by Carolyn Gotay, PhD, CAHS
Professor Emeritus of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
Scientific Advisor to Project Loquat
Millions of people around the world have used loquat for centuries to treat cough, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
The Loquat (eriobotrya japonica) is a medicinal plant native to Japan but commonly grown in Austin. Its fruits, seeds, and leaves can be used in teas and tinctures.
How does loquat work? While the answer to this question isn’t fully known, a body of laboratory-based research supports its role in reducing inflammation.
Loquat has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, particularly for inflammatory pulmonary conditions and diseases such as asthma, cough, and bronchitis (1). In Japan, loquat is also used in skin care (2).
An impressive number of test-tube and animal studies has demonstrated positive effects of loquat, particularly on the lungs.
Data show that loquat works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (1,3). As of May 29, 2020, 262 English language peer-reviewed papers on loquat’s health effects were listed in PubMed.gov, the National Library of Medicine’s online repository of health research publications.
Although loquat’s use in health care has a long history, research conducted in humans has not yet been reported. Only one case of a toxicity associated with loquat has been reported more than a decade ago in a patient taking loquat for diabetes self-management (4).
Liu Y, Zhang W, Xu C, Li X (2016). Biological Activities of Extracts from Loquat (Eriobotrya Japonica Lindl.): A Review. Int J Mol Sci 2016 Dec 6;17(12):1983. doi: 10.3390/ijms17121983.
Tan H, Sonam T, Shimizu K (2017). The Potential of Triterpenoids from Loquat Leaves (Eriobotrya Japonica) for Prevention and Treatment of Skin Disorder. Int J Mol Sci
2017 May 11;18(5):1030. doi: 10.3390/ijms18051030
Tao J, Hou Y, Ma X, Liu D, Tong Y, Zhou H, Gao J, Bai G. An integrated global
chemomics and system biology approach to analyze the mechanisms of the
traditional Chinese medicinal preparation Eriobotrya japonica - Fritillaria
usuriensis dropping pills for pulmonary diseases. BMC Complement Altern Med.
2016 Jan 8;16:4. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0983-y. PMID: 26742634; PMCID:
Saliba WRT, Goldstein LH, Habib GS, Elias MS (2004). Toxic myopathy induced by the ingestion of loquat leaf extract. Ann Rheum Dis 2004; 63:1355-6, doi: 10.11.36/ard.2003.016790.