HAWAI’I-GROWN MEDICINAL WONDER PLANT: AN IN-DEPTH STUDY OF UKON (PART I)
“Good medicine is bitter” — Aphorism
From Seimei no Hiyaku, Haru Ukon no Kiseki (“Life’s Secret Medicine — The Miracle of Haru Ukon”) by medicinal-plant researcher Hisashi Ozaki:
“Words cannot describe the sheer scale of the haru ukon farm I visited. The size of the field was nothing short of amazing. But it wasn’t just the size of the field — the vigorous growth of the haru ukon leaves was equally amazing. Normally, ukon grows to a height of 1-1.5 m, but by Aug. and Sept. in Hawai’i, these haru ukon plants were already easily taller than I was! A fully grown adult stepping into the garden would simply disappear among the leaves.
“Ideal ukon-growing conditions are said to be a location blessed with good drainage, fertile soil loaded with organic matter, and strong, direct sunlight. The haru ukon plants gorge themselves on the rich nutrients in the fertile soil and spread out their giant leaves to soak up the radiant Hawaiian sunlight. I felt a rush of excitement as I wondered how much energy must be stored away in those leaves and branches.”
Needless to say, an immense amount of hard work and struggle went into getting the ukon plants to grow so well. Haru ukon is not an easy plant to grow, even in Hawai’i’s blessed natural environment. Not only had its cultivation long been a closely guarded secret, but Mamoru Yamazaki of the Honbushin International Center had no prior experience when he got into the business. In high school, he studied mechanical engineering, and had worked designing cranes and grinding machines for most of his life before turning to farming.
The next few issues will describe Yamazaki’s earnest efforts to grow this wonder plant, as well as share culinary and medicinal practices that utilize ukon. Its homemade medicine and healthy foods will help you regain your energy.
HOW TO USE UKON: UKON TEA
If you have fresh ukon, peel the skin from 20 g of ukon, then cut the ukon into 1-cm-thick slices. Places slices in 1 liter of water and heat over a low flame until it begins to boil. Continue to simmer the liquid until it turns the color of beer.
If you are using dried ukon, boil about 20 g in 3 liters of water. As with fresh ukon, simmer until the liquid becomes the color of beer.
(Translated by Roy Mashima)
(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)