While Persimon fruit is nowadays more or less known everywhere in the world, Persimon Leaf Tea is almost entirely unknown. It is quite popular only in Korea, Japan and China, and in those countries it has very long tradition of use not only as a pleasant beverage but also as a herbal medicine. In some states of USA you can also find it, but only if you are very lucky. And ever since I tried this delicious tea I wonder why. Persimon (or Persimmon) Leaf Tea is both very tasty and healthy, and usually those two virtues combines together makes herbal tea becoming bestseller. Many healthy herbal infusions are tasteless, unpleasant or even hard to swallow, but Persimmon Leaf Tea is soft in taste and has very subtle unique aroma. It smells and tastes kind of like hazelnuts, with slight note of Persimon fruit and carmel, and has very delicate sourness and tartness. I've found it to be very suitable tea to go together with desserts like cakes or puddings. There are two kinds of Persimmon Leaf Tea that I had a chance to try so far. One is from simply dried (maybe roasted) Persimon leaves, and the other is made from leaves that was fermented before drying. I'm not a big fan of the second one, which tastes quite good, but has this characteristic for fermented teas taste that is covering dried Persimon leaf subtleness.
Persimon tea is made from the leaves (in China also from stems and calyxes) of Diospyros kaki tree, which originate from East Asia and is the most widely cultivated species of Diospyros around the world for its big Persimmon fruits. Persimmon Leaf Tea is called Kakinoha Cha in Japan, Gamnip Cha in Korea and Yeh Ching Cha or Shi Ye Cha in China. But North American Diospyros virginiana, which bears similar but much smaller fruits and is not cultivated on commercial scale, provide leaves with similar properties, that are sometimes used for tea in USA (but is said to taste more bitter than asian one). There are divided opinions about what time of year the leaves are best to be picked for tea. Some producers claims that the best time to harvest Persimon leaves is in early april, other says that it is in june or july. After picking it can be either simply dried in shade, rosted or put for fermentation process before drying, but it can also be used fresh for tea preparation.
Persimmon leaves contain : proanthocyanidins (which are type of polyphenols and are also called as condensed tannins), tannins, flavonoids (catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, rutin), terpenoids, nitric oxide, choline, astragalin and amino acids, among others. It has also more vitamin C than Persimmon fruits and many vegetables, and is good source of carotenoids, magnesium, manganese, titanium, calcium and phosphorous.
Persimon Leaf Tea is highly valued in East Asia for it's relaxing, calming effect on mind and body and its medicinal properties, that are described as : antioxidantive, hypotensive, vasorelaxant, anti-allergic, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic and antidiabetic (helpful for improving type 2 diabetes). It can be laxative in large doses. It has potential for prevention and improvement of thrombosis by inhibiting blood coagulation and platelet activation. It strenghtens and relax blood capillaries and larger blood vessels, increase blood flow, stops bleeding and has beneficial hemostasis activities. Modern studies suggested that persimmon leaf flavonoids can effectively inhibit brain thrombosis, improve blood supply to the brain, and relieve ischemia-induced pathological damage, resulting in brain ischemic tolerance. Persimmon leaves also have therapeutic potential in the prevention and treatment for cerebral arteriosclerosis.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine infusions of Diospyros kaki leaves (called Shi Ye), have a long history of use for the healing of ischemia stroke, hypertension, atherosclerosis, infectious diseases, angina, coughing and hicccoughs, and are recommended for treatment of thrombocytopenic purpura, defined as dermorrhagia, hematohidrosis (blood sweat), bleeding under the skin and internal hemorrhage.
In Japan Persimmon leaf tea is drunk as a general tonic, to fights colds, flu, allergies, hemorrhages, prevent melanoma, lower cholesterol level and blood pressure, treat hardening of the arteries and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Persimmon Leaf Tea producers from South Korea claim that Persimmon leaf tea is safe for babies and pregnant women.
Strong Persimon leaf infusions can be used cold as cooling skin spray, or mixed with aloe vera gel and applied on skin for bruises, problems caused by weak blood vessels as spider veins or varicose veins, and for preventing age related skin problems.
The Native Americans except using fruits of theyr Diospyros virginiana, used also it's bark. They drunk it's decoctions and infusions to treat bowel problems, heartburn, liver problems, sore throats, toothaches, thrush, piles and venereal diseases. Infusions was given to babies to treat thrush.
American Eclectic Physicians used Persimmon tree bark, describing it as a strongly astringent, tonic and antiseptic. It was used in treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, loose bowels, 'intermittents' (which probably meant - intermittent fevers) and '' cholera infantum or the summer complaint of children ''. It has also been employed in passive hemorrhages, it is said, with good results. It was given in the form of syrup, tincture, or infusion. Strong infusion has been used as a gargle in ulcerated sore throat, as a wash in sore mouth, and to cleanse ulcers. The bark was also applied in the form of a poultice to gangrenous parts.
There is a quite long list of medicinal aplications of Persimmon fruits as well, and many of it are the same as those of Persimmon leaf tea. I hope one day I will find time for deep study on that subject, as well as on Persimmon trees growth habits. But for now I'm focusing on other plants, and just took a brake for a tea. I wish you to find Persimmon tree to pick your own leaves, or being able to buy Persimmon tea, wherever you live. And hope you'll love it just as I do.
Persimmon Leaf Tea from South Korea
'' Naturally Pain Free: Prevent and Treat Chronic and Acute Pains-Naturally '' - Letha Hadady, Sourcebooks, Inc. 2012