The prunum mume, also called the Japanese plum, is a fruit tree halfway between the plum tree and the apricot tree. The plant is native to China and produces fruits that, in shape and appearance, remind of an apricot. The fruits are dried and pickled for several months together with shiso leaves, or Laminaria Purpurea, which gives to the fruits their typical reddish color. After this process the fruits take the name of umeboshi plums. The umeboshi plums are the most common form with which people take the Japanese plum that, based on scientific research, proves to be an interesting source of health.
Umeboshi plums, properties
The umeboshi plums are antioxidant and support the immune system, therefore they help the body counteract stress and fatigue and are anticancer. In fact, some compounds extracted from umeboshi plums have shown an anti neoplastic action in case of cancer of the colon, liver, pancreas and of the skin (Okada et al, World J Gastroeneterol, 2008 - Mori et al, World J Gastroeneterol, 2007). Then, according to scientific research, these fruits are also able to exert a protective action against the virus of influenza (flu) A (Yingsakmongkon et al, Bio Pharm Bull, Mar 2008). Not only that, umeboshi plums are also a source of fiber, thus improving intestinal transit, and, thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial function, they help counteract gastritis (Maekita et al, World j Gastroenterol, 2015). The umeboshi plums also have anti-allergic properties since they act by inhibiting the action of some antibodies, called immunoglobulins E. Immunoglobulins E stimulate the release of histamine, a substance that, when in excess, plays a key role in classic allergy symptoms such as rhinitis and asthma (Kono et al, Sci Rep, 2018). For this reason, the inhibition of immunoglobulins E is linked also to an inhibition of histamine.
Umeboshi plums, where to find and how to take them
The umeboshi plums can be bought in specialized shops or online, whole or in the form of purée. You can use umeboshi plums to prepare an herbal tea. In this case, bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and leave to brew an umeboshi plum for 10 minutes. After this time, filter and drink during the day this energizing tea, very helpful for the immune system. Alternatively, the umeboshi plum puree or the whole fruit cut into small pieces can be used instead of salt to flavor sauces or to season vegetables and salads.