The Lychee, a native of China, grows best in tropical and subtropical regions and can be found growing in many parts of the world these days. It is Botanically recognised as Litchi chinensis from the Sapindaceae plant family.

The lychee tree can grow as tall as 20 Metres but more typically between 10 and 20 metres. Production of the Lychee is common in China, Australia, United States, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and areas of India. Their popularity in Australia is increasing as production increases. They are extremely popular around Pakistan, India, China and other areas around South East Asia.

Historically, the growing of Lychees specifically for food production dates back to 2000 BCE. Records show its introduction to other parts of the world began during the 18th century.

The Lychee is often referred to as a Lychee Berry, however, the lychee is more correctly a “drupe” similar to a peach or apricot.

Lychees have one of the richest sources of Vitamin C available in food. They are low in fat and contain good amounts of calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorous. They are also a good source of carbohydrates.

The lychee is thought to have many medicinal uses.

Many people have reported relief from coughing with the consumption of lychees, likely due to the high vitamin C content.

Some reports indicate Lychees may benefit sufferers of stomach ulcers if eaten prior to a meal. These reports have been made based on consumer research and not on scientific studies.

It has also been reported that regular consumption of lychees may assist with the symptoms associated with swollen glands.

Lychees are extremely sweet in taste and have been compared with grapes in their sweetness and texture. I have read that the Chinese make a tea from the skin of the lychee and there are commercially available lychee teas on the market.

Lychees are available in many commercially prepared products including;

- Lychee Syrup – Used for flavouring dishes and in teas and other beverages.

- Lychee juice – Tetra packed juices are available on the market. Fresh lychees could also be added to juice recipes at home.

- Canned Lychees - are available and could be used in salads or used for cooking.

- Lychees also come as syrup for making smoothies or as a base for other recipes.

- Dried Lychees look a lot like a sultana or a raisin

In areas where fresh lychees are no available, buying one of the products above might be an option for including lychees in your diet.

Adding lychees to home made juices will add sweetness and flavour as well as a boost of vitamin C.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites or Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.