Food: Lychee—the fruit of love and life
At a time when men wooed women with flowers, a Chinese emperor chose a different path.
Legend has it that emperor Tang Minghuang of the Tang Dynasty was in love with Yang Guifei, one of the most beautiful women in Chinese history. She was the emperor’s favorite concubine and Tang would do anything to please his ladylove.
Yang’s favorite fruit was lychee. At the time, this fruit was not available at the capital where they lived. The emperor would therefore send his men all the way to South China to fetch the fruit for his beloved mistress. Lychee thus became a symbol of the emperor’s love for Yang.
Lychee fruits, till date, are held in high regard in China. In fact, many varieties of lychees are named after wealthy and influential Chinese families.
The health and beauty benefits of the lychee fruit are aplenty.
In Chinese medicine, these fruits are sometimes used to treat abdominal pain, coughs, neuralgia and swollen glands. A tea made from the peels helps alleviate diarrhea and is also said to cure skin rashes.
Lychee also helps in haircare. As the fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C, regular consumption of lychees help ensure adequate supply of blood to the hair follicles. This increases hair strength and prevents breakage and split-ends.
While it is good to eat the fruits fresh, several lychee-based products have made their way to the market. Besides packed lychee foods and drinks, soaps, shampoos, and other cosmetics, which use lychee as their base, are selling like hotcakes.