Umeboshi: An Ancient Power Food Part 2

Ten ways to use these amazing pickled plums

One of the most alkalizing foods, umeboshi are beneficial for many different conditions, including various gastrointestinal disorders, nausea, and vomiting.

Besides the pickled whole plums, you can use umeboshi paste or vinegar.

1. Salad Dressings

Add finely diced umeboshi to your favorite salad dressings for a subtle sharpness and some alkalizing power. Umeboshi paste or vinegar can also be mixed with your favorite dressing.

One of my favorite salad dressings is half a teaspoon of organic olive oil and a few drops of umeboshi plum vinegar, sometimes with a sprinkle of lightly toasted white sesame seeds and/or some finely chopped scallions.

If you prefer a distinct nutty flavor, a tablespoon of tahini mixed with some water and a few drops of the umeboshi vinegar is delicious on fresh summer vegetables.

2. Dips and Sauces

Umeboshi also adds a healthy tartness to dipping sauces. A simple dipping sauce for vegetable nabe (hot pot) or blanched vegetables is as follows:

Plain filtered water (or use the water from the cooked vegetables), umeboshi paste, grated ginger, and miso or shoyu. Mix all ingredients together and add some finely cut toasted nori seaweed if you desire.

3. Umeboshi Plum Rice Balls

Umeboshi rice balls or onigiri are easy to make and pack when you are traveling or out and about all day. All you need is cooked brown rice, umeboshi plums or paste, and nori seaweed.

Fold a small handful of rice around a whole umeboshi plum or a dollop of paste, close the ball, and then wrap the rice balls in a nori sheet.

4. Rice or Millet Congee

This recipe makes a great home remedy if you have a cold.

Pressure-cook some brown rice or millet with a lot of water and a one-inch strip of kombu seaweed to make porridge or congee.

Serve the congee warm with one finely chopped umeboshi plum. This is so delicious that often I don’t wait for a cold to eat it.

Because umeboshi is very salty and hence extremely yang (warming), it is best to eat only one or two plums a day, depending on your condition. If you have a yin condition (are easily and often chilled) and do not eat a lot of yang foods like meats, you may be able to eat two small plums a day for a few days. The rule of thumb is to eat in moderation because eating too much may tip the balance and make you become too yang.

5. Umeboshi Corn-on-the-Cob

This is a must if you are health conscious and not the congee type of person.

Simply spread some umeboshi plum paste or rub some plum bits on an ear of corn. The taste is so delicious that once I tried this, I’ve never gone back to butter for corn-on-the-cob.

6. Travel Sickness Remedy

Umeboshi are my favorite travel first-aid items, because they are great for nausea or motion sickness. Umeboshi are also good for mild cases of food poisoning.

Bring a few plums on your next trip and use them sparingly when you start to experience nausea, abdominal discomfort, or even diarrhea. You don’t need to eat the whole plum. Start with a small piece and use a little spoon or clean fingers to break off a small piece each time. Because the plums are so potent, a little goes a long way.

You do not have to bring a whole packet of umeboshi unless you are going away for a few months. I usually bring about two to three plums for a two-week trip.

7. Morning Sickness

Since it eases nausea, the umeboshi plum is also effective for morning sickness experienced by expecting mothers. Use sparingly and put a small piece in your mouth each time.

8. Hangover Home Remedy

Simply chew a few small pieces of the umeboshi or put a whole plum in a cup, mash with a spoon, add some warm water or bancha tea, and drink.

9. Umeboshi Shoyu Kuzu Drink

This recipe takes about five minutes to make and is probably one of the most popular macrobiotic remedies. It is said to help ease over 40 health conditions, including allergies, blood disorders, hypoglycemia, fatigue, insomnia, yin-type constipation, and yin-type diarrhea. You can also use it for a hangover.

Ingredients: one teaspoon kuzu starch, one umeboshi plum, and a few drops natural soy sauce or tamari sauce.

Kuzu starch is a made from the root of the kuzu plant and has been highly sought after in China and Japan since ancient times for its medicinal properties.

Dissolve the kuzu starch in some cool water and boil it with a cup of water. Add the umeboshi and a few drops of shoyu. Drink hot.

10. Cleansing Ume Carrot Daikon Drink

This homemade remedy helps dissolve the solidified fat deposits and mucus in our bodies—making it an excellent natural, cleansing regime.

You only need to use half an umeboshi plum. The carrot and daikon act as cleansers, while the salty umeboshi plum, being more yang, helps to balance the yin effects of the remedy—helping your body restore its strength and allowing you to have this concoction for a longer period.

For the full recipe the details of this recipe visit:

Buying Tips

Many commercially made umeboshi are laced with sugar, MSG, preservatives, and other unnatural flavorings. While these commercial plums may taste nice and sweet, their healing properties are not as strong as the umeboshi made using traditional methods.

When using umeboshi as a home remedy, it is best to use the whole plums and preferably organic umeboshi, which you can buy online or from health food stores.

Note: These natural food remedies are for maintaining your health and wellness. They are not meant to replace any medical treatment. If you have a diagnosed condition, or are in doubt, you should always seek medical advice.

Dr. Margaret Trey has a doctorate in counseling from The University of South Australia. Also trained in oriental medicine, shiatsu, and macrobiotics, Dr. Trey is a wellness advocate, counselor, and writer. Now based in New York, Dr. Trey continues researching on the effects of meditation.