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Health Benefits Of Ume (Japanese Plum)

Updated on October 18, 2015
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I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

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Ume Blossoms

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What Is Ume

This is a strange-sounding word, “ume”. Yes indeed as it is Japanese for a special type of fruit. Ume is Japanese plum. Ume has lots of health benefits. The Japanese strongly believe in the health benefits of Ume that there is a popular Japanese saying “that an ume a day keeps 100 illnesses away”! Ume is also known as the “blue diamond of fruits”. In almost every Japanese household, there will be ume, especially umeboshi. Umeboshi is Japanese pickled plums or dried plums. Ume contains more citric acid, calcium, iron and phosphorus and twice as much proteins than many other fruits. Ume is also known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Ume in dried or pickled form has been consumed for centuries in Asian countries, especially in China, Korea and Japan. The dried plums are used as condiments for food. They are also very popular as light titbits. Refreshing drinks are made with the addition of the dried plums, or even with dried plums alone. The ume plum is actually closely related to the apricot family. The Japanese ume is bigger, rounder and richer in nutrients compared with the Chinese and Taiwanese varieties.

Ume Fruits

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Uses Of Umeboshi

The salty and sour properties of umeboshi blend very well with rice dishes. The Japanese traditionally put one umeboshi on the center of the cooked rice to resemble the Japanese flag! Umeboshi is an effective food alkalizer because it contains citric acid. Umeboshi plums are popular companions with green tea. They are added to the green tea and brewed together, resulting in a very pleasant aromatic taste. Umeboshi plums are also used as substitutes for salt when cooking dishes. Umeboshi is a popular titbit on its own. They have very high contents of iron, thiamine and riboflavin. Iron aids in haemoglobin production, stress reduction and improving immune system. Thiamine is essential for the nervous system, metabolism and digestion. While riboflavin aids in formation of antibodies and cortisol production. Cortisol prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

Umeboshi On Top Of Rice

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Mumefural: Concentrated Extract From Ume

Mumefural is a super-concentrated extract from the ume fruits. The raw ume however, does not contain this mumefural substance. Mumefural is produced when the ume fruits are being processed. The ume are boiled, mashed and filtered over low heat for a number of days. Then natural citric acid is added to bind with the natural sugar of the ume fruits, to produce the super-concentrated extract called mumefural. The end product is so densely concentrated that it takes over 20 pounds of whole ume fruits to produce just seven ounces of mumefural. Mumefural is found to be over 50 times stronger than the regular mashed ume. They are usually encapsulated into softgels and sold as nutritional health supplements.

Another method of extraction is making ume into small compressed balls, called plum balls. The balls are made from boiling ume fruits until they form into thick syrup that yields a concentrated extract 30 times stronger than the fruits themselves. It is mixed with wild Japanese mountain yam called jinenjo which is a digestive aid to increase the potency of the plum balls. Twenty-five grams of fresh ume fruit makes 2 plum balls.

Six Main Health Benefits Of Ume

Ume fruits have high vitamin A content; also vitamins B1 and B2, and have more protein than other fruits. Generally, consuming ume products helps maintain healthy body weight, improves blood circulation, regulates blood pressure, promotes absorption of calcium and iron, reduces risks in diabetes and gout.

Below are the 6 main health benefits of Ume.

  1. Relieving stiff neck, body ache and muscle pain. Body acidic build-up can cause aches and body pain, irritability, weight gain and premature aging. Ume is high in alkaline. It is actually referred to as “king of alkaline fruits”. It breaks down and neutralize lactic acid and other harmful acids to prevent them from accumulating in the body, maintain a healthy pH value at all times.
  2. Relieving indigestion, bloatedness and constipation. The rich organic acids in ume improve breakdown of foods in the stomach and speed up intestinal peristalsis.
  3. Preventing tiredness and sleepiness. Some people often feel sleepy after eating a good lunch. This is usually due to tiredness and fatigue. Ume is rich in organic citric and malic acids which serve as fuel to pep up the TCA cycle or Kreb’s cycle increasing the energy level, making the person more energetic.
  4. Preventing flu, cold and other infections. Ume acts as a natural antibiotic to strengthen the body defence mechanism against harmful bacteria. With a strong immune system, the body is able to withstand viral and bacterial attacks even from those sick people.
  5. Effective antidote for hangovers. Suffering from hangovers due to over indulgence? Ume helps improve liver functions, strengthening the detoxification process; thus improving the metabolism.
  6. Relieving diarrhoea and vomiting. Food poisoning is the main cause of diarrhoea and vomiting. Ume has anti-microbial properties which will kill the harmful bacteria that cause these symptoms.

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    • Sara Au Yeong profile image

      Sara Au Yeong 

      15 months ago

      This is a good reminder for me to sprinkle some ume flakes into my food. Thank you, Justin!

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      2 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks Kathryn, for your encouraging message. And thanks for reading my hub.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 

      2 years ago from LA

      Here is a very worthwhile article. Thank You. I use Ume for every single ailment I have .. and thanks to Ume, I have very few. Everyone should print this and put it on their fridge. Ume has become expensive at Health food stores, including Whole Foods, but worth it.

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