Blood Builder and Shen Support; Beauty and Bedroom Performance Tonic
The fruit called Longan Berry (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) has been consumed in many parts of Asia for a millennium. It’s Chinese name is long yan rou. This roughly translates as Dragon’s Eye Meat or is shorten down to just Dragon’s Eye. Longan is also sometimes referred to as Euphoria as this is one of the effects people report after consuming it.
The fruit is called Dragon’s Eye because of the way it looks when it is peeled. The fruit is translucent which allows the black seed in the center to be seen. This gives it the appearance of an eyeball.
It has been shown to be used medicinally since at least the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic, China’s first pharmacy monograph claimed that Longan Fruit, “could help weight loss and keep people young.” There is some scientific support for this (1)(2).
Longan fruit nourishes the Yin. It is considered a warming herb and sweet in nature (sweet is tonifying). This fruit primarily works through two meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that of the Spleen and the Heart.
Westerners may confuse the actual anatomical organ called the spleen with what TCM calls the Spleen. This is actually because original translations mistook it for the spleen. The spleen as an organ creates many of the white blood cells in our body and filters the blood of old red blood cells. It is considered to be a part of our immune system though it plays many other roles. The real translation is much more closer to the function and processes of the pancreas in western medicine. Since the Spleen is still the common term for this meridian, we will use the term pancreas-spleen instead.
The Chinese function of the Pancreas-Spleen (paired with the Stomach meridian) is mainly of digestion. A healthy Pancreas-Spleen allows the Qi to be freed from food. But it also helps us digest information or stimuli.
Since the Pancreas-Spleen is primarily about transforming food into qi it is also about building the blood. These two things are intimately interconnected. The more you work on balancing one the more the other will balance out.
The Pancreas-Spleen Meridian correlates closely to gut health. Many people still consuming or with a history of eating processed foods and/or a history of antibiotic use may very well have problems with this meridian in some form. These effect the digestion by heavily disrupting the microbiota. Longan fruit has been shown to actually work as a prebiotic, feeding those bacteria species that benefit us the most (3). This may be just one mechanism through which it helps the Spleen.
Another mechanism that may explain how it helps with the Pancreas-Spleen is through Longans high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols have been found to moderate insulin sensitivity and secretion and help blood glucose levels. The process through which they may do this;
“…include inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption in the intestine, stimulation of insulin secretion from the pancreatic β–cells, modulation of glucose release from the liver, activation of insulin receptors and glucose uptake in the insulin-sensitive tissues, and modulation of intracellular signalling pathways and gene expression. (4)”
Thus, even though longan is high in sugar, it can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Longan Berry is a great tonic herb for the Heart! Consumption of it can boost up your emotional state fast. This is because its works through the heart meridian. Longan builds the blood primarily through its actions with the Spleen meridian. However, Blood deficiency can lead to Heart issues.
It also works to sooth the Shen which the Heart houses. In TCM, there are 7 emotions:
- Worry and Pensiveness
Each emotion is linked to a certain organ. Certain involuntary actions related to each emotion such as sobbing, sighing, excessive laughter, facial expressions, etc., are a reflection of a persons shen. Longan has traditionally been used to help relax a person through its actions on the shen.
Everyone knows the eyes are windows to the soul. When the eyes do not shine with life, when they lack luster, it can be another indicator of a problem with the shen. One of the traditional uses of Longan is to support the vision.
Contents and Other Health Properties
Some compounds found in Longan Fruit:
- Polyphenolics; some including ellagic acid and gallic acid
- Loganlactone (seeds)
- Paltmitic Acid and Oleic Acid
- Adenosine and Adenine
- Chlorogenic acid
Longan is also very rich in antioxidants because of its large amounts of procyanide and tannins. These antioxidants are one of the primary reasons that it works so well as a beauty tonic. Traditionally, Longan has been considered to be a primer women’s herbal beauty tonic.
Consumption of the berry supports the glow of the skin, perhaps by the above-described components. Combining Longan Berry with Schisandra Berry and Goji Berry (the main three Chinese beauty berries) will go a lot further to bring this about.
These antioxidants are also thought to contribute significantly to the neuroprotective effects of the fruit (5)(6). This is because as of yet, the fruit as studied so far has no unique bioactive compounds. Some researchers believe that one will be found that is the main driver behind this effect. But until then it is believed that Longans radical-scavenging abilities are what helps to normalize brain function (5).
Our Longan Berry and How to Take
The fruit is semi-wild cultivated in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian province, China. It is gathered from multiple locations around Maoming, Gaozhou, and Putian City.
It is grown organically and collected from the tree at a minimum age of 3 years old. It is then extracted in hot water to create a concentrated full-spectrum extract.
Recommend dosage is 2 grams or 1 tsp twice a day. It is best taken in the morning or afternoon.
So far, there have been found no apparent toxicity effects associated with consuming longan fruits in high doses (7).
There is potential side effect described as a damp Spleen in TCM which can mean a swollen and bloated “fruit” belly caused by eating to much Longan. This effect may just be caused by eating the fresh fruits however.