel in your teeth healthy and prevents inflammation in your gums (gingivitis).
Sleep and Rest
Longan is often used traditionally to treat insomnia. This sleeping disorder afflicts millions of people worldwide. In US alone, an estimated $63 billion was utilized for insomnia-related causes. Longan’s calming effects on the nervous system plus good circulation of blood promote sound sleep. With better sleep you can enjoy these natural benefits that come with just getting a good nights rest
- Increased ability to focus and/or concentrate
- Improved memory
- More energy
- Better more stable mood
- Lower blood pressure
When used to treat insomnia the whole fruit is dried and used to make decoction and taken as a tonic (daily supplement).
Health Benefits of Longan Extract
Longan fruit extract has all the same benefits of eating the whole fruit raw with a few small added benefits.
- Anti-inflammatory properties. There are more than 100 inflammatory diseases that this fruit can prevent from developing because of its basic yet powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Also skin lacerations and scratches heal better and more quickly if you apply a little longan extract to them.
- Prevents bleeding. The kernel of the Dragon Eye Fruit is found to be effective in constricting the tissues and preventing excessive bleeding making it a great natural remedy for anemia. How? The kernel contains tannin, saponin and fats These substances act as styptic naturally preventing bleeding.
- It is also used for treatment of snakebites. In some countries, the “eye” of the fruit’s seed is believed to have the ability to absorb venom. It is simply pressed against the area of the snakebite.
- Overall feeling of wellness. As mentioned, this wonder fruit can elevate your attitude making you a happier person. It has been traditionally prescribed as an antidepressant among people suffering from all sorts of mood disorders (especially when a spleen imbalance is present). It has been found to give people a positive outlook and greatly enhance your general mood. This coupled with increased energy and better rest can often be a simple fix for a often debilitating challenge. To add to that the extracts calming effect will make you more relaxed and give you that extra edge you might need to cope with stress.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet– Longan Fruit is pretty incredible superfood and a delicious way of becoming healthy, happy and beautiful!