Momordica fruit commonly known as arhat is one of the few fruits that cannot be eaten until it is dried by fire and is a native to southern China and northern Thailand. It is round and smooth and can be yellowish-brown or greenish brown in colour. It contains a sweet, fleshy edible pulp. The fruit, long treasured for its health benefits, was named after a group of Buddhist monks who, after a life of contemplation and meditation, finally achieved enlightenment. From then on, they have been known as luohan or arhats and belong to the gourd family. The fruits are slowly dried in ovens, preserving them and removing most of the unwanted aromas. However, this technique also leads to the formation of several bitter and astringent flavours.
The fruit extract is used as a sweetener, since this is known to be almost 300 times sweeter as compared to sugar. In traditional Chinese pharmacology, the fruit is known for its ability to balance inner heat. Better than that, it is also used in herbal cough medicines, especially for chronic coughs, throat inflammations and constipation. As an infusion, it quenches thirst, and in high summer, it is also used to treat heat stroke.
Thanks to its amazing health benefits on cough relief, colon cleansing, weight loss, physique enhancement, this Chinese herb has long been hailed as “the immortals’ fruit”. Hence, at the end of spring and the beginning of summer, average family in China loves to use it to make tea. It is rich in vitamin C, which makes it a wonder herb with anti-aging, anti-cancer, and skin-care properties.
To treat constipation take 2 pieces of fruit, obtain the juicy part and the seeds (put the shell aside for other uses), break apart, cover with water and simmer. Serve before going to bed. Arhat is not known for any side effects but it doesn’t hurt to consult a health care provider first before consumption.