Saturday, March 29, 2008

Snake Oil and Loquats

I've been plagued with allergies, sniffles and a sore throat lately, and decided that today I would get out of the house. My daughter has been wanting to revisit the new Asian supermarket in Oklahoma City's Asian district.
I think that if I were locked in there, I would probably starve to death, the major cause being stupidity. I've never seen so many products and would have no idea how to cook any of them with the exception of the ramen noodles, some produce and a few meat and fish products. I know I could cook a catfish from the huge tank of live ones, if I could get someone else to clean it. So maybe I wouldn't starve after all.
But while shopping I came across this product. Loquat Extract. Did I know what it was for? No. That didn't stop me, it looked interesting and the ingredients sounded good, except that I had no idea what a loquat was.

Loquat plant with fruit. Note the shape of the leaves, similar to that of the instrument pipa.

Natural Herb Loquat Extract is a product of Hong Kong. The Chinese brand name, Poon Goor Soe (in mandarin Pan Gaoshou) is the name of the product's developer, the elderly gentleman pictured on the box cover (his assistant is pictured next to him). This formula has been made for decades and enjoys an international reputation for quality and effectiveness. The main ingredient of the extract formula is loquat (17%), for which the leaf and fruit are considered very useful in treating coughs and moistening dryness. The extract includes fritillaria bulb (15%, labeled incorrectly as lotus root in English), apricot seed (8%. labeled almond extract; apricot seed is known as bitter almond), platycodon root (7%), licorice root (5%), and peppermint (source of menthol, at 1%). It is prepared in a thin water-honey base.
Loquat leaf is often used in Chinese herb formulas and syrups to alleviate "lung heat" syndromes. These diseases are usually caused by infections, though they can arise from other causes, such as smoking. The main application of the syrup is coughs, but loquat leaves also are used to alleviate skin disorders of the face, which are often attributed also to lung heat. The loquat grows in semi-tropical climates, and is native to southeast China, mainly Guangzhou. It is now cultivated in California and Florida. The Chinese name for the loquat, pipa, comes from the appearance of the leaves, which are shaped similar to that of a stringed Chinese instrument (referred to as a Chinese lute) called the pipa (pee-pah). The dosing of the syrup is two teaspoonfuls each time, about 10 ml. This syrup can be taken 3 times a day, or more often if needed; a bottle contains 180 ml, sufficient for 18 doses. Each dose provides only 9 grams of sugars (mainly from the honey). On the package (under the portraits, is the original Chinese name of the formula, Chuanbei Pipa Gao, which translates to Fritillaria and Loquat Syrup. The Chinese name has been applied to many similar products, because the two named herbs are among the best for alleviating coughs. There is advice on the box (in Chinese) that others should perform acts beneficial to people and not counterfeit the product. Another Loquat Syrup from Hong Kong, Nim Jiom Pei Pa Kao, also has these two key ingredients, but in a thicker honey syrup, which, along with the secondary ingredients, makes that formula especially suitable for treating a scratchy or sore throat.

The Chinese instrument (referred to as a Chinese lute) called the pipa.

Maybe it was getting out of the house or maybe it was Poon Goor Soe's Loquat Extract that did it, but I'm feeling better!


yellowdog granny said...

i didnt' know you could make an oil out of it..but i love the fruit to eat...

High Desert Diva said...

Very you speak/read Chinese (Mandarin)?

Glad you are feeling better

Karen from A`Musements said...

So glad you are on the mend, and that you opted for the fruity goodness and not the snake oil... ick. Next time you want to 'get out' come to Salem, and I'll take you to Wing Wa!
Ming Na ;-)

Designs by CK said...

Christie ~ FUN post & happy April Fool's Day!!!

PS: Thanks for the get well wishes, and I am feeling better!

PPS: Glad you are feeling better 2

CK :-D)

Sara said...

Hi, just came across your blog while blog surfing....those loquats look pretty tasty. I've got my eye on my neighbor's tree...the branches that hang over my fence...they are almost ripe! I had no idea loquats were so medicinally useful.

Oh, also, loved those photos of tiny animals on fingers.....your blog is quite interesting.