17 Incredible Health Benefits Of Rambutan, Uses, Nutritional Facts & Recipes

A very close relative of the tropical plants lychee and longan, rambutan is a member of the Sapindaceae family. Botanically termed as Nephelium lappaceum, the tree is commonly known for its fruit, also called a rambutan. The rambutan [1]  tree grows up to 80 ft in height and has evergreen leaves clustered in 1 to 4 pairs of leaflets.

The flowers of rambutan are small and petal-less, and the fruit is ovoid in shape with a pinkish-red, bright-or deep-red, orange-red hue. The rambutan fruit is covered in a thin, leathery rind covered with multiple spiky structures that resemble hair, thereby giving its name rambutan which in Malay translates to "hair".

Rambutan picture

The flesh of the fruit is its aril, covering the single seed. The fruit's flesh has a very pale pink complexion and has a mildly sweet and acidic flavour. The seed of rambutan is equally beneficial and can be consumed. The fruit basically does not have any waste, as the whole thing can be consumed. Rambutan is often referred to as a 'super fruit' due [2] to the plethora of health benefits it encompasses.

When you hear the word 'rambutan', the spiky-haired fruit is the first thing that comes into your mind. It is true that the fruit is jam-packed with health benefits, but you should also know that rambutan as a whole is a boon. The miraculous rambutan does not limit itself to its fruit but its leaves, seed, peel [3]  and even its bark have a plethora of uses and benefits for your body. Let's get into knowing the uses and benefits of one of the most exotic fruits.

Different Uses Of Rambutan

It is not every day you come across something that is beneficial from top to bottom. The uses of rambutan are not merely limited to its fruit but the tree as a whole.

1. Medicinal uses

  • The rambutan fruit, mostly the unripe one is used to cure diarrhoea and dysentery. 
  • The bark [4] is used as an astringent. 
  • The leaves of rambutan are used to alleviate headache.
  • The dried fruit rind[5]  is employed in traditional medicine. 
  • A decoction of the bark is used as a remedy for thrush (yeast infection).
  • A decoction of the roots is used as a remedy for fever. 
  • The seeds, skin and fruit pulp [6]  are used to reduce cholesterol.
  • The fruit & seed are known to reduce diabetes and hypertension. 
  • The bark is also used for tongue diseases.

2. Food uses

  • The rambutan fruit can be consumed[7] fresh or canned.
  • The fruit is a major component in fruit salads, juices and jellies.
  • Roasted and fried rambutan seeds are consumed as a snack. 
  • Rambutan seed oil [8]  is used as a cooking oil.

3. Beauty uses

  • Rambutan leaves are used to add [9] shine to frizzy hair.
  • Rambutan seeds are used to treat sallow skin.
  • Rambutan seed fat is used as a cocoa butter [10]  substitute.

4. Other uses

  • Rambutan seeds, especially the seed fat is used to candles and soap.
  • Young shoots of rambutan are used to make dye (green & yellow).
  • The fruit walls are used to dye[11]  silk.

Nutrition Value Of Rambutan Fruit

The calories in 100 grams of rambutan fruit amount to 82 kcal. It also has a 0. 35 milligrams iron, 0.343 milligrams manganese, 0.08 milligrams zinc, 8 micrograms folate, 0.022 milligrams riboflavin, 0.013 milligrams thiamine and 0.02 milligrams [12]  vitamin B6.

100 grams of rambutan fruit contains approximately

  • 20.87 grams carbohydrates 
  • 0.9 gram dietary fibre
  • 0.21 gram fat
  • 0.65 gram protein
  • 22 milligrams calcium
  • 7 milligrams magnesium
  • 9 milligrams phosphorus 
  • 42 milligrams potassium
  • 11 milligrams sodium
  • 4.9 milligrams vitamin C
  • 1.352 milligrams niacin
Rambutan Nutrition Table

Rambutan Health Benefits

Rambutan trees as a whole, that is, from its root to the fruit are abundantly beneficial to the human body. The close relative of lychee is tightly packed with a deluge of health benefits. Take a look into the numerous benefits the spiky wonder has to offer.

Fruit Benefits

1. Boosts energy

The high content of carbohydrates and proteins in the rambutan fruit plays a significant role in boosting energy. The varieties of B vitamins in the rambutan fruit aids and increases the energy metabolism, therefore converting the carbohydrate into energy that can be used by your body.

2. Rich in vitamin C

Rambutan is packed with vitamin C, the vital antioxidants relevant to your body's immunity. It helps in fighting off the harmful radicals. The benefits of vitamin C can have on your body is limitless. The richness of the vitamin can help increase the iron[13] absorption, thereby improving the blood quality. The collagen-forming components in vitamin C help reduce skin inflammation, and aids in building stronger bones[14]  and joints.

3. Reduces constipation

Rambutan fruit has a high content of fibre [15]  which has a direct impact on improving your bowel movements. The fibre acts as a catalyst in better digestion, thereby helping in lowering the chances of indigestion and constipation.

4. Removes kidney waste

The phosphorous content in the fruit helps in filtering out the waste from your body. The essential mineral helps your kidney's function.

5. Helps in weight loss

As mentioned, the rambutan fruit has high content [15]  of fibre. Along with this property, the fruit is low in calories. Both the natures, along with the high water content in the fruit helps reduce the constant onsets hunger. By limiting the need to consume large quantities of food and reducing the unwanted fat in your body, the fruit is a miracle worker.

6. Improves bone strength

Consuming the rambutan fruit can supply a good amount of iron, calcium and phosphorus to your body. These elements contribute to improving your bone [16]  strength, by repairing and developing stronger bones and reducing the chances of bone ruptures and even diseases.

