The holidays can play havoc with well laid dietary resolutions. Fortunately, Umeboshi Plums from Japan is our best friend against a host of haunting upsets!
When picked in salt and purple shiso leaves, it becomes umeboshi. Ume has an amazing ability to balance and brace the system.
It has extensive documentation (some ancient, some recent) showing its effectiveness in cleanly evacuating radioactive strontium 90 from the body, in relieving coughs and nausea, reducing fevers, as an astringent, and as an antibiotic against dysentery, supportive staphylococcus, and more.
UMEBOSHI are the whole plums pickled for over a year with salt and shiso leaves. You’ll find many specific uses for it in macrobiotic cook books.
Umeboshi is highly effective in ameliorating morning sickness, hypersensitivity, motion sickness, herpes, jet lag, stiffness, hangover, stress, headaches, insomnia, fatigue and just about anything else you can name.
UME VINEGAR is delicious in salad dressings. It is technically not vinegar but rather the liquid that rises to the surface of fermenting umeboshi. It smells like fresh cherries and tastes like savory vinegar.
I never tire of using Ume vinegar on greens, grains and in soups!
UME PASTE is the pureed flesh of the pickled plum (umeboshi) without its seed. It is convenient to use in cooking. And especially use it on corn on the cob or any corn dish.
PLUM CONCENTRATE (bainiku ekisu), available in pure concentrate form, has the texture and color of tar. It’s made from the juice of the immature Ume. It, as well as the concentrate products described below, is not a pickled product and contains no added salt. Dip out a pea-sized portion with the tip of a chopstick, place it on your tongue and you’ll pucker and grimace like never before. It tastes like the essence of 50 sour lemons. Some folks enjoy the concentrate straight. Most mix it with tea.
A small dose of plum concentrate is said to neutralize the acids created from eating a sugar laden piece of chocolate cake. This is substantiated by the experience of countless people practicing macrobiotics.
Ume has extensive documentation showing its effectiveness in relieving coughs and nausea, reducing fevers as an astringent and as an antibiotic.
Here’s why it works. This oriental plum has at least double the amounts of protein, minerals, fat and ash as other fruits, are high in calcium, iron and acidity. The plum concentrate:
Edible portion Calcium Iron Acidity
Strawberry 14 mg 17 mg 15mg
Ume Plum 65 mg 130 mg 90.4mg
Juice from immature Ume, when concentrated, has 53.6 percent citric acid and 19.2 percent iron. This concentration of citric acid and minerals make Ume a strongly medicinal food.
Today many people have a difficult time absorbing minerals like calcium and iron. Citric acid combines readily with the mineral content of foods present in the digestive tract and creates an easy-to-absorb mineral salt.
Citric acid breaks down the lactic acids in our blood that cause fatigue and stress. This explains why athletes instinctively chew on lemons are highest in citric acid. But compare to Ume!
100 Grams Edible Portion Citric Acid
Plum extract 53g
The blood of a healthy person stays at the slightly alkaline level of pH 7.3, which will not host infections and viruses. When the blood tends toward acidity, symptoms such as irritability or hypersensitivity occur. The blood of those with headaches or dizziness, stiff shoulders, insomnia, or those who have stomach cancer or diabetes is acidic. Ume and umeboshi help the system adjust to slightly alkaline pH level.
If the stomach is weak, or if the secretion of stomach fluids is retarded through improper diet and lifestyle, germs find their way into the small intestine. This can be the take-off site for illness. Ume products contain a natural agent called perilhidehyde that, when ingested, helps clear the intestinal tract of undesirable bacteria. Citric acid, also found in Ume, enhances the function of the liver and gallbladder.
A common food craving during pregnancy is pickles. The craving may be a sign of a lack in the woman’s blood of adequate calcium for the developing fetus. The sour flavor draws calcium from her teeth and bones to make it available to the baby. This explains the old adage, “Every pregnancy costs a tooth.” The citric acid of Ume heightens calcium retention from our goods. In addition, Ume is a superior source of readily assailable calcium. Many women enjoy Ume (particularly the extract form) as a remedy for morning sickness and as an agent to aid in the absorption of calcium.
For those times when you slip from a healthy diet or when you’re traveling or your resistance is low, allow the mighty Ume to assist you!
Reference “The Whole Foods Encyclopedia“, one of my favorite reference books for many years.