Skip to Content

Luo Han Guo

Scientific Name(s): Momordicae grosvenori (Swingle)., Siraitia grosvenori (Swingle) A.M. Lu and Zhi Y. Zhang., Thladiantha grosvenori (Swingle) C. Jeffrey.
Common Name(s): Arhat fruit, Big yellow's fruit, Buddha fruit, Ge si wei ruo guo, Lo han guo, Lo han kuo, Longevity fruit, Lor hon kor, Magic fruit, Momordica fruit, Monk fruit, Na han gwa, Ra kan ka

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 2, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

In Chinese folk medicine, S. grosvenori has been used for cough, sputum, asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis, obesity, acute gastritis, and constipation. In traditional Chinese medicine, luo han guo has been used as a pulmonary demulcent and emollient for the treatment of dry cough, sore throat, and extreme thirst. However, there are no clinical trials to support these uses.

Dosing

Limited clinical data are available regarding use in humans.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Potential adverse effects are unknown.

Toxicology

No definitive information is available regarding toxicity of luo han guo fruit.

Scientific Family

  • Cucurbitaceae

Botany

Luo han guo is the fruit of S. grosvenori, a perennial, herbaceous, dioecious climbing vine that grows 2 to 5 m in length using tendrils.

The roots of the plant are large and fusiform or subglobose.Swingle 1941 The leaves of the plant are heart-shaped (10 to 20 cm length) and the fruit is round (5 to 7 cm diameter), smooth, and yellow-brown or green-brown in color. The seeds are numerous, pale yellow, broadly ovate, and compressed. The female inflorescence is in the form of axillary clusters; the male inflorescence is racemose.Swingle 1941 The plant is native to southern China in the provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, and in Northern Thailand.Swingle 1941 A synonym is Momordicaceae.

History

The name luo han guo or "monk fruit" might be derived from the belief that Buddhist monks were among the first people to cultivate this fruit; in Chinese culture, monk fruit is also associated with the saints that surround Buddha.Hossen 2005, Swingle 1941, Tsang 2001 The skin, flesh, and seeds of monk fruit are sweet and possess a unique taste. The fruit is usually boiled or simmered in water and consumed as an herbal tea or used in preparation of soups and stews.Swingle 1941 The fruit is traditionally associated with abundant health, and its uses as food by Asian populations in many parts of the world and in traditional Chinese medicine are well documented in Chinese historical literature.Swingle 1941 The original botanical name S. grosvenori was published in 1941 in honor of Gilbert Grosvenor who, as president of the National Geographic Society, helped fund an expedition in the 1930s to find the living plant where it was cultivated.Swingle 1941

Chemistry

The penta-, tetra-, and triglucose conjugated mogrosides are the sweetening components of luo han guo; the main mogrosides include mogroside V, mogroside IV, siamenoside I, and neomogroside.Chen 2005, Hussain 1990, Kinghorn 1987, Makapugay 1985, Tsang 2001 The siraitic acids A, B, C, D, and E, which are structurally 28-norcucurbitacins, are isolated from S. grosvenori.Chen 2005

Momorgrosvin is a ribosome inactivating protein also isolated from S. grosvenori.Tsang 2001

In 2009, several new chemical components were isolated from this plant. Siraitiflavandiol is a new bioactive compound of the flavandiols class that has demonstrated in vitro inhibitory activity against oral bacterial species, such as Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Candida albicans.Zheng 2009

Siraitic acid IIB is a saponin that has demonstrated antitumor activity in vitro against lung cancer cells A-549 and liver cancer cells Hep-G2. Siraitic acid IIC has inhibited liver cancer cells Hep-G2.Li 2009

Uses and Pharmacology

In Chinese folk medicine, S. grosvenori has been used for cough, sputum, asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis, obesity, acute gastritis, and constipation. In traditional Chinese medicine, luo han guo has been used as a pulmonary demulcent and emollient for the treatment of dry cough, sore throat, and extreme thirst. It is also used as a plant-derived substitute for sucrose. The fruit is generally sold in dry form and is used in herbal teas and soups. Previous studies have revealed antiatherosclerotic effects and anticancer, antiallergy, and antidiabetic activity.Murata 2010

Animal data

S. grosvenori has shown antihyperglycemic effects in rats via inhibition of maltase. It has also shown antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties.Suzuki 2005 Polysaccharides from S. grosvenori promoted the proliferation of spleen cells and regulated the level of reactive oxygen species in vitro. It also raised superoxidase dismutase activity and regulated the cytokine levels of spleen and thymus in mice in vivo.Zhang 2011

S. grosvenori has antineoplastic activity related to the norcucurbitacins isolated from the plant. Siraitic acids IIB and IIC have shown antitumor effects in several lung and liver cancer cell lines.Li 2009 The extract has also been reported to have suppressive effects on dicyclanil-promoted hepatocellular proliferative lesions in mice models.Matsumoto 2009 Several studies have indicated anticancer effects, such as inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus activation and delayed development of papillomas in skin carcinogenesis models.Ukiya 2002 Improved glucose, lipid utility, and increased insulin sensitivity were observed as a possible result of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) activation by crude mogrosides isolated from the fruit of S. grosvenori in several diabetic rodent models.Chen 2011

S. grosvenori has demonstrated an antifatigue effect on mice that is dose dependent.Liu 2013

A 28-day dietary study of PureLo, a noncaloric sweetener that is a dried concentrate of luo han guo, was conducted in mice at dose levels ranging from 0 to 100,000 ppm and resulted in no associated toxicity.Marone 2008

Clinical data

Limited clinical data are available regarding use in humans.

