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The wonderful qualities of the monk fruit

Updated on September 13, 2014
The Luo Han Guo or Monk Fruit
The Luo Han Guo or Monk Fruit | Source

By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

On the Luo Han Guo

Luo Han Guo. A fruit of benevolence and needless to say, great benefits.

Some may not be familiar with its name, but the monk fruit has been an indispensable part of the lives of the people who embrace the Buddhist faith.

I am not Buddhist myself, but do attest to the many health benefits it has. This after seeing how my husband has had numerous coughs alleviated by it.

It is also a part of Buddhist culture to be held in regard and cherished.

I wax a little lyrical by this coarse looking, though healthily powerful fruit with a little epulaeryu attached to the head photo of this article.

What would you use the Monk Fruit for?

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What exactly is the the monk fruit?

Luo Han Guo, or the Monk Fruit, is a member of the gourd family that is native to Southern China and Thailand.

Known as La Han Qua in Vietnamese, it has other primarily Buddhist names of the arhat fruit or longevity fruit, owing to the fact that the health benefits that it has do lengthen life.

The luo han guo being cultivated
The luo han guo being cultivated | Source

History and cultivation of the monk fruit

The vine on which this lovely fruit grows attains a length of 3 to 5 meters. Round, about 5 to 7 cm in diameter, the fruit is sometimes mistaken as a mangosteen.

The germination of the fruit takes several months, much slower than others fruits. Records from the Chinese province of Guangxi mention its growth and cultivation.

Its home is primarily Longjiang Town in Yongfu County, which has taken on the name of the Home of the Luohanguo Fruit.

Luo Han Guo is often used as a Sweetener
Luo Han Guo is often used as a Sweetener | Source

The uses of the Monk Fruit

Luohanguo is consumed owing to its literally sweet nature and for the general goodness of health.

Sweetners

The fruit is naturally sweet, so many swear by its ability to help one manage weight. The sweet taste of the fruit comes from monogrosides, a chemical compound that gives the fruit its sweet taste. Sweeteners like Monk Fruit In The Raw and Nectresse are made from Monk fruit extract, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar.

The fruit is often boiled until a concentrated liquid or the extract forms. This is used as a substitute for sugar.

Herbal Teas

Some smash the fruit and put the tea in soup stock bags to be brewed and consumed. Others, like my better half, boil and drink the sweet liquid that is produced after it bursts on its own.

The tea has curative properties that many will swear by, as this recipe for the tea will show.

Herbal soup

Some would boil the fruit with other ingredients like chicken, carrots or pork. The resulting rich soup is a staple at dinner. An example is this recipe for luohan guo soup with diakon carrot and pork.

Luo Han Guo drink in the making.
Luo Han Guo drink in the making. | Source

Benefits of the monk fruit for the body

If it is not already very obvious that monk fruit has unarguable health benefits, it is time to lay the cards on the table.

These benefits might just persuade one to grab the fruit from supermarkets or specialty Asian stores.

Lowers Fever

Those who have experienced the benefits of the monk fruit will attest to its ability to lower body heat.

My husband often gets coughs and fevers resulting from such heat and the boiled fruit helps to lower his body temperature to a good level of comfort.

Weight management

Although it is very much sweeter than sugar, the monk fruit contains none of the calories sugar does. The fruit has been a secret weapon for weight management for the Chinese for centuries.

Such sweeteners help diabetics who cannot tolerate sugar as it has a low gylcemic index.. The fruit resolves the malnourishment that results in hair loss.

Lung and spleen

It is a naturally cooling fruit, which enters the easily heated meridians of the lung and spleen and helps to reduce the heat within these organs. Dry coughs and diseases like acute bronchitis, tonsilitis and gastritis are better treated. It prevents heatstroke in hotter climes.

Reduces constipation

The fruit also regulates bowel movements and relieves the symptoms of constipation, thereby also detoxifying the body.

Other uses

The root of the tree can treat skin infections such as ringworm, carbuncles and boils. while the hair effectively treats wounds.It also contains beneficial antioxidants.

Unripened monk fruit
Unripened monk fruit | Source

The side effects of the monk fruit

Generally speaking, the fruit is harmless. However it has to be consumed bearing a few things in mind.