7. Has antiseptic & antibacterial properties

The rambutan fruit is widely known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties in the medical field. Consumption of the fruit can help your body from infections. The antiseptic qualities help in the quick healing[17] of open wounds, thereby stopping the formation of any form of pus which can cause skin inflammation and irritation. And the antibacterial properties help get rid of the unwanted and harmful bacteria.

8. Improves sperm quality

The high content of vitamin C in the rambutan fruit has been said to improve and maintain sperm quality and health. Studies have revealed the impact of vitamin C [18]  has on healthy sperm development. Therefore, incorporating the fruit in diet can help improve the chances of conceiving in men.

Rambutan fruit - infographic

9. Improves heart health

The high content of vitamin C in the rambutan fruit is asserted to have a positive impact on improving your heart health. The vitamin C helps improve the heart health by preventing the onset of disease, and by eliminating the harmful radicals. It also helps strengthen and repair the damaged blood vessel [19]  walls.

10. Improves scalp & hair health

The antibacterial properties of the rambutan fruit can help treat scalp problems such as dandruff and itching. The vitamin C helps nourish your scalp and hair, thereby improving your hair growth. Likewise, the protein content in the fruit strengthens the hair roots, resulting in improving the quality of your hair.

11. For Pregnant Women

  • It relieves morning nausea and dizziness.
  • The high iron content in rambutan fruit helps reduce fatigue and dizziness. 
  • It helps maintain a healthy level of haemoglobin. 
  • The fruit helps reduce itchy skin, which is commonly found in expecting mothers. The vitamin E content of rambutan fruit keeps the skin nourished and itch-free.

However, make sure the consumption is in controlled amounts. As there is no solid scientific proof to back this claim, it is advisable to consult your doctor or a herbalist to get a clarity.

Seed Benefits

12. Improves skin quality

The rambutan seeds are known for its oxidative properties. By applying a paste of the seeds on your skin, you can easily help improve the quality [20]  of your skin, as it helps in removing the blemishes, patches and dark spots.

13. Prevents diabetes

The most beneficial quality of the rambutan seeds is its anti-diabetic [21]  properties. It helps maintain a steady level of sugar in your blood.

Caution: The consumption of rambutan seeds have to be done carefully. If consumed directly the seeds can be fatal, so it is required that you boil or dry the seeds before consumption.

Fruit Peel Benefits

14. Prevents cancer

The outer skin of the rambutan fruit has anti-cancer[22]  properties. Encompassed of gallic acid and flavonoids, the peel helps in fighting the harmful free radicals in your system. Incorporation of the fruit peel in your daily diet can help eliminate the carcinogenic substances.

Leaf Benefits

15. Improves libido

Consuming the leaves of rambutan are known to improve and stimulate the libido. The leaves are natural aphrodisiacs, that can have a positive impact on improving your sexual libido. The best way to get the benefit is by boiling the leaves in water and drinking it.

16. Relieves pain

The analgesic property of rambutan leaves is widely known in Chinese medicine. Consuming the juice of rambutan leaves are said to impact nerve centres into making the brain to think that the pain is reducing. Although there is no solid proof for this, the family Sapindaceae[23]  that rambutan belongs to have been used as natural remedies for pain.

Bark Benefits

17. Heals sores

Rambutan barks are known to have astringent properties. Traditional medicine supports the claim that rambutan barks are good for healing painful sores.

Rambutan Vs Lychee

First things first, lychee and rambutan [24] are not the same. It may have fooled you with its twin-like fleshy fruit, but no more! Let's get to know what makes the two fruits different from each other.

Properties Rambutan Lychee 
 Size
Golf ball sized  Small 
 Skin  Soft with prickly pokers  Rough & knobby
Texture   Creamy  Crispy
 Flavour  Sweet & flowery  Mildly sweet

How To Eat A Rambutan

It may seem like a knotty task, but the following steps are going to guide you into properly eating a rambutan.

  • Choose a ripe rambutan -bright red with green spikes.
  • Using a knife, cut a slit in the skin - by cutting through the rind.
  • Hold the fruit in your hand and lightly open it by pulling one side of the peel.
  • Gently squeeze and pop the fruit out.
  • Make a small cut in the flesh, and pop the seed out.
  • And Enjoy!

Rambutan Recipes

1. Rambutan salad

Ingredients

  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup of lemon basil
  • Pineapple vinegar
  • Red chilli - without seed
  • Rambutan - as required (peeled and de-seeded)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Take a bowl, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar and onion.
  • Add lemon basil, mint leaves and chilli to the mix.
  • Toss gently.
  • Refrigerate it, if you want to serve it cold.

2. Healthy rambutan smoothie

Ingredients

  • 3 rambutans
  • 2 cups of coconut meat
  • 1 banana

Directions

  • Combine the ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend until the mix becomes really smooth [25] .
  • Pour it in a glass & enjoy!.
View Article References
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  3. [3] Vanderlinden, E. J. M., Pohlan, H. A. J., & Janssens, M. J. (2004). Culture and fruit quality of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) in the Soconusco region, Chiapas, Mexico. Fruits, 59(5), 339-350.
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  13. [13] Wall, M. M. (2006). Ascorbic acid and mineral composition of longan (Dimocarpus longan), lychee (Litchi chinensis) and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) cultivars grown in Hawaii. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 19(6-7), 655-663.
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  17. [17] Barbin, K. B., Secretaria, L. B., Bayogan, E. R. V., Lacap, A. T., & Ekman, J. H. (2016, November). Efficacy of guava and mangosteen extracts in reducing soft rot (Pectobacterium carotovorum) in harvested Chinese cabbage. In International Symposia on Tropical and Temperate Horticulture-ISTTH2016 1205 (pp. 393-400).
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  25. [25] Hannum, C. (2018, September 19). Rambutan Fruit Smoothie [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/rambutan-fruit-juice-for-pain-relief-2078383
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