What is Umeboshi?
Umeboshi is a salt-pickled plum that has been used in Oriental traditional medicine as a cure-all for many centuries.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, prolonged intake of umeboshi plums can detoxify the liver, kidneys and lungs from substances that impair their normal functioning. It can prevent intestinal infection, fight fatigue and remedy intoxication caused by contaminated water.
Umeboshi plums are alkaline-forming in the body.
What Do Umeboshi Plums Contain?
The main reason why this plum (which is actually an apricot) is so effective is due to its unique contents—the acidity of citric acid and the alkalinity of salt. These two ingredients give umeboshi powerful detox and virus-killing properties.
They have a very high content of iron, calcium, phosphorus, thiamine and riboflavin; chlorophyll; and vitamins A, B2 and C. All very important for healthy body functions.
Why Umeboshi Have An Alkaline Effect In The Body
You may wonder how such a sour, salty and highly acid-tasting plum can actually have an alkalizing effect on your body.
Umeboshi is alkaline-forming in the body, thanks to its high concentration of citric acidic, which has a powerful alkalizing effect. In fact it has twenty-five times more citric acid content than lemon juice. And citric acid helps drive nutrients into your cells and enhance nutrient absorption.
The Benefits Of Citric Acid In The Body
- Citric acid helps the absorption of important minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, potassium—already contained in the plum.
- Umeboshi helps your organs to detoxify efficiently.
- It neutralizes the acidity produced in our body by acid forming foods, such as sugar and processed foods. According to some studies, regular intake of 10gm of umeboshi can neutralize the acidity produced by 100g of sugar.
- It improves absorption of nutrients by stimulating the digestive functions in the small intestine.
- The organic acids in umeboshi (citric and phosphoric acid) help the body to break down toxic acids like lactic and pyruvic acid, which can sometimes build up in the body, causing health problems.
The Health Benefits Of Umeboshi
Umeboshi has been used for centuries as a powerful remedy to prevent fatigue; to detox; and to cure specific diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and food poisoning.
In recent years people have been using it to remedy many everyday symptoms and for its powerful health benefits:
- Umeboshi is a powerful antiseptic used to treat food poisoning and other viral or bacterial infections.
- To improve digestion and helps lack of appetite by stimulating gastric secretions.
- Heartburn and acidic reflux
- Morning-after sickness
- Cold and flu symptoms relief
- Supplement for iron, phosphorus and calcium
- Lactic acid build up and fatigue
- Blood cleanse—it contains mumefral, a citric acid derivative which improves blood viscocity
- Stimulates liver function—it helps get rid of artificial chemicals in our body by stimulating liver functions
- Intestine—umeboshi accelerates peristaltic movement, works as an intestine cleanse and has a mild laxative effect
Umeboshi Home Remedies For Ailments
- Energy booster: Eat ¼ of fresh umeboshi plum before breakfast every day to prepare your stomach for digesting food and provide your body with energy.
- Morning sickness and stomach acidity: Eat 1/3 umeboshi plum before your meal as an appetizer to prevent sickness during pregnancy. This will help to neutralize stomach acid and relieve intestinal problems (including those caused by microorganisms).
- Cure hangover: Soak the plum in hot water for at least 5 minutes, drink the infusion and afterwards eat the plum. This can relieve hangover symptoms.
- Ume-sho-kuzu, a umeboshi, shoyu and kuzu drink is very effective for treating cold and flu symptoms, indigestion and diarrhea.
Dilute a teaspoon of kuzu root in 1½ cups of water, bring to boil and then add 1-2 teaspoons of shoyu. Carry on boiling for a minute or so, until it becomes transparent. The drink improves digestion, boosts energy levels and helps to regulate the intestine.
- For headaches, tiredness, anemia, nausea, blood circulation and lack of appetite: Drink Ume-sho-bancha tea with ginger recipe.
Squash the pulp of one plum in a cup. Add ½ teaspoon of shoyu or tamari and fill the cup up with boiling bancha tea. You can even add some fresh grated ginger to taste. This will increase blood circulation through the regulation of digestion.
- For stomach acidity, intestinal problems, sore throat, sugar intoxication: Just eat 1 umeboshi plum. Or suckle an umeboshi stone for 15 minutes to relieve sore throat and pharyngitis.
- For intestinal cramps, gastric problems and diarrea: Take Umeboshi seed powder. Extract the kernel from the stone and roast in the oven at a high temperature until they darken. Allow to cool before crushing to a powder. When needed, add a teaspoon of this powder to a normal bancha tea cup for a very effective remedy.
- Umeboshi seasoning can be used as a healthy substitute for salt. Add umeboshi paste or ume plum vinegar to sauces, soups or steamed vegetables to aid digestion and prevent constipation.
Salad dressing recipe: Add the juice of ½ lemon to 1 teaspoon of paste. Mix with 2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of vinegar (preferably balsamic), 1 teaspoon of shoyu sauce and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. Pour on your salad for a delicious dressing!
Where To Buy Umeboshi
You can find umeboshi fresh plums in your local healthfood stores or buy them online.
There are a number of different umeboshi-based products:
- Umeboshi plums—real, whole pickled plums usually in a jar
- Umeboshi paste—pureed plums
- Umeboshi plum vinegar—a pickling condiment made of umeboshi plums with sea salt and red shiso. Great on steamed vegetables, salad dressings, marinades, hot sauce, dips and salsa. Excellent for making pickles.
- Umeboshi pills—dried plum extract in pill form commonly called meitan. This is handy when traveling, helps with indigestion or stomach bugs.
- Umeboshi plum roasted seeds—difficult to find in shops, they can be made at home from the fruit’s kernels.