Lychee Fruit (Litchi chinensis Sonn)
January 2 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

 

Lychee fruit is also spelled as Litchi, Lichee, Leechee, or Lichi.

 

The lychee tree originates from China and is cultivated for its sweet fruits all over the world in warm climates. It was imported to Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and to California in 1897. Litchi fruit pericarp extract contains significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds and exhibits powerful antioxidative activity against fat oxidation in vitro. Litchi is a subtropical fruit that, once harvested, loses its red pericarp color because of browning reactions probably involving polyphenols.

 

Availability, where you can find it
Lychee is available as the fruit in certain grocery stores, as lychee liquor, juice and canned. A lychee martini is popular in certain parts of the world.

 

Lychee fruit and nut

The lychee fruit often measures 3 to 4 cm long and about 3 cm in diameter. The outside of the lychee fruit is covered by a red, roughly-textured rind. I tis easily to peal the rind since it is not eaten. The inside of thy lychee fruit consists of a layer of sweet white flesh with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape. The centre of the lychee fruit contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed, about 2 cm long and 1 cm in diameter. The lychee nut is not consumed since it is poisonous.

 

Benefits

 

Anti-viral
Drug Discov Ther. 2013. Evaluation of antiviral activity of Oligonol, an extract of Litchi chinensis, against betanodavirus. Betanodaviruses, members of the family Nodaviridae, are the causal agents of viral nervous necrosis (VNN) in many species of marine farmed fish. In the aquaculture industry, outbreaks of betanodavirus infection result in devastating damage and heavy economic losses. Although an urgent need exists to develop drugs against betanodavirus infection, there have been few reports about antibetanodavirus drugs. In this study, we examined the inhibitory effect of Oligonol, a purified phenolic extract from lychee fruit, on betanodavirus infection in fish cells. Oligonol significantly inhibited replication of betanodavirus (EC(50) = 0.9-1.8 μg/mL) as shown by the reduction of the virus-induced cytopathogenic effect (CPE) and the protection of cells in the crystal violet staining assay. The inhibition was dose dependent. A time-of-addition assay indicated that Oligonol's action takes place at an early stage of the viral infection. According to an attachment inhibition assay, it is possible that Oligonol partially inhibits attachment of the virion to the cell. Our data show that Oligonol could serve as an antiviral agent against betanodavirus.

 

Cancer
Anticancer activity of litchi fruit pericarp extract against human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006; National Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, P.R. China.
The purpose of this study is to confirm the anticancer activity of Litchi fruit pericarp extract on human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo, and to elucidate the mechanism of its activity. Human breast cancer cells were tested in vitro for cytotoxicity, colony formation inhibition, BrdU incorporation, and gene expression profiling after treatment with Litchi fruit pericarp extract. The findings in this study suggested that Litchi fruit pericarp extract might have potential anticancer activity on both ER positive and negative breast cancers, which could be attributed, in part, to its DNA damage effect, proliferating inhibition and apoptosis induction of cancer cells through up-regulation and down-regulation of multiple genes involved in cell cycle regulation and cell proliferation, apoptosis, signal transduction and transcriptional regulation, motility and invasiveness of cancer cells.

 

Lychee Fruit Research

Anaphylactic reaction to lychee fruit: evidence for sensitization to profilin.
Clin Exp Allergy. 1995. Department of Dermatology University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
Due to the increasing popularity of exotic fruits in the Western diet, allergologists are confronted with allergic reactions to substances in these plants. The present report describes an anaphylactic reaction after the consumption of lychee fruit (Litchi sinensis). The atopic patient also suffers from rhinoconjunctivitis due to a sensitization against pollen of the Compositae family, as well as from dyspnoea after eating sunflower seeds. Our goals were to determine crossreactivity between antibodies against lychee fruit and other plants and to characterize the allergen. Specific IgE against lychee fruits were detected by an EAST assay. The allergen was characterized by immunoblot, immunoblot inhibition and EAST inhibition assays. Broad crossreactivity between lychee fruit and other plants was found and profilin identified as the protein responsible for the patient's complex allergy syndrome. Lychee fruit contains a significant amount of profilin. Consumption of this exotic fruit can cause severe anaphylactic reactions in patients being sensitized against the plant pan-allergen profilin.

 

Emails
One supplement I think you should consider carrying is Oligonol ... it's a kidney tonic.... Please look into that.... through my health food store it's very expensive.
   I had not heard of Oligonol before but apparently it is a combination of lychee fruit extract and green tea extract.