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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

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.

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.1 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.1 The plant is native to southern China in the provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, and in Northern Thailand.1 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.1, 2, 3 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.1 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.1 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.1

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.2, 4, 5, 6, 7 The siraitic acids A, B, C, D, and E, which are structurally 28-norcucurbitacins, are isolated from S. grosvenori.4

Momorgrosvin is a ribosome inactivating protein also isolated from S. grosvenori.2

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.8

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-G2.9

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.10

Animal data

S. grosvenori has shown antihyperglycemic effects in rats via inhibition of maltase. It has also shown antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties.11 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.12

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.9 The extract has also been reported to have suppressive effects on dicyclanil-promoted hepatocellular proliferative lesions in mice models.13 Several studies have indicated anticancer effects, such as inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus activation and delayed development of papillomas in skin carcinogenesis models.14 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.15

S. grosvenori has demonstrated an antifatigue effect on mice that is dose dependent.16

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.17

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.17

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.17

Toxicology

No data available.

References

1. 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.
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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.
6. 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
7. Kinghorn AD. Biologically active compounds from plants with reputed medicinal and sweetening properties. J Nat Prod. 1987;50(6):1009-1024.3327919
8. 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
9. 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.
10. 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
11. 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
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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
15. 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
16. 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
17. 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
18. 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

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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.

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