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Loquat or Biwa- The Medicinal Tree Loved by The Buddha

Updated on August 10, 2014
Loquat fruit is delicious and healthy
Loquat fruit is delicious and healthy | Source

I came upon the loquat tree by chance; in the sense that I did not know its many benefits and role in Buddhist Medicine. Somehow there was a loquat growing happily in my garden in Bangalore and when it began to flower, I loved the sweet fragrance of its clusters of white flowers that grew near my bedroom windows. When it began to fruit, I was delighted to find that I could eat the delicious yellow fruit which was tarty until fully ripe. It tasted like a blend of apricot and pineapple.

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Loquat Leaf Decoction for Deworming

My Japanese friends told me that the tea from the loquat leaves was a common remedy for various ills in Japan. One of its uses was deworming. I was told to wash the mature leaves, rub away the hairs on the undersides, snip them into tiny pieces (scissors do the job well) and boil them on a low flame for at least half an hour until the water was a deep pink. I loved the colour.

I gave the decoction to my doggies instead of giving them the usual deworming pills. I knew the tea would have many more benefits for them. I would just add the decoction to milk.

Loquat Leaf Tea

I gave tea made from the dried loquat leaves to a friend who, after a major surgery, had discovered that she was a borderline diabetic. Her pancreas was slightly damaged because of her many years of smoking. My research on the Internet had revealed that loquat leaf tea was good for the pancreas. It stimulated the production of insulin.

The Loquat is an Ornamental Evergreen Tree
The Loquat is an Ornamental Evergreen Tree | Source

How to Prepare Loquat Leaf Tea

My Japanese friends told me to pick the mature leaves of the loquat, carefully wipe away the tiny hairs on the undersides of the leaves which could be irritants, wash the leaves and put them out in the sun to dry until they were crisp enough to be crumbled. Then you could turn the leaves into tea powder in the mixie.

The Buddha thought very highly of the medicinal values of the loquat tree
The Buddha thought very highly of the medicinal values of the loquat tree | Source

The Buddha's Great Medicinal Tree

The Buddha, in the Nirvana Sutra Volume 9, is quoted as saying: The great medicinal tree has its healing power in its branches, leaves, roots, and stems. Those who suffer from illness shall smell its essence, feel it with hands, lick it and taste it, and they shall all be relieved from all the sufferings. The Buddha believed the leaves to be of greatest value. He called them mu-yu-sen, meaning fans that free us from any worry. The seeds he called Ten shin, meaning God.

The Loquat Leaf Remedy in Buddhist Medicine

According to Dr. Osamu Shimadas Understanding Buddhist Medicine, the Loquat Leaf Remedy or Biwa Kyu as its known in Japan, is the foundation of Buddhist Medicine. Shimada writes: Biwa Kyu is a combination of acupuncture and cauterization techniques, which focuses on removing the dirty/toxic blood. Since most of the modern illnesses are caused by Ki tai and dirty/toxic blood, the remedy has an immediate effect.

The Empress Komyo in 730, spent her fortune on establishing many clinics in the temples which used the Loquat Leaf Remedy. She even performed the treatment on those who sought her help. For this, she is known as the Mother of Buddhist Medicine.

Loquat Cures Cancer and More

An article on Middlepath.comsays that drinking loquat leaf tea and eating 2 seeds per day has been successfully used for blood vessel and bone marrow, liver and pancreatic cancer. Cancerous tumours were healed by placing the leaves on them daily and using moxibustion.

Loquat leaf tea has traditionally been used in Japan for cough, but not for coughs caused by cold. It also relieves vomiting and summer thirst and bronchitis.

The fruit contains potassium, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, carotene, tannate, vitamins A, B and C, B and B-complex vitamins such as folates, vitamin B-6 and niacin. The leaves and seeds contain the anticancer vitamin, amygdalin, also known as B17 or laetrile.

The flowers of the loquat are fragrant and attract lots of bees
The flowers of the loquat are fragrant and attract lots of bees | Source

How to Grow Loquat

The Loquat tree is also a popular ornamental tree which does not grow too tall and can be grown in a large pot. The picture above is of my loquat seedling grown from seed. I planted the seeds from freshly eaten fruit into a planter with a mix of earth and cowdung and horse manure. I added pieces of clay pot shards at the bottom, as loquat requires good draining.

It took two months for the seeds to sprout. I did not inundate the planter with water which could actually make the seeds rot. The seeds require moist earth, not sludge. I placed the planter in the shade and my transplanted seedlings are still in the shade. The loquat is happy both in sun and shade once its all grown up.

Be careful when transplanting your loquat when its ready to go into the earth. Id recommend growing the plants as big as they can get in a biggish clay pot. Once they're tall enough, break the pot and put the plant mud and all into the dug up pit. The roots are shallow and grow vertically, so this shouldn't be difficult, but they say that loquats hate being transplanted and indeed, I lost one when I tried to uproot it from my garden and transfer it to a pot.

Would you plant one in your garden? Or order some loquat leaf tea from the Internet?

© 2014 Anita Saran

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