In his book, “Seimei no Hiyaku, Haru Okon no Kiseki (Life’s Secret Medicine — the Miracle of Haru Ukon),” Hisashi Ozaki wrote, “Ukon soaks up” the energy of the sun’s rays, clean air and fertile soil, and becomes a wonderful medium which transmits this energy to the human body.” By this definition, perhaps no other medicinal plant is as perfect for Hawai‘i as ukon.
This second part of our article describes the past efforts of Honbushin International Center’s Mamoru Yamazaki to grow the wonder plant ukon (turmeric), as well as share culinary and medicinal practices that utilize it. Ukon’s homemade medicine and healthy foods will help you regain your energy.
Reflected former mechanical engineer and first-time farmer Yamazaki, “I brought about five boxes of ukon bulbs to Hawai‘i to begin with. At the time, I had no idea how to grow them, so I tried to learn what I could on my own. I had heard that Mililani was an area with very little rain, so I visited Tottori University to learn how they grew vegetables on sand dunes. Ukon plants grow best with abundant water, and not as well where water is limited, so I decided to concentrate my efforts on improving the soil. Mililani has very poor quality soil.
“Ukon roots rot if the temperature drops below eight degrees Centigrade. They do not fare well in low temperatures, but do very well at hotter temperatures. Ukon is not suited to the climate of mainland Japan.
“After three years of considerable struggle, I finally managed to get the field abloom with pink blossoms. Words can’t express how happy I was. After all, I didn’t even know that ukon had blossoms!” said Mr. Yamazaki, as he recalled his experiences from 1983. His 3.5-5 kg (approximately 7-10 lbs.) bulbs were three times as large as those grown in Okinawa.
HOW TO USE UKON: UKON SAKE (UKON-INFUSED RICE WINE)
Slice 100g of dried ukon and place in 1.8 liters of shochu (Japanese spirits) heated to a temperature of at least 35 degrees Centigrade. Store for one or two months. Drink about two small sakazuki-sized cupfulls (a sakazuki is a small Japanese sake cup) each day.
(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.)