Longan fruit, also referred to as "euphoria fruit," grows on an evergreen tree and is related to the lychee. Both are a translucent white beneath a somewhat soft and nut-like exterior. The longan, however, has a light brown shell and a central hard, glossy black seed that has the appearance of an eye. Thus the Chinese call this fruit "dragon eye."
The flavor of the longan is described as being somewhat like that of the lychee only sweeter and more grape-like.
- 5 longans
- 1 cup coconut milk (or water)
- 1 banana
- Discard the hard outer shell and seed of the longan.
- In a blender, make a smooth puree of the longans.
- Break the banana into smaller pieces and add to blender, and pour in coconut milk or water.
- Blend until smooth. Refrigerate, if you prefer, before serving.
Longan fruit is believed to have originated in China and India. Throughout Chinese history, the longan has been used medicinally for relaxation, and to produce "internal heat," which is thought to improve sex and cure skin problems.
It has also been used to help treat insomnia. The Vietnamese believe the seed of the fruit alleviates snake bites. The whole of this fruit has been utilized, from the skin and fruit to the seed, for such ailments as dropsy, insomnia, stomach problems, and memory loss. The fruit is believed to strengthen the spleen, heart, blood, and nervous system. The leaves of this fruit are used as an anti-inflammatory and for lowering fever, and the seeds are considered helpful in healing burns.
Some preliminary research has been done on extracts of dried longan seeds and their effects on enzymes used by cancer cells to invade the colon. This very basic research has the potential to lead to new therapeutic agents.
The longan is rich in vitamin C and it provides a small amount of riboflavin (vitamin B2). It has a variety of phytonutrients, fiber, protein, and sugars. Longan fruit is also low in calories. It has small amounts of minerals, including potassium.