How to use Umeboshi

Posted by Shima Shimizu on

 Salt-Pickled Umeboshi Plums with Shiso

The first time I truly witnessed the power of umeboshi plums was when I was 15 years old. I was fairly new to macrobiotics and often witnessed my mother, who was battling a Stage IV cancer use them to prepare home remedies; medicinal drinks that fight infections, alkalize the blood and heal the cells. After 6 months of practicing macrobiotics, my mother’s cancer stopped spreading and all of my allergies went away.

But the most immediate power of umeboshi plums, praised for their many healing properties, including combating systematic toxicity, I witnessed at a house party when I was 17 years old. A young guy, who we’ll call Jack mixed too many alcoholic drinks and was in a serious trouble. He was past the point of convulsions and his body was going into a shock. Minutes before we were to call an ambulance, a macrobiotic teacher who also happened to be at the party pulled out an umeboshi plum from his pocket and with a little bit of manoeuvring we were able to get Jack to swallow it. Literally within minutes, Jack’s spasms stopped and nausea receded shortly after to the point he was able to go to asleep. I was simply blown away by the power of umeboshi - one magically alkaline plum that literally saves lives!

Over the years I have consumed umeboshi plums in small amounts, since they are quite salty and sour. A whole plum, is too much for the body, but in small amounts umeboshi has been like “an apple a day” for me and my family.

Since I arrived to Hong Kong, I have used Clearspring’s umeboshi plums for preparing home remedies and find them not only great tasting but also of excellent quality. Packaged in a glass jar, which I prefer over plastic, and packed with shiso leaves which I use for making sauces, Clearsping’s umeboshi plums deliver with each healthy bite.

Umeboshi’s antibacterial effects proved very useful during the epidemics of cholera of the nineteenth century in Japan.

In recent weeks of the coronavirus looming over the population of Hong Kong, and now other places in the world, I have been strongly recommending to my clients, and especially for those who travel, to bring umeboshi plums with them as a protection agent against the virus. Specifically, I have instructed them to prepare a medicinal drink called “Ume-Sho-Bancha” (recipe below).


This drink is used to strengthen and promote digestion, boost immunity and restore energy.

  1. Prepare Kukicha Tea: bring 3 tsp. Kukicha (loose Twig Tea) and 3 C filtered water to a gentle boil. Simmer covered for 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  2. In an empty teacup add pulp of ½ to 1 organic umeboshi plum that has been chopped or ground to a paste.
  3. Add several drops of organic, alcohol, and sugar-free Shoyu (soy sauce) and stir gently.
  4. Pour 1C of hot Kukicha over umeboshi and shoyu.
  5. Drink while hot.

Suggestions for use: 1 cup, 1 hour after breakfast, daily, for 7 days or during the duration of the trip.


Umeboshi Paste by Clearspring

If there is one thing these days you should not forget to take with you when you leave the house (and no it’s not your cell phone) it’s a paste made of umeboshi plums. Super concentrated, a small amount, as little as ¼ to ½ teaspoon of umeboshi paste simply dissolved in a cup of little hot water can do wonders for headaches, stomach aches, nausea, cramps, fatigue, and boosting immunity.

Especially if you are traveling, umeboshi paste should be your trusted travelling companion, within hands reach at all times. Think of it as an antibiotic with superpowers. I usually bring it in a little glass jar and all I need to do is ask for a little hot water and I am ready to go.

I have found Clearspring umeboshi paste become my trusted alkaline sidekick. Although I prefer plums, since they are easier to gage, amount wise, paste is irreplaceable when making medicinal drinks on the go or bringing out the flavours of the dishes I am preparing. Most recently I’ve used it, in a small amount, in a tomato based pasta sauce to cut down on tomato acidity and it did wonders for the flavour as well. It actually made the sauce taste sweater. Small amount of umeboshi paste goes a long way, so think ½ pinkie nail size rather than a thumb nail. In any case, Clearspring delivers again and considering they use all organic ingredients and not just any salt but sea salt, I am stocking up!

Ume Plum Seasoning (Umeboshi Vinegar) by Clearspring

I use umeboshi vinegar on daily basis, in seasoning salads, broths, and even boiled veggies. The taste is sour-salty but when sprinkled on boiled vegies it brings out the sweetness. Most recently I used it on boiled cauliflower and just loved it. Also, when making pickles and my famous coleslaw, umeboshi is my go-to seasoning. I usually add a little brown rice vinegar and the two make a dashing couple.

Clearspring’s umeboshi vinegar hasn’t let me down yet and I’ve gone through several over the last few months. Every bottle had the same colour, texture and it tasted the same. The quality is undeniable and the only thing I wish is that Clearspring offered it in a larger bottle. The current size is great for occasional use and traveling but for daily consumption a little inconvenient – unless, of course, you live two blocks from FoodCraft! Then, well then you have nothing to worry about.

Umeboshi Shiso Vinegar by Clearspring

Umeboshi vinegar has become one of the essential ingredients I use to season variety of dishes, but it isn’t until recently I discovered the Ume Shiso Vinegar. Made with an addition of shiso leaves, which are usually added to brine and umeboshi during the pickling process, shiso gives the predominantly sour umeboshi vinegar and extra kick. An extra kick of salty and tanginess, that is. I have found the combination great for pickling and making salad dressings since you really don’t really need to add extra sea salt.

I’ve put Clearspring’s Ume Shiso Vinegar on the gift list for my mother and macrobiotic friends back home, in the U.S. Can’t wait to try all the new dishes we will make with it!



Macrobiotic Workshops with Srdjan “Serg” Dobic

Serg has 3 levels of workshops lined up for October and November 2019. Sign up for the classes from the links bellow!


Workshop Sign Up Dates:


Srdjan “Serg” Dobic 

 Macrobiotic Hong Kong

Srdjan “Serg” Dobic is a macrobiotic nutrition and lifestyle counselor. Implementing the principals of macrobiotic philosophy, diet and lifestyle, Serg specializes in working with clients to enhance vitality and improve specific health conditions such as stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue, digestion and respiratory issues.


For a 15 minute complimentary consultation and to schedule a full consultation with Serg, please send email to or Call / WhatsApp: +852 6112 4183

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