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I have long enjoyed the nispero fruit which is known as míspero locally. Mama Sofia had several full-grown trees and when in season would always give us a bucketful to take home. My husband has been trying for years to grow our own nispero tree. One time Miss Piggy broke loose and ate it. Another time, a hoard of ants stripped the sapling bare overnight and it dried out. A third planting was destroyed by the chickens. However we currently have not one, but two, healthy nisperos out back. They aren’t mature enough to produce fruit yet, but I have made nispero leaf tea. It’s delicious! It has a fruity flavor all its own.
The nispero (Eriobotrya japonica) otherwise known as loquat is not native to Mexico or Japan, but China. I wasn’t able to trace its migration to Mexico, although I imagine it came with the Spanish. Regardless how it arrived, it is a healthy addition to your Mexican diet whether eaten as a fruit or enjoyed as a tea. It’s long been used to treat skin inflammation and respiratory problems in China. Here are some other health benefits:
Loquat has been found to be Anti-acne, Anti-aging, Anti-allergy, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and provide beneficial immunomodulatory effects (Read more here and here and here.) It reduces body weight through control of lipid metabolism and reduces fat deposits in the liver. The loquat flower has a protective effect on acute alcohol-induced liver injury. Loquat also reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides (Read more here.) and prevent skeletal muscle atrophy. (Read more here.) It is useful in treating diabetes (Read more here.), useful in treating cancer (Read more here and here and here and here.), useful in fighting bacterial infections, and useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Loquat leaf tea is known to relieve cough and reduce phlegm. as well as aiding in the treatment of chronic bronchitis. Finally, Loquat suppresses ovariectomy-induced bone mineral density deterioration.
Here’s how to make nispero leaf tea:
Pick a handful of leaves, preferably young leaves. Scrape off the furry underside. Wash and let dry.
Cut the leaves lengthwise in long stripes to reduce oxidation.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Let the leaves steep for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. Flavor with honey if desired. It really doesn’t need it. The flavor is lightly fruity.
I found one recipe that suggested the tea can be served as a hot toddy, with a splash of whiskey or bourbon and lemon on the side. I suppose it could. Maybe I’ll try it this way during the rainy season on one of my days off.