Have you ever over-indulged, despite your best
intentions to just "dabble" in life's little pleasures?
Don't despair, nature has provided a wonderful, safe remedy for
hang-overs, sugar-blues, food poisoning, constipation and the common
cold. The name of this mysterious cure-all is the Umeboshi Plum.
Umeboshi Plum is a traditional, naturally processed, pickled plum
used throughout Japan, China and Korea for its incredible health-promoting
properties. The word "umeboshi" literally means "dried
ume." "Ume" has been translated as "plum,"
but is actually a species of apricot.
The plums are pickled, left outside to be exposed to the elements
of the sun and evening dew, packed in barrels with crude sea salt
and shiso leaves, and then pressed by a weight. The combination
of these elements, pressed over a period of at least six months,
creates the natural bacteria, enzymes, organic acids and powerful
alkaline qualities of the Umeboshi Plum. In fact, Umeboshi Plum
has been called "The King of Alkaline Foods."
Alkalinity is an important factor for health. We want our blood
to be just slightly alkaline (about 7.35). If the blood is too acidic,
then harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, fats and mucous
thrive and grow, contributing to degenerative blood and disease.
Our blood can become too acidic from consuming an excessive amount
of sugar, refined flour products, alcohol, toxins and animal foods.
This condition worsens with an inadequate intake of oxygen, often
caused by sedentary lifestyles.
Umeboshi is rich in organic acids, especially citric acid and phosphoric
acid. Organic acids help ensure a rapid breakdown of an excess of
acids (such as lactic acid and pyruvic acid) in the body. Such an
effect helps to balance, or often eliminate, the symptoms of excessively
acidic conditions, including a hang-over, fatigue, morning sickness,
car/sea sickness, some headaches, stomach troubles and anemia. In
fact, an Umeboshi Plum that has been aged 6 to 7 years has been
known to stop diarrhea.
In the past 40 years, scientific evidence for the health benefits
of Umeboshi has been uncovered. In the 1950s Japanese scientists
extracted a powerful antibiotic substance from Umeboshi, and in
1968, a component in Umeboshi was found to have germicidal effects
on the tuberculosis bacteria. And let's not forget to mention that
this natural antibiotic, antiseptic and digestive aid is also known
to be beneficial for water contamination, liver function, prevention
of ageing (anti-oxidizing effects), general detoxification, carbon
monoxide poisoning, skin diseases such as eczema, lack of appetite,
bad breath and dysentery, typhoid, and paratyphoid.
So how does one take an Umeboshi Plum? If you thrive on a salty/sour
taste, you may be one of the few courageous souls that prefer to
eat it straight from the jar. Most of us, myself included, prefer
a more gentle, balanced approach. For a hang-over, nausea, vomiting,
vertigo etc., soak an Umeboshi plum for 5 minutes in hot water or
in Kukicha/Bancha tea. Then, drink the liquid and eat the plum together.
This is the most common method. One Umeboshi Plum is known to Cure
a hang-over. Umeboshi Plum is also excellent mixed in with brown
rice as a morning porridge or eaten as part of your main meal of
For basic health, the general recommendation is about 2-3 Umeboshi
Plums per week, but if you have a specific health concern, please
consult a Macrobiotic Consultant for personalized dietary recommendations.
Umeboshi Plums can be bought at major health food stores. Always
choose those of the highest quality, such as Mitoku Macrobiotic
So why suffer? Recover with Umeboshi Plums!
Lidia Kuleshnyk, B.Sc.,M.E.S.