Herb: Loquat

Latin name: Eriobotrya japonica

Synonyms: Mespilus japonica, Photinia japonica

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Loquat:

The loquat is one of the most popular cough remedies in the Far East, it is the ingredient of many patent medicines. The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, diuretic and expectorant. A decoction of the leaves or young shoots is used as an intestinal astringent and as a mouthwash in cases of thrush and also in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, feverish colds etc. The leaves are harvested as required and can be used fresh or dried. The hairs should be removed from the leaves in order to prevent irritation of the throat. The flowers are expectorant. The fruit is slightly astringent, expectorant and sedative. It is used in allaying vomiting and thirst.

Description of the plant:


9 m
(30 feet)

to March


Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Loquat:

Fruit - raw, cooked or preserved. A slightly acid, sweet aromatic flavour, they can be eaten out of hand or cooked in pies, sauces, jellies etc. Loquat pie, if made from fruit that is not fully ripe, is said to taste like cherry pie. The fruit is produced in winter and early spring, it is up to 4cm in diameter. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed - cooked. A pleasant flavour. Caution is advised if the seed is bitter, see notes at top of the page. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - hard, close grained. Used for rulers etc.

Propagation of Loquat:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold fame in the spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and sow late winter in a warm greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 4 months at 20C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of softwood, spring in a frame. Air layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Eriobotrya japonica:

The seed is slightly poisonous. This report probably refers to the hydrogen cyanide that is found in many plants of this family, the seed should only be used in small amounts if it is bitter. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.