Dosing

Limited clinical data are available regarding use in humans. However, the fruit is consumed in normal amounts in the form of herbal teas or soups. The intended use of the sweetener PureLo is at a fraction of 1%, far lower than the 10% that constituted the highest level tested, and research with PureLo has shown it is aversive to humans at extremely high concentrations.Marone 2008

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Several toxicity studies have been performed with the dried fruit concentrate in mice and dogs. These studies did not reveal any adverse reactions or toxicity with dietary use of luo han guo.Marone 2006

Toxicology

No data available.

Index Terms

  • Momordicaceae

References

Chen JC, Chiu MH, Nie RL, Cordell GA, Qiu SX. Cucurbitacins and cucurbitane glycosides: structures and biological activities [published correction appears in Nat Prod Rep. 2005;22(6):794-795]. Nat Prod Rep. 2005;22(3):386-399.16010347
Chen XB, Zhuang J, Liu JH, et al. Potential AMPK activators of cucurbitane triterpenoids from Siraitia grosvenori Swingle. Bioorg Med Chem. 2011;19(19):5776-5781.21893415
Hossen MA, Shinmei Y, Jiang S, et al. Effect of Lo Han Kuo (Siraitia grosvenori Swingle) on nasal rubbing and scratching behavior in ICR mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28(2):238-241.15684476
Hussain RA, Lin YM, Poveda LJ, et al. Plant-derived sweetening agents: saccharide and polyol constituents of some sweet-tasting plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990;28(1):103-115.2314108
Kinghorn AD. Biologically active compounds from plants with reputed medicinal and sweetening properties. J Nat Prod. 1987;50(6):1009-1024.3327919
Li D, Liu J, Lu Y, Lu F, et al, inventors. Saponin compound extracted from Momordica grosvenori root, preparation and use thereof. Chinese patent CN 101440118 A. May 27, 2009. http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=CN&NR=101440118A&KC=A&FT=D. Accessed August 5, 2015.
Liu DD, Ji XW, Li RW. Effects of Siraitia grosvenorii fruits extracts on physical fatigue in mice. Iran J Pharm Res. 2013;12(1):115-121.24250579
Makapugay HC, Nanayakkara NP, Soejarto DD, Kinghorn AD. High-performance liquid chromatographic analysis of the major sweet principle of lo han kuo fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 1985;33(3):348-350.
Marone PA, Borzelleca JF, Merkel D, Heimbach JT, Kennepohl E. Twenty eight-day dietary toxicity study of Luo Han fruit concentrate in Hsd:SD rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(3):910-919.18037551
Matsumoto S, Jin M, Dewa Y, et al. Suppressive effect of Siraitia grosvenorii extract on dicyclanil-promoted hepatocellular proliferative lesions in mice. J Toxicol Sci. 2009;34(1):109-118.
Murata Y, Ogawa T, Suzuki YA, et al. Digestion and absorption of Siraitia grosvenori triterpenoids in the rat. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(3):673-676.20208371
Qin X, Xiaojian S, Ronggan L, et al. Subchronic 90-day oral (Gavage) toxicity study of a Luo Han Guo mogroside extract in dogs. Food Chem Toxicol. 2006;44(12):2106-2109.17011100
Suzuki YA, Murata Y, Inui H, Sugiura M, Nakano Y. Triterpene glycosides of Siraitia grosvenori inhibit rat intestinal maltase and suppress the rise in blood glucose level after a single oral administration of maltose in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53:2941-2946.15826043
Swingle WT. Momrodica grosvenori Sp. Nov. the source of the Chinese Lo han kuo. J Arnold Arboretum. 1941;22:197-203. Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Purdue University. West Lafayette, IN.
Tsang KY, Ng TB. Isolation and characterization of a new ribosome inactivating protein, momorgrosvin, from seeds of the monk's fruit Momordica grosvenorii. Life Sci. 2001;68(7):773-784.11205869
Ukiya M, Akihisa T, Tokuda H, et al. Inhibitory effects of cucurbitane glycosides and other triterpenoids from the fruit of Momordica grosvenori on epstein-barr virus early antigen induced by tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50:6710-6715.12405766
Zhang L, Hu T-J, Lu C-N. Immunomodulatory and antioxidant activity of a Siraitia grosvenorii polysaccharide in mice. Afr J Biotechnol. 2011;10(49):10045-10053.
Zheng Y, Liu Z, Ebersole J, Huang CB. A new antibacterial compound from Luo Han Kuo fruit extract (Siraitia grosvenori). J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2009;11(8):761-765.20183321

Disclaimer

This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide