Loquat a heavenly fruit in Pakistan need recognition
Loquat, Latin name Eriobotrya japonica, is an exotic fruit which is rich in vitamin A, B, and C. Moreover it also contains many other nutrients including carotenoids, antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolics etc. The loquat fruit grows as evergreen small tree or shrubs which have different sizes ranging from 20-30 feet height.
Loquat has round crown, short trunk and wooly new twigs. The loquat has evergreen leaves which have lanceolate and elliptical shape. The leaves are different in length, ranges from 12.5 to 30 cm long and having width of 7.5 to 10 cm. The upper surface is shiny green and some whitish look and have oblique or parallel veins.
The loquat tree has white colored flowers which have 5-6 petals and born in clusters. The terminal bloom having range of 30-100. The loquat is pome fruit having 2.5-3cm length having yellow to orange peel. The average weight of fruit is about 6-7 grams and having 3-4 seeds insides the fruit.
Types of loquat
The taste of fruit is sweet and slightly acidic. It can be propagated sexually as well A-sexually. The loquat having two major types of varieties, the one is known as Orange Fleshed varieties, have different cultivars like Big Jim, Tanaka, Early Red and Mrs. Cooksey. The other variety named as White Fleshed having many cultivars like Advance, Victory, Vista White and Benlehr.
Loquat is a shrub type plant which is native to China and known as Chinese plum. Loquat fruit is round, or pear shaped and have the yellow coloured skin, contains a stone inside which is of brown colour.
In Pakistan, best production areas of loquat fruit are Chooya Saidan, Kallar Kahar, Soon Valley and Hassanabdal in Punjab province while in north west side of country there are areas like Peshawar Valley, Kohat Valley and Haripur district which have significant contribution in total production of this fruit. These zones are situated at 34° latitude and 75° longitude having 480 mm annual rainfall which suits the production of loquat.
It is botanically renown as Eriobotrya japonica and belongs to family Rosaceae. The Rosacear family is very famous due its largess regarding to its number of species that is 3400 and includes flowering plants like apple, pear, peaches, and plums etc.
The loquat fruit has historic background, it was reported in 2000 years ago in China. Loquat, as reviewed in literature was discovered from South China and then brings to Japan around 900 years ago, from where it travels to Indian Sub-Continent. Lately, it treks to Mediterranean countries, lastly goes to North, and South America and Australia.
It has also considerable produce in different countries like Georgia, Armenia, Iraq, Chile, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kenya, India, Bermuda, Afghanistan, South Africa, Pakistan, Tonga, Reunion, Mexico, New Zealand and USA.
Loquat is a famous tasty and nutritious fruit which can be relished fresh and in processed form. It is used to make many products like jams, jellies and juices.
Loquat cultivation in Pakistan
Pakistan have produce appreciable quantities of loquat for local consumption. Pakistan is the main producer and have largest planted area in South Asia. Loquat fruit is utilized from a long time ago due to its therapeutic potential for asthma, and now in focus due to its explored anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antioxidative and anticancer properties. The loquat is very nutritious fruit having many advantages to human health. It contains antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolics and terpenes which keep human healthy and cured many diseases. Numerous health benefits are taken from fruits which shows why the fruit is good for health.
Every part of this marvellous plant has significant health benefits. Its leaves used to make tea which have pleasant taste and impart relaxation effects. The fruit can be processed into confectionaries.
Loquat is now grown worldwide, over large diverse geographical locations. China leads the production and stood at top of the list with a produce area of greater than 120,000 ha, with yearly production of 400,000 tons. The rise in range and production has been mounting since 1970.
The fruiting period spreads from December to July depends on topography, environment and type of plant.
Loquat tea is frequently recommended as a way of protected or treating diabetes. By using this tea, the blood sugar seems to be remarkably reduced in those persons which ingest fruit regularly. The loquat tea has organic compounds which maintain the level of insulin and glucose and prevent body from diabetes.
The immune system is very important for body. The loquat fruit is rich in vitamin C, so this fruit is used to strengthen the immune system of human body. The vitamin C initiates the formation of white blood cells which act as a wall against the pathogens. The growth and repairing of tissues is done by compound known as collagen which is also produce with the help of vitamin C.
Bones play a very significant role in the body as they maintain the shape of body. The reducing level of minerals in the old age is very common. The loquat fruit have many nutrients and hormones which is used as cure of bone nutrients as it maintains its level.
Regulates circulatory system
Anaemia is very serious disease which is cause by the iron deficiency. The loquat is rich source of iron by using this patient of anaemia recover quickly and healthy person protects from anaemia. The iron is major constituent of haemoglobin which is act as transporter of oxygenated blood trough out the body. Loquat is used to boost the circulation of blood.
Lowers blood pressure
The loquat fruit have bundle of nutrients, so these nutrients and minerals are used to regulate blood system. The potassium is very important for cardiovascular which act as vasodilator. The rich amount of potassium is present in the loquat fruit. The potassium is also known as brain booster as it increases the blood circulation in brain veins.
Reduce irregular hunger pangs
The hunger pangs are the symptoms of empty stomach. The loquat fruit is rich in fibre which stays longer period of time in the stomach and act as cure of hunger pangs. The fibre also beneficial for those people who want to lose their weight.
Improve eye vision
Loquat fruit have many vitamins and among them vitamin A have its significance for vision. Vitamin A is very beneficial for eyes so by using loquat, the eye side become strong and clear from any other problem. The vitamin A protect eyes from free radicals which prevent from these bad radicals.
Lowers cancer risk
Cancer is very common and dangerous disease. The loquat fruit has many beneficial antioxidants which could protect humans from cancer by neutralize the free radicles which came as a by-product in metabolism process. The loquat tea reduces the chances of oral cancers and reduce the level of lungs occurrence rate.
Studies revealed that loquat fruit extracts have substantial inhibitory potential against invasiveness of MDA MB 231 breast cancer cells in human by impeding enzymatic activities of matrix metalloproteinases.
Furthermore, other research studies showed the leaves of loquat plant also exhibits the anticancer activities due to matrix metalloproteinases in addition with EBBR3 gene expressions. Loquat fruit skin has also been studies for anticancer effects and founded to be as effective as leaves, so this can also be used for the prevention of breast cancer in addition to many others.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz.)
|Vitamin A||76 µg|
|Vitamin B||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin C||1 mg|
This article is jointly written by Muhammad Shahroz Khan1 and Wahab Ali Khan2. The authors are from 1 Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-Pakistan; and 2 National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-Pakistan.
Author: Muhammad Shahroz Khan is currently pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture from University of Agriculture Faisalabad Pakistan. He has experienced in Horticulture by internships and broad his vision by many conferences, workshops and seminars. He is very intellectual and hardworking.