In love... with Kuzu!

Kuzu?? What's that? Let's explore this totally awesome root!
I first heard about kuzu at the Kushi Institute. But I actually realized I first  heard about kuzu from living in NC, because the powdered starch comes from the kudzu root that grows wild all over the South. When they brought it over from Japan, they considered it an obnoxious weed, and it got a bad rap. This crazy root takes down power lines and crumbles concrete!! Wow! Think about that kind of strengthening energy and what it could do for our bodies! Well, apparently, it can do A LOT for our bodies! Not only is it a COMPLEX carbohydrate (which helps hypoglycemia), but it also can be made for all kinds of things like gravies, sauces, drinks, anything that needs a thickening agent that is way healthier than corn starch. Oh and to all my party animals! Did I mention that it is probably the best hangover remedy out there? And better still, if you're looking for a remedy to help curb your cravings for alcohol, kuzu will be your new friend. It strengthens digestion and depending on which remedy you make, it will either neutralize acidity in the body or it will relax and calm. So awesome!

"Kuzu root is used in two ways: as powdered starch and as whole dried root. Kuzu starch remedies can be used to treat minor indigestion; some experts use it to treat colds and minor aches and pains as well (eating lots of foods made with kuzu starch can have the same effects and is considered good preventive medicine). Teas can be used when a different type of medicine is needed: for chronic headaches, stiff shoulders, colitis, sinus troubles, tonsillitis, respiratory ailments, hangovers, allergies (especially hay fever), bronchial asthma, and skin rashes. 

In his book Healing Ourselves (Avon Books, 1973), holistic health practitioner Naboru Muramoto recommends a drink called kuzu cream (see recipe) for colds, general body pains, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Kuzu cream is also recommended for neutralizing stomach acidity and for relaxing tight muscles. When made with the addition of ginger juice and minced umeboshi (salt-pickled plum), the drink is especially potent. The ginger aids digestion and circulation while the salt plum neutralizes lactic acid and eliminates it from the body. 

Kuzu cream and other remedies are made using kuzu root starch while medicinal kuzu teas are usually made using pieces of the whole kuzu root, which contains more water-soluble medicinal flavonoids, some of which are lost during starch production. Kuzu root tea (kakkon) is found in herbal shops and some natural foods stores and frequently contains several other medicinal herbs including ginger, licorice, and cinnamon. 

Stomach-Settling Kuzu Cream 

Makes 1 cup 

This rejuvenating tonic is most effective when taken about one hour before meals (preferably in the morning when the stomach is empty). This recipe makes a thick, pudding-like cream. If you'd prefer to make a thinner drink, reduce the amount of kuzu to one rounded teaspoon. 

1 1/2 tablespoons Mitoku Akizuki Kuzu
1 umeboshi plum, pitted and minced, or 1 teaspoon umeboshi paste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger juice (finely grate ginger root and squeeze to extract juice) or use a pinch Mitoku Dried Ginger Root Powder
1/2-1 teaspoon Mitoku Johsen Shoyu (optional)

In a small enamel or nonmetallic saucepan, thoroughly dissolve kuzu starch in 1 cup cold water. Add umeboshi and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. As soon as the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stir constantly until kuzu thickens and becomes translucent. Gently simmer 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add ginger juice and, if desired, shoyu to taste. 

Apple-Kuzu Drink

Serves 1 

For a quick pick-me-up or for treating small children, good tasting kuzu beverages are ideal. In his book Macrobiotic Home Remedies, macrobiotic teacher Michio Kushi recommends Apple-Kuzu Drink for constipation, fever and to stimulate appetite. Apple-Kuzu drink's soothing effect is also used to calm down hyperactive children. When making this tonic for young children, replace 1/2 cup of the apple juice with water. 

1 cup apple juice
small pinch Masu 100% Sea Water Sea Salt (optional)
1 rounded teaspoon Mitoku Akizuki Kuzu (crush chunks with back of spoon before measuring)
1-2 tablespoons cold water for dissolving kuzu

Heat the apple juice and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat. Thoroughly dissolve the kuzu in water, add it to the juice while stirring, then return the pot to the burner. Stir constantly until kuzu thickens and becomes translucent. Simmer a minute more, then remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving." 

-Quote from Mitoku  

If you haven't gotten a bag of kuzu, go get you some! It will look funny to cops and the TSA because it's just white powder, but I promise I haven't gotten in trouble for it yet, and neither will you. But if I get a call really late at night because they found your kuzu, I'll be happy to explain. ;)

Well that's all for this post.. wishing you all Happy bellies! It's time for me and my kuzu to cuddle up by the fire!