Litchis, also spelled lychee, and lichi (Litchi chinensis) are members of the Sapindaceae (Soapberry) Family. When dried, they are then called lychee nuts. The genus name is from the common Chinese name and the species name, chinensis, means that its origin is China. The fruit is smaller than a walnut, with a flavor reminiscent of grapes and rose like aroma.
Litchis are considered a blood and yin tonic that improves the circulation of energy. The nuts are sweet and warm and used in oriental medicine to enhance intelligence and make one’s complexion more beautiful. The fruits are cool and sweet, and a yin tonic. Litchis are used to help asthma, cough, diarrhea, hernial pain, tumors and glandular enlargements.
Litchis contain some vitamin B1, B2, niacin and C. Look for plump uncracked fruits. In the orient they are often eaten at the end of a meal, or served in syrup. Enjoy them as a snack, in fruit salads, and sherbets. The inner seed is not edible.