A long time ago, in a small village called Yao in the southwest of China (approximately today’s Guang Xi province), lived a young man who was brought up by his mother singlehandedly. One autumn, his mother caught a severe cold. She couldn’t stop coughing and her chest started aching. To pay for his mother’s medication, he worked his fingers to the bone.
When he was chopping wood in the mountains, the young man accidentally hit a hornet’s nest and was chased and attacked by the entire hive. Swelled up allover, he scrambled down the mountain to get help. On his way, he stumbled upon a plant with gourd-like fruits, which smelled very sweet and delicious. He ate one in hunger, and surprisingly felt an immediate relief from his sting pain. He rubbed the fruit on the arm; the swelling quickly went down. His mother ate the fruit he brought back from the mountain, and completely recovered in a couple of days.
Later, a traveling doctor heard the story and began to use the fruit as a herbal medicine. Soon, the fruit became very popular. The last name of the man who found the fruit was Luo, the doctor’s middle name was Han, so people named the fruit Luo Han Fruit (Luo Han Guo).
Today, Luo Han Guo is widely known as a longevity aid and is used to clear Heat buildup caused by internal or external conditions. As a herbal medicine, it can treat lung congestion, cough, other respiratory ailments, and sore throat, and is also effective for constipation and chronic enteritis. In the kitchen, it is considered a low-caloric, lowglycemic food, and is often used as a sweetener in beverages or an ingredient in soups or stews.