از میوه های مناطق گرمسیری به خصوص مالزی ،تایلند،چین می باشد. منشا آن تایلند است و در آنجا به چشم اژدها معروف است.
به عقیده چینیها دارای طبع گرم است.
میوه تازه آن به رنگ نارنجی و خشک آن به رنگ قهوه ای است.
در مالزی به چشم گربه معروف است چون پوست کنده آن شبیه به کره چشم ،زجاج وسفید و هسته آن شبیه مردمک چشم وسیاه است.
میوه آن بسیار شیرین ، شاداب و پرطراوت است و مردم آسیای شرقی اغلب آن را چه تازه یا خشک در سوپ ، تنقلات و دسر هم استفاده می کنند .
شربت و کنسرو آن نیز در سوپر مارکت یافت می شود.
همچنین از لونگان در صنعت لیکور(نوشابه الکلی) استفاده می شود.
That’s the English name. They call it “long yan rou” in China, which translates as dragon’s eye meat. There, it has been used as part of their herbal medicinal practices for at least several hundred years. According to that tradition, it is believed to:
To be clear, that list is what traditional Eastern medicine purports. Those are not health advantages backed by Western medicine. In fact, if you look in the NIH’s PubMed database, you won’t find a single human clinical trial involving longan fruit. No for any disease or condition!
However, researchers here have begun studying the fruit more in the laboratory to explore thepossibility of benefits. Some of their findings are quite intriguing.
About the size of a ping pong ball, this fruit comes from a subtropical tree which is native to the southern portion of China and Burma. Reaching up to 40 feet in height, it grows as wide as it does tall. A fully mature Dimocarpus longan tree can produce a massive crop of up to 500 lbs. of fruit (1).
Since each piece only weighs around 4 grams (0.14 oz.), that means up to 50,000 fruits per year, per tree.
In scientific circles, it’s also called Euphoria longan Lour. and Dimocarpus longan Lour. For the layman, misspellings of it are common including logan and lonan.
For starters, you don’t eat the peel. That part is always discarded. The seed is rarely consumed, except when it is ground up and used in some herbal tonics, such as for a tea.
The sweet and juicy pulp is the part you eat. Its flavor is often compared to its relative, the lychee. Both are members of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). Others compare its taste to the honeydew melon.
However you want to describe it, you won’t use the name of a citrus fruit. The longan has no acidity, or at least not any that your tongue will detect.
The scent is extremely subtle yet unique – if your nose can detect it, you will probably agree it’s what a gardenia flower smells like, albeit much milder.
As a food, it may be an acquired taste for you.
This is because of a distinct musky aftertaste, which is experienced with some varieties more than others. It’s most noticeable on the dried longan, since the flavors are concentrated. But after you devour a bag or two, you should be hooked!
The short answer is not many places. Your best option will be the dried, which are also delicious.
In addition to its native homeland, you will find this evergreen tree grown in Thailand, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. It does need a change of seasons but without frost, which excludes the fully tropical climates.
Even trying to grow a longan tree in the Philippines – which is just a couple hundred miles south of Taiwan – doesn’t work. The constant warmth and lack of distinct seasons results in the tree not bearing fruit.
While you’re unlikely to find a longan tree for sale in California at most nurseries, some areas in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties can work well for growing it. Though it doesn’t handle SoCal’s hot summers very well, which will be an issue outside of the coastal communities. No one is growing it commercially in the CA.
It wasn’t until the 1990’s when commercial production of it began in the state of Florida (2). If you’re lucky enough to find fresh longan fruit for sale anywhere in the United States, chances are it was grown in Florida.
Since it does contain a lot of water, making longan fruit juice would be a nice treat if you can get your hands on the fresh stuff.
A number of tropical fruit farms in Florida grow it, which means you can find it fresh there when in season – July and August. Outside of that time and state, we haven’t seen it for sale (if you have, please share in the comments).
Here in Los Angeles where Superfoodly is based, we have never seen it for sale at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a place like Walmart. Where to buy it dried? Not at those places either!
Luckily, we remain satisfied buying the dried version online. Some sellers offer them by the pound for a reasonable price. You can’t use the dry ones for juicing, but adding a few to smoothies can work out great.
Even though it’s reportedly been used in Eastern medicine for several hundred years, if not longer, it’s a new food to Western cultures.
To give you an idea of just how early the science is about this fruit, only 68 pieces of research about it are found in the NIH’s PubMed database. Out of those, over 90% (63 of them) were published within just the past 10 years.
And we reiterate, none are clinical trials.
That means with the exception of the more straightforward benefits like vitamin and mineral content, all the other possible perks are unproven and only theoretical at this point. As fascinating as they are to read about, keep that in mind.
Starting with the non-controversial stuff first.
A lot of people refer to it as a longan berry or a grape, even though it’s neither.
That being said, its nutrition is comparable to many berries, at least in terms of how many calories and grams of sugar (carbs) are found in a comparable serving size.
|Fresh Longan Fruit Nutrition Facts|
|Serving Size: 100g (about 3.5 ounces)|
|Calories From Fat||0|
|% Daily Value*||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 0.1g||0%||Vitamin A 0 IU||0%|
|Sodium 0mg||0%||Vitamin C 84mg||140%|
|Potassium 266mg||7%||Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.1mg||8%|
|Total Carbs. 15g||5%||Calcium 1mg||0%|
|Fiber 1.1g||4%||Iron 0.13mg||1%|
|Protein 1.3g||2%||Magnesium 10mg||2%|
|*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
When looking at the basic nutrition facts, to be honest there’s nothing impressive with the exception of one nutrient… vitamin C.
How much vitamin C there is in longans is actually more than fresh oranges. A 100 gram serving of oranges will give you 88% of your daily value, versus 140% when eating “the dragon’s eye.”
Almost all of the values will be multiplied when eating the dried fruit. It’s much more nutritionally dense with the exception of vitamin C, as a fair amount degrades and breaks down over time (the same happens with dried berries).
The amount of moisture left can vary by supplier, but the USDA’s entry for the dried pegs the calorie count at 286 for the same 3.5 ounce weight… which is over 4x higher than fresh. That happens with any food when the water is removed.
One ounce is the typical serving size for dried berries and similar. How many calories there are in that same serving size of dried longans is comparable… 80 to 100 calories.
In 2016, researchers out of Thailand published a study looked at the anti-inflammatory benefits of longan (3). Not just the fleshy pulp we eat, but also testing the flower (which precedes the fruit formation) as well as the seed.
They tested is using macrophages in the lab. Those are a type of white blood cell which translates as “big eaters” in Greek.
That’s exactly what they do… macrophages are formed in response to an infection and “eat” the invader. They also break down foreign substances which shouldn’t be there and play an important in our body’s inflammation.
The bad news? The flower extract was the most effective at helping with those. No one eats that part.
The good news? The part we eat – the pulp – was also found to be anti-inflammatory.
The cited scientific reason why was because they inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced nitric oxide production. The plain English explanation is their conclusion, which is simple to understand:
“These results suggest that the longan extracts possess anti-inflammatory property. Therefore, longan could provide potential dietary supplement for the
treatment of inflammatory-related diseases.”
“Inflammatory diseases” is a rather broad category. Arthritis might be an obvious example, but the truth is that a lot of disease are either caused or made worse by inflammation.