To explain the ingredients used in recipes, here is an article on umeboshi. Umeboshi is the japanese word for salted plum. Besides their dramatic flavor, Japanese pickled plums have remarkable medicinal qualities.
Their powerful acidity has a paradoxical alkalinizing effect on the body, neutralizing fatigue, stimulating the digestion, and promoting the elimination of toxins. This is the Far Eastern equivalent to both aspirin and apple; not only is it a potent hangover remedy for mornings after; more than that, an umeboshi a day is regarded as one of the best preventive medicines available.
Like many of Japan’s ancient medicinal foods, the origin of the pickled plum is obscure. One theory traces it to China, where a dried smoked plum, or ubai, was discovered in a tomb built over two thousand years ago.
The ubai is one of China’s oldest medicines and is still used for a variety of medical purposes such as counteracting nausea, reducing fevers, and controlling coughs. The oldest Japanese record of pickled plums being used as a medicine is in a medical text written about one thousand years ago. Umeboshi were used to prevent fatigue, purify water, rid the body of toxins, and cure specific diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, and food poisoning. Slowly, extensive folklore developed about umeboshi’s ability to prevent and cure certain diseases.
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. The plum inserted into the vagina was also used as a contraceptive.
A good recipe against cold and diarrea :
take 2 umeboshi, 1 tea spoon of grated ginger, 1 table spoon of natural soy sauce and cooked this together. Afterwards add some cold water with kuzu or arrowroot, put it on a small fire till it gets transparent.
You kan find umeboshi in your health food store or in your Asian supermarket.