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Sogenji monastery

梅干 Umeboshi

They appear on the breakfast table, or made into a Baito tea, served during Osesshins early morning in the zendo. Quite salty and acid, yet because of their medicinal effects on the body, Umeboshi have been used in Zen monasteries in Japan to support a fatigued body and stimulate digestion. Their alkalizing effect has been valued in Chinese medicine as well. The Japanese plum, close to the apricot family, can be seen here on one of Sogenji´s trees. It is picked when it is still green and unripe, pickled in salt with shizo leaves, which gives the Umeboshi the red colour. Three days and nights out in the summer sun supports its conservation. The oldest Japanese record of pickled plums being used as a medicine is in a medical text written about one thousand years ago. During Japan's furious samurai period, which lasted through most of the Middle Ages, the pickled plum was the soldier's most important field ration. It was used to flavor foods such as rice and vegetables, and its high acidity made it an excellent water and food purifier, as well as an effective antidote for battle fatigue.

Next to the Ume tree…..



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