1.2- Species Siraitia grosvenorii - Luo Han Guo + Overview Siraitia grosvenoriiis aherbaceousperennialvineof theCucurbitaceae(gourd) family, native to southernChinaand northernThailand. The plant is cultivated for itsfruit, whose extract is nearly 300 timessweeterthan sugar and has been used in China as a natural low-caloriesweetenerfor cooling drinks, and intraditional Chinese medicineto treatdiabetesand obesity. Luo han guo refers to the fruit of Siraitia grosvenorii, a perennial, dioecious, herbaceous climbing vine, 2 to 5 m in length. It is cultivated in southern China, mainly in the Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi provinces, with most of the product from the mountains of Guilin. The round, green fruit turns brown when dried and is covered with small hairs. This is a distinct plant from bitter melon, Momordica charantia. + The names - Scientific name: Siraitia grosvenorii(Swingle)C.JeffreyexA.M.Lu&Zhi Y.Zhang. The scientific species name honorsGilbert Grosvenorwho as president of theNational Geographic Societyhelped to fund an expedition in the 1930s to find the living plant where it was being cultivated. - Synonyms: Momordica grosvenoriiSwingle Thladiantha grosvenorii(Swingle) C.Jeffrey. - Common names: The plant's fruit is often called in English language publications luo han guo or lo han kuo (from the Chineseluóhàn guǒ). It may also be called la han qua (from Vietnamesela hán quả), arhat fruit, Buddha fruit, monk fruit, or longevity fruit (although this name has been used for several other fruits).
2- Characteristics of the Species Siraitia grosvenorii - Luo Han Guo
2.1- Description Luo Han Guo (also called monk fruit or Buddha fruit) refers to the fruit of Siraitia grosvenorii, formerly called Momordica grosvenorii, a member of the Curcubitaceae. + The plant The vine attains a length of 3 to 5 m, climbing over other plants by means of tendrils which twine around anything they touch. + The leaves The narrow, heart-shaped leaves are 10-20 cm long. + The flowers Unisexual flowers are dioecious; all peduncle, pedicel, sepals, and petals are pubescent and covered with glandular hairs; male flowers are axillary and 5 to 7 of them arrange in racemes; female flowers are solitary in leaf axils. Flowering time is from June to August and fruiting time is from August to October. + The fruits Luo Han Guo(luohanguo) refers to the fruit of species Siraitia grosvenori, formerly calledMomordica grosvenori, a member of the family Cucurbitaceae. The fruit is round, oblong or obovate, 5-7 cm in diameter, smooth, yellow-brownish or green-brownish in colour, containing striations from the fruit stem end of the furrows with a hard but thin skin covered by fine hairs. The skin is dark reddish brown when young and green and pubescent when mature. The inside of the fruit contains an edible pulp, which, when dried, forms a thin, light brown, brittle shell about 1 mm in thickness. The round, green fruit turns brown when dried and is covered with small hairs. This is a distinct plant from bitter melon, Momordica charantia . The fruit is sometimes mistaken for the unrelated purple mangosteen. The interior fruit is eaten fresh, and the bitter rind is used to make tea. The monk fruit is notable for its sweetness, which can be concentrated from its juice. The fruit contains 25 to 38% of various carbohydrates, mainly fructose and glucose. The sweetness of the fruit is increased by the mogrosides, a group of triterpene glycosides (saponins). The five different mogrosides are numbered from I to V; the main component is mogroside V, which is also known as esgoside. The fruit also contains vitamin C. + The seeds The seeds are elongated and almost spherical.
2.2- Origin and Distribution + Origin Siraitia grosvenoriiis aherbaceousperennialvineof theCucurbitaceae(gourd) family, native to southernChinaand northernThailand. + Distribution It is cultivated in southern China, mainly in the Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi provinces, with most of the product from the mountains of Guilin. Due to its limited natural growing area (mainly mountain sides in Guangxi and Guangdong; to a much lesser extent, in Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Hainan Island), and difficulty in cultivating it successfully, this fruit did not enter the general herb tradition of China, which depended on more abundant products. So, it is not mentioned in the traditional herb guides. Longjiang Town in Yongfu County has acquired the name "home of the Chinese luohanguo fruit"; a number of companies specialised in making luohanguo extracts and finished products have been set up in the area. The Yongfu Pharmaceutical Factory is the oldest of these.
2.3- Nutrition Modern medical studies have proven that it contains one kind of sweetener that is more than 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. More importantly, it produces no calories. For that reason, it becomes the best sugar substitute for those who can’t eat sugar, for example patients of obesity and diabetes. It mainly contains non-sugar natural sweetener - the triterpenoid glycosides, which include mogroside (esgoside), mogroside, and D-mannitol. According to the result of a measurement, the natural sweetness of them is 300 times of cane sugar. And it still contains large amounts of glucose, 14% fructose, protein, vitamin C, and 26 kinds of inorganic elements like manganese, iron, nickel, selenium, tin, iodine, molybdenum and others. What’s more, fatty acids include linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid, lauric acid, and decanoic acid.
