HARAI and Tomorrowleaf

You won’t get many results if you search the word ‘tomorrowleaf’ online.  This term is a direct translation of ashitaba (ashita/tomorrow + ha/ leaf) the common Japanese name for the medicinal herb angelica keisuke.  A member of the carrot family, this plant is native to Japan, and long-esteemed both for its versatility as a food and its medicinal value. 

                Ashitaba is so named because of its very rapid rate of growth.  Pinch off several leaves at the top of the plant’s stem today, and tomorrow you will see new leaves sprouting from the same spot.  Stick the plucked leaves into moist soil, and they will root and grow within just days.  The vigor of this species is truly impressive. 

                Ashitaba grows all over the islands of the Izu archipelago, the volcanic island chain extending south into the Pacific from Tokyo Bay. (In fact, these islands are part of Tokyo prefecture.)  On one of the largest of them, Hachijojima, the villagers use ashitaba as a favorite ingredient in tempura, sauteed vegetables and soups, as well as a preferred substitute for green tea. 

As mentioned, ashitaba also has a reputation as a tonic with multiple medicinal uses.  Chinese texts from the Ming Dynasty mention its healing powers, and the Japanese of the Edo period considered it equal to Korean ginseng in curative benefits. 

                Just one of the interesting characteristics of ashitaba is its ability to clarify oils when added to stews and soups.  Throwing just a few fresh leaves of this herb into a meat or fish broth will cause any residue or froth at the surface to quickly vanish.  This ability of ashitaba to break down fats and oils is why it is so effective as a digestive supplement, where it is considered to be an effective treatment for everything from heartburn and constipation to high blood pressure. 

                Today ashitaba is in high demand in Japan’s nutritional supplement market, but it was the creators of HARAI who discovered yet another valuable property of this versatile plant.  Its highly viscous sap makes it an effective binder for HARAI’s fermented plant extract tablets, which otherwise could not be produced in the same easily-digestible, 100% organic form.

Tomorrowleaf is most assuredly an herb of the future!

The source of organic ashitaba for HARAI. Shiga prefecture, Japan.

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