What is it? Luo Han Guo

The Chinese are known for their traditional medicines and natural remedies. Sometimes we are lucky or brave enough to try them. In January right around parent teacher interviews I had a case of laryngitis brought on from a combination of a sinus infection, dry air from the heating, pollution and not drinking enough water. After a few days rest and antibiotics I started to get better, but my voice was not coming back. I have some lovely parents and they brought me throat lozenges from many places around the world. They lovingly gave them to me to try. They helped my throat feel better, but my voice was still scratchy. One parent suggested I try this tea and promised to send it the next day. Instead she ran off to the shops and returned with the product straight away.


Opening the fruit which was wrapped in a styrofoam mesh, like the expensive fruit at the grocery store, I was surprised to find a hollow sounding greenish brown fruit. The only way to open it was to bang it with something hard and it cracked like an eggshell. Inside a hollow centre held some seed looking things in the shape of corn kernels, but larger. The instructions said to place a small bit in boiling water and drink. It is supposed to sooth the throat. I was willing to try anything as long as it didn’t taste or smell bad. Neither… it was actually quite sweet with an indescribable flavour. Almost immediately my throat felt better and my voice started to return. It is like a miracle cure! I had tried the honey and lemon, numerous kinds of cough candy, gargles and other natural remedies, but nothing ever worked so well and so fast. For someone who has lost her voice a lot this was a true gem!


So what is this miracle? Well it is called Luo Han Guo (pronounced Lou hang gwah). It is native to China and parts of Thailand. I have learned it is a sweet fruit and it spoils quickly, so it is usually dried. It is used mainly in teas and some companies and traditional medicines use it as a sweetener. If you would like to read more than check out this article I found here. It starts out very medical/scientific, but skip past that for more details.

I left one of these at my brother’s when I was home last and he thought it was a ball and threw it in the kid’s toy box! They are light and hollow feeling, but what they hold inside is very interesting and some say funny looking. I have had some odd looks to “What is that???”, but hey sometimes nature knows best.

This week I have been suffering from another sinus cold and sore throat and I have found not only Luo Han Guo fruit, but medicine in a more concentrated form. They work wonders. I was feeling better, but it has settled back in, (the pollution is bad and seems to trigger this) so off I go to cuddle on the sofa to watch some TV and drink my funny looking tea.

So what is your home remedy or must have when you are sick? Share below in the comment section.

Stay tuned…. or check out my previous posts this weekend. I did 2 photo challenges on Peaceful (Peaceful and Peaceful #2) and another on Fleeting.

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, post a week, strange adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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17 thoughts on “What is it? Luo Han Guo

  1. Freda Goulet

    Diana, I hope you are feeling better. I think teachers are prone to laryngitis and sore throats more than most people. Actors and singers are trained to use their voice, but teachers use their voice constantly without any training at all and we suffer because of that. If I get a sore throat and laryngitis I rest and increase my fluid intake, oranges, and other vitamin C fruits. I resist taking antibiotics and my body usually fights any infection off within a few days. I will definitely go to our Asian market and look for this medicinal fruit. Thanks for an interesting post.

    • Thanks… it is very cool. I find without antibiotics I am down longer. I think here it is either different germs, or something that make it worse.

  2. I swear my ginger. I use it to make tea, hot or cold. I even blend it to make a shake. I cook with it and even eat it raw. I haven’t been sick in years … touch wood. Hope your back on your feet.

    • I love ginger too and use it a lot. There is an awesome ginger candy you can get here too. The doctor said to avoid it and honey right now since my throat was so raw it would only make it worse. This little sweet tea is yummy and helps. I have been sick a lot this year. It is just a bad year for me.

  3. This looks fantastic! I do love natural cures – they have a lot here, but my favourites are kotamale (a corriander based preparation with other herbs and spices) which one stews up into a tea to rid oneself of flu symptoms, and a concentrated lime juice with a little sugar and salt to settle an upset stomach when it’s past the ‘uncomfortable’ stage. Ginger works wonders to settle nausea, and there’s a garlic preparation they swear cures arthritis, but i can’t cope … 🙂

    • There are so many great things out there that work wonders. There is some truth in those ‘old wives tales’. The medications helped with the infection, but not the throat and voice… this little gem did! Even my class noticed my voice was better after having some.

  4. Thank you for sharing! A friend of mine brought some and mailed to me last year, I didn’t even try because I wasn’t sure… BTW, I apologize I have been calling you Anne instead Diana 😕

    • It does work very well! I just found out you can include the shell in the drink too and I think it made it a bit sweeter and taste better. I wonder if I can get it when I move home… or I may have to bring lots with me!
      No worries about the name… I don’t usually use it on the blog.

  5. Lavendar

    Peppermint tea for upset tummy works. Also, if you put salt in coke to take the fizz out, it will help settle a upset tummy. It didn’t work “great” but made my sad tummy ok enough to travel. Apparently before it was a soda / pop, coke was a stomach remedy.

    • Still to this day when I don’t feel well I reach for the flat gingerale. That is what we would get as kids when we were sick. I have found even a peppermint works pretty good when you can’t get tea for tummy upsets.

  6. It’s pretty wierd looking isn’t it? When people around me have colds etec I take echinacea and as long as I do it quickly I aviod the germs, even when my office of 18 have them.

    • Yes I used to use that too. Now I take Cold FX which has all the good herbs recommended for colds in one. It helps when I feel a cold coming on, or makes it not as bad. It doesn’t work on the sinus thing though 😦 I still think it is due to the pollution. Seems I only get it around bad pollution times. It irritates my sinuses.

  7. Johnny

    Hello hong Gao
    HEHEHE! I love your post!

  8. I will need to ask about this at our health food store. Thanks, CTB. In the meantime, take good care.

    • It has helped and I like the taste. Some people don’t, but what medicine tastes good? The longer it sits the sweeter it gets. It is soothing. Hope you can find it. Another blogger said she got it in China town if you can’t find it at the health food shop. Good luck and let me know how you make out.

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