If you have spent any time in China or Japan, you may have come across the Loquat tree. This medium sized tree grows to between ten and fifteen feet high and bears rich foliage. The leaves on this tree are evergreen and glossy, growing up to 12 inches long. When chewed or infused into a tea, these leaves have several benefits for your health. Read on for more information on what loquat leaf can do for you, as well as information on similar herbal remedies.
Health Benefits of Loquat Leaf
Loquat tea is a tasty beverage that can be used to treat some of the symptoms of the common cold. Its most notable use is as an expectorant. The tea helps to break up stubborn mucus in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough up.
Along with helping to remove mucus, loquat tea can be used to reduce digestive issues. It is most commonly used to treat diarrhea and upset stomach. It is consumed as an everyday tea in Japan, where it is known as biwa-cha. Drink the tea before bed to help with sleep issues, as it has a mild sedative effect.
Loquat leaf was traditionally used as a way to reduce skin inflammation. It can be used in a topical cream to fight histamine-induced skin contraction and edema. Biwa-cha is believed to help beautify the skin and reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
Loquat tea is also gaining a reputation in China as a treatment for diabetes. The leaves are reported to contain tormentic acid, a compound that increases insulin production. While this tea is certainly safe to drink by those who are diabetic, more research is needed before it is certain whether it can be depended on to treat diabetes. If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor about adding the herb to your treatment plan.
Finally, look to loquat to provide some of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. The leaves are high in vitamin A and C, along with calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus.
Other Natural Expectorants
If loquat leaves are not to your taste (or if you cannot find a local supply), there are other herbs you can turn to if you need an expectorant. One of the most common is hyssop. Hyssop is a bushy herb that is often made into tea. You can drink this tea to get its expectorant benefits. You may also wish to allow the tea to cool and gargle it to help soothe a sore throat.
Hyssop can be combined with another herb to create an expectorant tea. Combine and eighth of an ounce of hyssop with an eighth of an ounce of horehound. Infuse it in one pint of boiling water for ten minutes to create an expectorant tea. Sweeten with honey to taste.
Elecampane is another common expectorant. This herb is easy to cultivate and can be used in interesting ways. One way to gain its benefits is to infuse it in honey. Fill half a jar with bite-sized pieces of elecampane roots. Fill the rest of the jar with honey and let sit. Turn the jar over a few times a day for a few days. Once a few days have passed it is ready. Simply eat the honey to soothe away coughs and help break up mucus. Store your infused honey in the refrigerator between uses. Elecampane infused honey is a great alternative to drugstore cough syrups. Not only will it help you avoid the side effects of these drugs, it is also so tasty that kids will eat it.
Thyme is found in many kitchens, but it is also a great herbal way to treat bronchial issues. Use it to create a steam bath by adding a handful of dried leaves to a bowl of steaming water. Breathe in the steam to help clear out the respiratory tract. Put a towel over your head while breathing in to help surround yourself with the steam.
Loquat leaf is one of many herbs that can be used to break up stubborn phlegm. It is safe to consume daily and makes for a great weapon in any herbalistís cold-fighting arsenal.