Posts Tagged With: fruit

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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Image of Life: Colourful Niagara

OK I am Canadian eh…. and like the British, Aussies, Kiwis and others we spell colour with a U… it is not an error 😉

This week Island Traveller has posted another great photo theme and this week it is colour. Go here to join in or see more examples and interpretations of colour. I just got a new camera last weekend and the next morning we went out to the local farmer’s market in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario and I tried it out. The farmer’s market is every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A host of sellers from all around the region come and sell their wares from meats, cheeses, bread, ice cream, desserts, flowers, crafts and of course FRESH LOCALLY GROWN produce. Niagara Region is known as the ‘fruit belt’ or was once. It is home to many orchards and farms that grow everything from strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, pears and apples. For each fruit season a small town will host an event from the Strawberry Festival in Beamsville in June to the Winona Peach festival in August. Slowly as industry has moved elsewhere, as local prices and wages rise, and the price of land is more valuable than the fruit that the farmers are selling, farmers have been selling off their land to developers. Housing developments now stand where orchards once did. As a kid I remember the little road side stands that were everywhere selling the local seasonal fruits and veggies. Now you are lucky if you can get local produce at the supermarket! A few fruit farms are still around and larger tourist attraction type stands sell local produce, crafts, baked goods and souvenirs.There was something about slowing down to see what was available and then pulling over if something caught your fancy. Now it is just like going to any other shop… and sometimes just as big and impersonal.

Local Colour – Blue Berries and Juciy Red Strawberries

Luckily we have an ideal climate for grapes with being so close to the lake and the escarpment (small hill where the lake once reached) so our autumn is milder than other areas and grapes have a longer growing season. Some orchards have been removed and vineyards have been placed, which is much better than yet another housing development with large two story houses on postage sized lots. Niagara wines are becoming pretty famous and known on the world stage, partly thanks to the ice wine! Ice wine is a very sweet dessert wine which is made when grapes are left on the vine long after the fall harvest. When temperatures dip to -10*c or colder for 2-4 consecutive days the grapes are ready to be picked. Volunteers and the vintners harvest the little frozen grape marbles before sunrise and they have a chance to melt. The result a very sweet wine that is somewhat rare and expensive!

For colour this week enjoy some colour of Niagara’s Fruit… sweet, juicy and delicious!

Local Colours – Fruit and Honey

We are off to Cuba for the next 2 weeks so I will not be able to post , reply or check email until after we return. We will be off the technology map with little available TV, no computers or internet… just sun, sand, surf and Cuban Culture to entertain us!

Stay tuned for more about Canada, Cuba and China in a few weeks…

Categories: Photography, post a week, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,