The cooling effect

Practitioners of traditional Chinese Medicine do not recommend too much of the fruit for a person whose body tends to have less heat. The result might be a dry cough. The fruit extract should preferably be accompanied by other drinks.

Affects appetite

The fruit can be excessively sweet for some. The sweetness can reduce one’s appetite, for better or worse.

An open luo han guo.
An open luo han guo. | Source

An Epulaeryu

I include an epulaeryu poem in dedication to this little fruit. An epulaeryu is a 33 syllable poem with 7 syllables in the first line, 5 in the second and so on in this pattern:

7-5-7-5-5-3-1

It was constructed by Joseph Spence Sr who visited various parts of the world in search of different cuisine. It ends with an exclamation mark to indicate the author’s love for the food.

Fruit of benevolence

Fruit of good to often bless,

Imbibed drink to quell,

Dousing liquid to give rest,

A healing fount, some tell

Benevolence cools

To comfort

ah!

Conclusion

A fruit that benefits, do give it a try. Until then, have a happy weekend!

Original Work

Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

All Rights Reserved.

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    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I'm sure that you'll be able to find some exotic fruits in Asian Markets, Glim!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I really wish we had access to more exotic fruits and veggies in NW Pennsylvania. Really interesting hub.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Sure, vibesites. Will look into other unique fruits!

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      First time I've heard and seen of a monk fruit. Really interesting indeed, it looks like I would like to taste one. Wish you profile other different and unique fruits. Thanks for posting :)

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, DDE!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Carter! The sweetners are available!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Eddy!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Perhaps it's possible! The Asian markets might just carry it.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Dianna! You can try the Asian stores, those might carry it! Thanks for sharing!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The wonderful qualities of the monk fruit so well informed and I had no idea of this fruit. A unique fruit and is useful too.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Wow midget thanks for introducing us to a new fruit!! love the fact that it's sweeter than sugar but has less calories & is good for weight loss! Such an interesting fruit with so many benefits..cheers

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Michelle and one for me to save onto my FB page A Brand New Dawn.

      Eddy.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Janet, Perhaps the Asian Markets do. Try the specialty stores as well.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Susan, it is a beneficial fruit.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      In Canada, I found it in a health food store. So may be Denise can find it in that kind of store in the US?

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I think you might. Try speciality Asian stores, Denise. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, keep an eye out and it is easy to prepare. Thanks, Mary!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      It does, had some for a sore throat this morning, J9 and it is better. Thanks and have a great weekend!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      If you run into the fruit, do give it a try! Thanks, Bill!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks so much, srsddin.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I am going to have to look this up next time I am at the market. It has so many benefits. Thanks for the introduction to this fruit.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      This is very interesting. I have never heard of this fruit, but am intrigued especially since it is a natural sweetener. I don't think, however, these are available in Georgia :(

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 4 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      What climate does this fruit grow in?

      Can one find it in the USA?

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I never heard of that fruit before Michelle! After reading this article in the morning... I went shopping and bought some special sugar with Monk Fruit. I can't wait to test it in my tea!

      Thanks for talking about this special fruit!

      Have a fantastic weekend!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      This fruit is absolutely new to me. Very interesting hub about this healthy fruit. I don't know if I can get it here in Germany but maybe the Asian markets have them. I will check it out. Thanks for sharing.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Wonder if this Monk Fruit is only found in your region? I never heard of it, either. Interesting read, though.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just like most people that have commented before me I've never heard of this fruit either.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I've never heard of this fruit and am curious now if we carry it here in the US. What is the usual season for it? Thanks. UP/U/I and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Boy we're missing out on some good stuff here in the states! We think we know it all and then a hub like yours comes along and we know we don't! Like Bill and Janine, I've never heard of this fruit before but guess I'll keep an eye out. Maybe specialty stores.

      Sounds like Mr. Spence was truly enchanted with this fruit! Voted up, useful, interesting, tweeted, and shared.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Never heard of this fruit before, but sounds like it has some great effects, so thank you for sharing this with all of us!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will have to take your word for this one, Michelle; we do not get these here, or if we do I've never seen them or heard of them.....thanks for the information and have a great weekend.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      midget38, I did not know about it. Thanks for introducing this interesting fruit with all these qualities. Interesting.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      On the cooling effect of the Monk Fruit.