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Japan: Health benefits of yuzu researched

In Japan, the yuzu is a well-known fruit with a taste close to that of the grapefruit, with overtones of mandarin orange. Though it is rarely eaten as a fruit, in the Japanese cuisine its aromatic zest is used to garnish some dishes, and its juice is commonly used as a seasoning.

New research shows that the pips buried in the flesh of the yuzu can be used to make an oil extract which can be used to treat atopic dermatitis, or itchy skin, and perhaps even metabolic syndrome. Kochi Prefecture, the nation's top producer of yuzu, also has the medical school of Kochi University, which in 2009 teamed up with the agricultural cooperative of Umaji, a village in the prefecture, to research the health benefits of yuzu.

According to an article on, in 2016 Kochi University obtained a patent on a drug to treat allergic dermatitis externally with an essential oil derived from yuzu seed extract. The researchers are hoping to prove its efficacy against metabolic syndrome, which manifests itself in excess body fat around the waist and is a trigger for a range of serious disorders such as stroke and diabetes.

Most yuzu weigh about 100 grams. The seeds, normally deemed to have no use, account for 10 percent of the bulk. The Umaji agricultural cooperative started to produce yuzu seed oil extract in 2006 for use as a skin lotion. In a good year the cooperative can produce between 1.6 and 2 tons of oil extract.

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