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Family: Rosaceae

Scientific name: Eriobotrya japonica

Authority: (Thunb.) Lindl. 

Synonym: Mespilus japonica Thunb.

Zulu names: amanumbela, umnumbela, ulokhwathu

Other names: wild loquat, loquat, Japanese medlar, Japanese plum, Chinese plum (English), lukwart, Japanese mispel (Afrikaans), mohlatswa (Pedi)

Plant description: E. japonica is an evergreen small tree that originated in China. It has dark green glossy leaves, white flowers, and oval-shaped edible fruits that go from green to yellow and deep orange when it is ripe. In South Africa, the tree is an invasive species. 


  • The fruit is eaten as fresh fruits when ripe.
  • The fruits are used to make chutney, jam, and jelly. 
  • The leaves are used to make herbal tea.
  • The leaves and roots are used to treat asthma, chest complaints, chronic bronchitis, cough and whooping. cough, tuberculosis (TB). To treat TB, roots are cooked for 10 minutes and taken orally. 
  • The leaves are used to make a decoction that is taken orally to treat hypertension. 
  • The leaves are used to treat boils, sores, and wounds.
  • The plant is used to treat impotence in men and infertility in women. 
  • The leaves are used as diuretic and hepatoprotective agents. 
  • The plant has great anti-diabetes potential.
  • The plant is cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Ahern, M.B., Kennedy, G., Nico, G., Diabre, O., Chimaliro, F., Khonje, G. and Chanda, E., 2021. Women’s dietary diversity changes seasonally in Malawi and Zambia.
  • Baljinder, S., Seena, G., Dharmendra, K., Vikas, G. and Bansal, P., 2010. Pharmacological potential of Eriobotrya japonica—An overview. Int. Res. J. Pharm, 1, pp.95-99.
  • Delfanian, M., Kenari, R.E. and Sahari, M.A., 2015. Antioxidant activity of loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.) fruit peel and pulp extracts in stabilization of soybean oil during storage conditions. International Journal of Food Properties, 18(12), pp.2813-2824.
  • Liu, Y., Zhang, W., Xu, C. and Li, X., 2016. Biological activities of extracts from loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.): a review. International journal of molecular sciences, 17(12), p.1983.
  • Maema, L.P., Potgieter, M. and Mahlo, S.M., 2016. Invasive alien plant species used for the treatment of various diseases in Limpopo Province, South Africa. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 13(4), pp.223-231.
  • Semenya, S.S. and Maroyi, A., 2013. Medicinal plants used for the treatment of tuberculosis by Bapedi traditional healers in three districts of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 10(2), pp.316-323.
  • Semenya, S.S. and Maroyi, A., 2019. Ethnobotanical survey of plants used by Bapedi traditional healers to treat tuberculosis and its opportunistic infections in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany, 122, pp.401-421.

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