Origin: The fruit Lychee was originally noticed by the western world in Mendoza's 16th-century History of China.
The Lychee is believed to be originated in a very small area of subtropical southern China. It is believed to be a 4000-year-old crop.
The provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in southern China are the places where the lychee was founded. In ancient times, the lychee would grow alongside the rivers and near the seacoast.
Lychee as fruit has a long and illustrious history. It’s been highly praised in Chinese literature from the earliest known record in 1059 A.D. The cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands to other countries. Late in the 17th Century, it reached to Burma and, 100 years later, it reached India. It reached West Indies in 1775, the plantation in England and France begun in early 19th Century, and Europeans spread it to the East Indies. The fruit then spread to Jamaica in 1775. The fruit was tried to be cultivated in the non-tropical region. In 1873, the fruit reached America. It was a popular fruit in Hawai.
After two years, lychee reached South Africa. In the 1920s, China's annual crop was estimated to be 30 million lbs (13.6 million kg). There was then, extensive plantings in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, former Indochina, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Queensland, Madagascar, Brazil, and South Africa. The chief countries growing lychees are South Africa, Madagascar, China, Taiwan, India, Jamaica, Kenya, USA (Florida), Israel, Brazil, and Japan.
India is now the second-largest producer of litchi which is about one-fifth of global production and has good export potential. Bihar is the leading state for the litchi production in the country whereas Assam, Orissa, Jharkhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal are the other main litchi growing states in India. Bihar is known for lychee cultivation in India.
Scientifically: Lychee scientifically known as Litchi chinensis is delicious, sweet fruit. It is also spelled as litchi. Lychee is an evergreen tree of the soapberry family called Sapindaceae. This edible fruit is known all over the world. The fruit is usually eaten fresh and is also available canned and dried.
The lychee tree grows into a compact crown of foliage and is bright green in color all year round. The leaves of the litchi tree are compound, composed of two to four pairs of elliptic leaflets which are 50–75 mm (2–3 inches) long in height. The flowers of the lychee tree are small and maybe be single or in clusters. The fruits are oval in shape, strawberry red to dark red in color. The fruit has a cover and the inside is the white translucent juicy flesh with a single seed.
Usage: In China, great quantities of honey are harvested from lychee trees. Litchis are used in Desserts or are eaten as a dessert fruit. Lychees are also believed to have medicinal uses. It is very effective in treating asthma.
Lychees help in relieving cough and are beneficial in gastralgia, tumors, and enlargements of the glands. Litchis are also believed to be great for skin and have a great number of antioxidants. It is also rich in fiber and vitamin B. It also rich in Vitamin C. Litchis are also a significant component in some cosmetics and soaps.
Below are some DIYs with litchi:
- Take 3-4 deseeded and peeled litchi and blend them with few pieces of banana. Apply this mixture on the face and neck. Keep this mask on for 15 minutes and then rinse. This mask helps in reducing the signs of aging.
- Extract some fresh litchi juice and apply on the face for 5-10 minutes. Rinse later. This juice helps in removing blemishes and scars.
- Take some litchi pulp and add Vitamin E content to it. Mix them together and apply the face or any sunburnt area. This helps in soothing the skin.
- Take 7-8 deseeded and peeled litchi and blend them with some fresh aloe vera gel. Apply this mixture on the roots and the hair. Let it sit for 40 minutes and then shampoo hair as usual. This helps in strengthening and promoting hair growth.
- Mix equal quantities of litchi pulp and yogurt together. Apply this mixture on hair for 45 minutes. Shampoo later. This hair pack helps in achieving smooth and lustrous hair.