Luo Han Guo is an Asian gourd that is also known as Monk Fruit. It’s known for it’s rich carmel flavor and it’s super detoxifying powers. It’s been called the fruit of longevity, and it takes on a very sweet flavor without impacting blood sugar. For this reason, many companies are using this gourd as a powdered sweetener, similar to stevia. Now, before you go running to the store to buy “Monk Fruit, in the Raw,” there are a couple things to keep in mind. Many of the companies selling this product are mixing it with other additives. To get the cleanest source, look for products that only list Luo Han Guo or monk fruit as the only ingredient.
The Benefits of Monk Fruit (Luo Han Gou)
- Great for the respiratory system, allergies, coughs, and sore throats.
- It’s a super antioxidant to combat free radicals.
- It’s been known to be a longevity aid for 100’s of years in China.
- Non-caloric sweetener to compete with other herbal sweeteners such stevioside from the unrelated Stevia leaf.
- Natural Histamine Blocker – for allergies and people with histamine intolerances.
- Heat reversal – excellent for heat stroke or drinking on hot days to cool the body.
- Diabetic, blood sugar aid since it doesn’t increase glucose levels.
- Aids in digestion.
- Natural anti inflammatory.
Where does Monk Fruit (Luo Han Gou) come from?
As mentioned above, monk fruit is actually from the gourd family. It’s grown in southern China, mainly in Guangxi Province, with most of the product from the mountains of Guilin (source). When picked, it will last about 2 days as fresh produce. Since it spoils fast, Asian communities dry the fruit. In it’s dried form, it turns brown. It’s then crushed and used to make teas in a steeping fashion. You can use the whole dried gourd to make a rich caramel tea. I did this with my mom while she was in town. She had a horrible coughing cold. Once she drank the tea, her coughing subsided for several hours (2 -3). We gave it to her intermittently and it worked better then cough drops and cough syrup! She also seemed to recover much faster!
As a sweetener, the gourd is ground up into a fine brown powder that can be added to recipes, and beverages. Since it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, it’s a great sweetener for people watching their sugar intake.
Monk Fruit Tea Recipe
I found the whole fruits (dried) at the local Asian market. They were actually located in the asian markets medicinal medical store (which was located inside the market). The second Asian market I visited several days later had them on the shelf for sale.
- Crush the whole fruit into pieces. You can throw in the seeds whole.
- Fill a large pot with distilled water and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Allow it to cool a little then add in your monk fruit pieces and seeds.
- Simmer on extra low for 60 minutes.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool.
- Strain out the pieces of monk fruit and seeds. This should be fairly easy since most of them float.
- Then transfer it to the fridge.
- Use this tea as your concentrate mix. I use a 1:3 ratio. One part concentrate and 2 parts water. Drink it hot or cold as a daily detox or a sugar fix after dinner. It also double as a great “sweet tea” alternative. You can increase or decrease the sweetness by adding more or less of your concentrate.
Fitness Tips: You’ll know you’ve done this right if you get a rich caramel flavor. If you simmer it too high for too long, it will ruin the flavor of tea and make it a touch bitter. Avoid this by setting your temperature to 1 or “simmer” on your stove top.
If you want to skip all the hassle of crushing the fruit and steeping it yourself, you can use the Luo Han Gou tea squares. Keep in mind, this tea has sugar or fructose added, so if you are trying to avoid sugars, you will want to make your own using the whole fruits.
I have had nothing but good results with this tea! I am currently looking into making it into a thick concentrate to use in place of my usual liquid stevia as well. If you want to buy it in a powdered form, there is only one version that I recommend online. It’s pricey but you don’t have to use a lot. You can buy it online from the Fit Tip Amazon store. It doesn’t have any other additives.