Macrobiotic glossary

Macrobiotic glossary

Agar-Agar
Agar Agar is a strong natural jelling agent made from red seaweed. It is Soothing to the digestive tract, aids regularity and also good for constipation.
Brown Rice
Every rice seed has a structure that is formed of a stiff outer layer called ‘husk’, an inner brown layer that is called bran and a white colored seed under the bran. The husk is always removed from both white and brown rice and it is the inner bran layer that is either retained fully or partially removed, that gives rice the brownish color. Brown rice is rice which has the brownish bran layer clinging to the seed. Some types of brown rice have the entire bran layer retained (fully unpolished) and the rice in this case is very brown. It is widely believed that brown rice helps control blood pressure and also reduces wide fluctuations in blood sugar. The high fiber content of brown rice has a good effect on controlling cholestrol and cholestrol control is of prime importance in keeping away heart disease.
Buckwheat
Buckwheat is actually the fruit of a plant related to sorrel and rhubarb. It is high in vitamins E and C as well as protein. Compared to other “grains,” buckwheat is a source of quality protein since it contains eight essential amino acids — proteins that your body needs to help repair tissue and build new cells. It is also a powerful source of minerals — especially magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and promote healthy blood pressure.
Burdock
The burdock plant’s long, slender taproot has a pleasant, crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Highly regarded by ancient practitioners of Oriental medicine, burdock was thought of as a strengthening food-medicine, and was commonly eaten as a blood purifier. It was prescribed to hasten recovery from sickness as well as for relief from arthritis and diseases of the skin. In addition to its healing qualities, burdock is a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, folacin, and fiber. It is often recommended as part of a diet to counter the damaging effects of excessive sugar and drug use.
Daikon
A long, white radish. Besides making a delicious side dish, daikon is a specific aid in dissolving fat and mucus deposits that have accumulated as a result of past animal food in take. Grated daikon aids in the digestion of oily foods.
Gomashio
A condiment made from roasted, ground sesame seeds and sea salt. Gomashio is a rich source of minerals and whole oil and can be sprinkled lightly on rice and other grains. Gomashio neutralises acitities in the blood, strengthens the nervous system, augments natural inmunity and balances yin and yang elements in the body. It can be used for stomach and intestinal pains, irregular menstruation. It favours the production of breast milk and eye problems. When used daily it strengthens our organism and prevents diseases.
Hijiki Seaweed
A dark brown sea-vegetable that turms black when dried. It has a wiry consistency, may be strong-tasting. Of all the sea vegetables, hijiki is the richest in minerals and it has an abundance of trace elements. It is extremely high in calcium (gram for gram, about 14 times more than milk). In addition, hijiki is rich in iron as well as protein.
Kanten
Agar agar, a jelly-like substance made from tengusa, a seaweed. It is a vegetable product used as a gelling agent or thickener.
Kukicha-Tea
Kukicha is the stem and yang. It is also known as three years tea. This tea has six times more calcium than cows milk and 2 1/2 times more vitamin C than oranges. It helps to make the blood more alkaline. When we are fatigued it will refreshen and strengthen us. It is beneficial for people suffering from bladder infection, heart diseases and indigestion. It is a good healthy drink for everybody including children. It also helps digestion.
Kombu
A wide, dark green sea-vegetable that grows in deep ocean water, kombu is a natural flavor enhancer and has the ability to soften other foods that are cooked with it. For example, kombu contains enzymes that help to break down sugars in beans increasing their digestability. High in vitamins A and C, kombu also acts as an antidote to excess sodium consumption and it is known to reduce blood cholesterol and hypertension.
Kuzu
A white starch made from the root of the wild kuzu plants. The starch that makes kuzu an outstanding jelling and thickening agent in cooking is partly responsible for its medicinal action. kuzu also contains a very high concentration of flavonoids, which are responsible for its strong medicinal effect on the digestive and circulatory systems. Flavonoids, which occur naturally in kuzu and other plants, are fairly well known as antioxidants. However, they also have the ability to inhibit the contraction of smooth muscle tissue, thereby increasing blood flow and relieving cramping in the intestines.
