What Is Luo Han Guo Good For?

Healthy Luo Han Guo
Scientific name: Momordica grosvenorii1

Luo Han Guo Nutrition Facts

When it comes to improving overall health, taking a step back and revisiting health-boosting techniques used by our ancestors can be of great help.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which utilized native plants and herbs, is a good reference point if you're looking for alternative but effective ways to enhance your well-being and help alleviate health concerns.

The luo han guo fruit and its extract is popular in TCM, and is slowly gaining recognition in other places because of its potential benefits. Discover what luo han guo has to offer for your health, and how you can add it to your meals.

What Is Luo Han Guo?

Luo han guo is a very sweet and round dried fruit typically grown in southern Chinese provinces such as Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi.

This fruit, which is about the size of an orange or large lemon, has a thin brown hard shell that holds multiple seeds and grows on vines found on the mountains of Guilin in China,2 although the plant is rarely found in the wild.

The mountains are able to provide shade and are frequently surrounded by mists that help protect against excessive sunlight, despite the province's warm temperature.3

Luo han guo may also go by the names “Buddha fruit” or “monk fruit.” The fruit was first mentioned in records of the 13th century Chinese monks who discovered and used the fruit. Fresh luo han guo is ripe in the fall but is often sold dried year-round. Luo han guo sweeteners are available in some stores and health websites as well.4

Health Benefits of Luo Han Guo

Luo han guo is good in potentially providing the following health benefits:5

Promoting weight loss: Because luo han guo doesn’t contain calories, carbohydrates or fat, it may be useful for people watching their weight.

However, you still have to be careful about foods and drinks containing luo han guo, since they may have added sugars and ingredients that may raise calorie and carbohydrate counts or affect insulin sensitivity.

Stay on the safe side and only consume little to moderate amounts.

Providing anti-inflammatory properties: A 2011 study6 revealed that luo han guo was used in TCM to make hot drinks that may address sore throat and reduce phlegm.

Mogrosides, which are natural compounds responsible for the fruit’s sweetness, are said to be anti-inflammatory and assist with stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Providing anti-aging properties: The potential antioxidant properties of luo han guo may protect against the “breaking down” of the body as you age.

Relieving allergies: Luo han guo extract was proven to prevent the activity of mast cells that trigger allergies, lowering histamines and thereby eliminating allergies.

It’s also associated with decreasing asthmatic reactions.

Improving heart health: Organic components in luo han guo may assist in preventing cholesterol oxidation, potentially reducing your risk for heart attacks and strokes, and preventing development of atherosclerosis.

Helping control diabetes: Sweeteners containing luo han guo don’t cause fluctuations to blood sugar levels in the same way sugar and other sweeteners do.

This is why luo han guo is widely promoted as a preventive method for diabetes.

Boosting immunity: Some amounts of vitamin C can be found in luo han guo.

This vitamin can stimulate production of white blood cells and collagen, which the body needs for creating cells, muscle tissue and blood vessels.

Furthermore, mogrosides in the fruit were also linked to preventing viral infections like the Epstein Barr virus.


Lastly, there are reports that luo han guo may be effective against cancer, although studies have been limited. The glycosides and saponins in luo han guo may help reduce the spread of cancer cells, and decrease their presence by neutralizing free radicals.7

Uses of Luo Han Guo

Luo han guo can be used as an expectorant and as an antitussive that may help alleviate coughs, sore throats, lung congestion and other respiratory ailments. It can also be used to help address constipation and chronic enteritis. The fruit is popular in southern China as a longevity aid.8,9 Luo han guo extract was also used by local populations to help treat colds and minor stomach and intestinal complaints.10

Arguably, luo han guo fruit extract is popular nowadays as a natural zero-calorie sweetener. Luo han guo processors typically extract the natural sweetener from the fruit by crushing it and infusing it with water. While the extract is around 150 to 250 times sweeter than table sugar, it has zero calories and carbohydrates. Better yet, it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels.11

How to Cook With Luo Han Guo

Luo han guo fruit or sweetener may be added to any of these foods:12

  • Drinks like coffee, hot tea, iced tea, lemonade and/or smoothies
  • Salad dressings and sauces
  • Soups
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal or other hot cereals

In the U.S., luo han guo or monk fruit is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use as a sweetener or flavor enhancer for food and beverages, excluding meat and poultry products.13

When adding the luo han guo fruit, only cut and use a small to moderate portion. If you have a recipe, strictly follow its instructions regarding the fruit. Once you’re done using luo han guo, store unused portions in a clean sealable sandwich bag and put in a cool and dry place. You can buy the fruit (dried or otherwise) in Chinese grocery stores and herb stores, or from a reputable source online.14

Luo Han Guo Recipes

If you want to incorporate luo han guo flavors into your meals, a quick search will yield various recipes for dishes and drinks. Here’s an example of a luo han guo soup recipe:15

Luo Han Guo Watercress Soup and Tea


1 luo han guo (monk fruit)

1 bunch of watercress — wash and cut into two sections

300 grams pork ribs

6 dried red dates, rinsed

2 dried honey dates (optional)

30 grams of dried apricot kernels

6 cups water

Himalayan salt to taste


  1. Par-boil pork ribs in a pot of boiling water for about five minutes to remove scum.
  2. Rinse the luo han guo and gently crack it open with the back of a butter knife.
  3. Put in all the ingredients into a soup pot and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, lower heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  4. Season the soup with salt if desired.

This recipe makes four servings.

If you want to try luo han guo tea to address certain conditions, follow this recipe:16

Luo Han Guo (Monk Fruit Tea) Recipe


Dried luo han guo fruit

Boiling water


  1. Break off a small piece from the fruit (about 1 square inch). It doesn’t matter if it’s the skin or the inside of the fruit.
  2. Add to a mug or small bowl of hot water. Using a tea strainer would even be better since small fragments may fall of the piece of fruit.
  3. Allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Strain out all pieces of fruit and drink.

Alternatively, you can make a pot of luo han guo tea by boiling 4 cups of water and adding a whole crushed luo han guo fruit. Afterwards, return the pot to boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Luo Han Guo Nutrition Facts

A 200-millileter serving of luo han guo contains roughly 144 calories, but without any sugars. Learn more about the nutrients in luo han guo by looking at this table:17

Luo Han Guo

Serving Size: 200 ml
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 144  
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 2 g  
Saturated Fat 0 g  
Trans Fat 0 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 146 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 28 g  
Dietary Fiber 0 g  
Sugar 0 g  
Protein 4 g  
Vitamin A   0%
Calcium   0%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks linked to luo han guo. For instance, it is challenging to grow, harvest and dry, and also expensive to import and process. This significantly increases the price of this fruit. Some people may also be turned off by the fruit’s aftertaste, although many still find that it tastes pleasant and less bitter than other sweeteners, especially artificial varieties. 18

Plus, there is a risk of allergic reaction for this fruit, albeit rare, especially if you’re allergic to other members of the gourd family (which luo han guo belongs to) such as pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and melons. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:19

Hives or rash

Difficulty breathing

Rapid or weak pulse


Swollen tongue

Stomach pain or vomiting



For Health-Conscious Folks, Luo Han Guo May Be a Good Choice

In recent years, luo han guo has been recommended as a good alternative to conventional high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Compared to these two substances that can be damaging to your health, luo han guo delivers the sweetness without the added health risks.

This doesn't mean that you should go overboard with luo han guo consumption, however, since it can still be overpoweringly sweet, and there is a small risk for some side effects like insulin sensitivity. If you’re trying luo han guo for the first time, talk to your doctor to learn more about how much luo han guo you should consume, and if your body can handle this sweetener.