Umeboshi

Umeboshi

Umeboshi is a pickled plum—a
traditional Japanese food that
has no equivalent in Ameri-
can cuisine. The umeboshi plum
is a species of fruit called "prunus
mume," which translates as plum, but
actually is a species of apricot. These
plums contain citric and phosphoric
acids, which are organic acids that are
not broken down in the pickling pro-
cess. Umeboshi plums are picked in
the spring when ripe, then put through
a process of soaking in a salty brine
and alternating with drying in the
sun, a process that requires the heat
of summer. Traditional umeboshi are
allowed to age in the salty brine for a
year or longer before consumption.
A miracle occurs in the long pick-
ling process. A strong combination is
formed of very expansive (yin) fac-
tors and very contractive (yang) fac-
tors. This combination provides the
usefulness of this food. Its powerful
acidity has a paradoxical alkalinizing
effect on the body. For example, three
tenths of an ounce of umeboshi can
neutralize the acidity of'/2 cup of sug-
ar. Equivalent substances that mini-
mize the effect of sugar are VA cup
of kombu, 1 cup of azuki beans, or
2'/2 cups of burdock root. Umeboshi
plums also reduce fatigue, stimulate
digestion, eliminate toxins, and facili-
tate calcium absorption.
Umeboshi plums contain citrus,
which is helpful in the absorption of
calcium. They are also said to help
the liver process excess alcohol, re-
store the skin, help regulate sugar me-
tabolism, prevent or cure anemia, and
relieve acute stomach and intestinal
pain. It is thought to be an antidote
to food poisoning as well as a natural
tranquilizer. Some regard an ume a
day as the best preventive medicine.
I did this, eating umeboshi on a
regular basis and suggesting to my
friends to do the same. When one
friend said she hadn't in awhile be-
cause she was afraid of the salt con-
tent, we derived a plan for taking
forms of umeboshi with no salt con-
tent, specifically the extract. Ume
extract is a black "tarry" substance,
concentrated tenfold, made by boil-
ing green umeboshi plums down to
a concentrate. It has the equivalent
citrus concentration to about 25 times
that of lemon juice. It doesn't contain
salt, which makes it more effective
than the plum for treatment of high
blood pressure and other conditions
that are not helped by high sodium
levels. Ume extract when applied to
the skin has been found to cure condi-
tions such as ringworm and athlete's
foot. Plum extract is useful in curing
opposite conditions—for example, it
can cure both diarrhea and constipa-
tion. It is a powerful balancer and an
incredible centering food.
Umeboshi plums and umeboshi
extract are often used as is but there
are other uses too, such as in using
them to make teas. One can make a
tea from umeboshi extract that is good
for canker or cold sores, dysentery,
acute intestinal, or stomach pain. One
can make an umeboshi tea by placing

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