Lotus Root
The root and seeds of a water lily which is brown-skinned with a hollow, chambered with white inside. Very good for the respiratory organs.
Mirin
A sweet liquid flavoring made from distilled spirits and glutinous rice on which a mold has developed. used for its sweetness, not for its alcoholic content though genuine mirin is found in the liquor department. Mirin masks strong fish and meat odors and imparts a sheen to food. In the Edo period, Mirin was drunk as a sweet sake. Otoso, traditionally drunk on Japanese New Year was made by soaking a spice mixture in mirin. Mirin is used to add a bright touch to broiled fish or to erase the smell of it. A small amount is often used instead of sugar and soy sauce.
Miso
Miso is made from soya beans. It is a product that has been fermented and aged. It has living enzymes that aids our digestive process. It provides a nutritional balance between carbohydrates, essential oils, vitamins, minerals and proteins. It has 11 times more protein than cows milk.Twice as much protein as meat or fish. Its valuable enzymes helps our intestinal flora to digest food.Soya beans are rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, other minerals and lecithin. When we are suffering from fatigue and tiredness it helps us relieve these conditions. It helps to dissolve cholesterol in the blood. Benefits people with high blood pressure and allergies.
Mu 16 Herb Tea
Mu Tea is an ideal, aromatic and caffeine-free blend of 16 mountain grown herbs. The original recipe for this unique and distinctive beverage was created by George Ohsawa, the father of Macrobiotics. It is a balanced tonic that both energizes and soothes the body. It strengthens both the stomach and reproductive organs. Men can reap additional strength and vitality from drinking Mu Tea. (moutan, Japanese parsley root, cnicus, mandarin orange peel, licorice root, atractylis, cypress, cinnamon, hoelen, peach kernel, ginger root, rehmannia, cloves, herbaceous peony root, Japanese ginseng, and coptis.)
Seitan
Wheat gluten cooked in tamari, kombu, and water. Many people use it as a meat substitute. Seitan High in protein.
Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are very rich in lecithin. Lecithin is a fosforous fat that contains nitrogen and helps in the elaboration of sexual hormones. It therefore helps in mantaining the body young. Its an excellent food for the nerves and brain. The brain itself normally contains 28% of lecithin. Numerous people register a lack of this substance. All those suffering from memory loss or who need to do great mental work benefit from eating it daily. It additonally helps those suffering from nervous depression. It contains vitamins F, E, and B, calcium, iron, magnesium, silicon, copper and chrome. It also contains 15 aminoacids.
Shiitake Mushrooms
Fresh shiitake can be used in soup stocks or vegetable dishes, and dried shiitake are used in medicinal preparations. These mushrooms are effective in helping the body to discharge excess salt and animal fats. Amino acid in shiitake helps speed up the processing of cholesterol in the liver.
Tahini
Tahini is a paste that is elaborated from sesame seeds and benefits the digestion of fats and helps aboid accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. It is therefore an important factor against arteriosclerosis, and the accumulation of fat deposits in the organism.
Tempeh
A dish made from split soybeans, water, and a special bacteria, that is allowed to ferment for several hours. Tempeh is eaten in Indonesia and Sir Lanka as a staple food. Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids.
Umeboshi
Umeboshi Paste has a balanced, centering energy that neutralizes extreme foods and conditions. Ume paste aids in digestion, strengthen the blood, and neutralize acidity. Umeboshi Paste has a salty, tangy flavor, combining a sour and salty taste, with a wide range of culinary and medicinal uses.
Wakame
A long thin green sea-vegetable used in making soups, salads and vegetable dishes. High in protein, iron and magnesium, wakame has a sweet taste and delicate texture and has many of the same nutritional benefits of its close relative, kombu. It is especially rich in calcium and contains high levels of vitamins B and C.
Yamaimo
Yamaimo is a variety of yam also known as “mountain yam” and “mountain potato”. Wrapped in a golden to tan-colored skin, rough skinned yam has a white flesh that has a mild flavor. Yamaimo is sticky and becomes gooey when grated. Yamaimo root provides an excellent source of potassium and carbohydrates. It is known to help reduce high blood pressure, regulate digestion, and assist the body in making better use of proteins. It acts as a tonic for general vitality, including male sexual potency.

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