2.4- Benefits of Monk fruits As for whether or not it is a yin tonic, currently there is still a debate as no relevant documentation is found in traditional Chinese medical literature. But it is certain that this herb does clear heat and moisten lung. Modern medical studies have proven that it contains one kind of sweetener that is more than 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. More importantly, it produces no calories. For that reason, it becomes the best sugar substitute for those who can’t eat sugar, for example patients of obesity and diabetes. As mentioned above, it has plenty of health benefits. First and foremost, being one of best sweeteners for diabetics, this fruit itself can help to treat diabetics too. Besides, it is rich in vitamin C, which makes it a wonder herb with anti-aging, anti-cancer, and skin-care properties. Last but not least, it can help decrease lipid, lose weight, and assist the treatment of HLP (hyperlipidaemia). Apart from being one of healthy and safe sugar substitutes, clinically it is widely used for the treatments of whooping cough, constipation, acute bronchitis, acute tonsillitis, sore throats, cute gastritis, etc. Different parts of grosvener siraitia have particular emphasis on different medicinal uses. Its mashed root is able to cure stubborn psoriasis, carbuncles, boils, etc. in external use; fruit hair can be used for wounds; fruit tea can be a cool refreshing drink that can prevent respiratory infections. And it can prolong life too if drunk in daily basis. In addition, the monk fruit concentrate and extract are often utilized as a condiment to make nourishing stew, broth, cakes, candy, cookies, granules, syrups, fruit essence, cough syrup, and so on. Source: Monk fruit lo han guo http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/monk-fruit-lo-han-guo .
3- The Uses of Luo Han Guo fruits
Luo han guo has been used for centuries in China and in Southeast Asia for its sweet flavor and medicinal properties. Historic writings record Song Dynasty monks brewing it as a medicinal beverage more than 800 years ago. In southern China, luo han guo is popularly considered a longevity aid and is used to balance heat buildup caused by internal conditions, life-forces, or external heat. It is used as an expectorant and antitussive to treat lung congestion, cough, other respiratory ailments, and sore throat. It also is used for constipation and chronic enteritis. Luo han guo is a low-caloric, low-glycemic food used as a sweetener in beverages and cooked food. The dried fruit has been used as an ingredient in soup or stew to prevent symptoms of long-term conditions or for ongoing treatment. It is used as a tea for immediate relief of discomfort. The plant is most prized for its sweet fruits, which are used for medicinal purposes and as asweetener.The fruits are generally sold in dried form, and traditionally used in herbal teaor soup. 3.1- Food Uses Luo han guo is a low-caloric, low-glycemic food used as a sweetener in beverages and cooked food. This fruit is high in nutritional value too and can be consumed in a few simple ways. Besides making tea with boiling water, you can also use it to stew soup and make congee.
3.2- Medicinal Uses + Traditional Medicines - History Luo han guo has been used for centuries in China and in Southeast Asia for its sweet flavor and medicinal properties. Historic writings record Song Dynasty monks brewing it as a medicinal beverage more than 800 years ago. The dried fruit has been used as an ingredient in soup or stew to prevent symptoms of long-term conditions or for ongoing treatment. It is used as a tea for immediate relief of discomfort. Luohanguo has been used in parts of southern China as a fruit that enhances longevity. There is a high proportion of centenarians in the areas of south China where the fruit grows. This is probably why the fruit has gained its reputation as a longevity fruit. Traditional Chinese medicine has long used luohanguo to treat many deaseas, including obesity. - Applications 1. Heat stroke with thirst: Take one fruit, break it open and stir into boiled water. Drink the liquid in place of tea. 2. Acute or chronic throat inflammation; aphonia: Take half a fruit and 3-5 seeds of sterculia. Cover with water and simmer, then swallow very slowly. 3. Chronic cough: Take 1 piece of fruit, cover with water, simmer, and drink the liquid. Do this twice each day. 4. Constipation in the aged: Take 2 pieces of fruit, obtain the juicy part and the seed (put the shell aside for other uses), break apart, cover with water, and simmer. Drink before going to bed. 5. Diabetes: Take an appropriate measure of the fruit and crush it or simmer it into a thick juice and add to food being prepared, using it as a substitute for sugar.
+ Modern pharmacological actions of Luo Han Guo - Active agents The sweet taste of the fruit comes mainly from mogrosides, a group of triterpeneglycosides that make up about 1% of the flesh of the fresh fruit. Through solvent extraction, a powder containing 80% mogrosides can be obtained, the main one being mogroside-5 (esgoside) Other similar agents in the fruit are siamenoside and neomogroside. Recent research suggests isolated mogrosides have antioxidant properties and may have limited anti-cancer effects. Mogrosides have also been shown to inhibit induction of Epstein-Barr virus in vitro. The plant also contains the glycoprotein momorgrosvin, which has been shown to inhibit ribosomal protein synthesis. - Other studies 1. D-mannitol can relieve cough. It is used to treat cerebral edema as it can improve blood osmotic pressure and increase intracranial pressure. And it is stronger than urea on dehydration and time of duration. Also it is often used for edema caused by large area burns and scalds, acute renal failure, glaucoma, and so on; 2. Luo Han Guo tea (15% tea, 77.5% monk fruit, and 7.5% its preparation) has no significant effect on the spontaneous activity of mouse’s isolated small intestine. However, in vitro it can enhance the spontaneous activity of the small intestine of rabbits and dogs. And it plays an antagonistic role to acetylcholine or barium chloride induced intestinal tonic contraction and then brings relaxation to bowel spasm. In addition, it also has antagonistic action on epinephrine induced intestinal relaxation, which thus restore the spontaneous activity of bowel. That shows that this tea has dual-direction regulation on the motor function of the small intestine; 3. Luo Han Guo tea has on effect on normal rabbits’ gastric electrical activity. That’s to say, it won’t affect the normal gastrointestinal motor function. And the gavage to anesthetized dogs showed no noticeable changes on their blood pressure and ECG. Source: Monk fruit lo han guo http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/monk-fruit-lo-han-guo.