Hechima 糸瓜

HECHIMA GOURD 糸瓜

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The Luffah or Hechima plant produces a large gourd which is dried and then used to make the hard luffah sponge which is commonly known in the west for exfoliating the skin while bathing.

Together with bitter melon, it is also a popular plant to grow outside of a building window during the hot Japanese summer, in order to create natural sun shades to block out the direct sunlight and reduce the amount of heat radiating into a building. The gourds hang downwards and create a "cool as cucumber" effect.



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In Japan, Luffah is known as Hechima and is cultivated during the hot summer months all over the country . It is commonly used as a green vegetable in the traditional dishes of Nansei Islands and Kyushu while the other regions of Japan have been growing it predominantly to make skin care such as sponges, soap, shampoo and especially a skin care water extracted from the roots called hechima lotion. When the gourd is ripe the juice from the roots and stems are siphoned off into bottles to make the skin care lotion. Hechima lotion is made in the tradiional way and is time consuming process. It is difficult to obtain as it is only made once a year in October when the gourds are ready and ripe.



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The lotion called hechima water has an earthy aroma and is renowned for moisturising and softening rough skin, for skin lightening, anti-perspirant and astringent. It also has anti inflammatory, anti-allergic bryonolic acid properties.

It is cooling and soothing and is thought to stop sun spots or brown patches on the skin which are caused by the strong sunlight and UV rays in summer.
Therefore it is usually kept in the fridge and patted on the face in summer to avoid a suntan or just to make the skin feel soft and silky. We expect this back in stock by end of October 2016.
Natural Japanese Beauty Hechima lotion


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Sakura - Cherry Blossoms

SAKURA  桜 さくら


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Cherry blossom viewing is a compulsory yearly ritual in Japan. The blossoms are everywhere and reach full bloom around the first week in April. There are daily blossom forecasts on all tv channels and newspapers so that people can make the most of the spectacular blossoms. Usually people have a hanami 花見 cherry blossom viewing party, which are held sitting under the cherry trees and is similar to having a picnic, with lots of food and drinks, and singing.









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The cherry trees are lit up and tables are placed to make a hanami party with lots of food and drinks including eating cherry blossom cakes and ice cream.

Spring Equinox Japan

March 20 or 21 is Shunbun no Hi, or Vernal Equinox Day,



A day when the sun crosses the equator making night and day equal in length. It's a national holiday in Japan, a day to commune with nature and to show our affection for all living things.


The seven-day period starting three days before Vernal Equinox Day and ending three days after is called O
higan. Higan, which also occurs around Autumnal Equinox Day, is - along with New Year and the O bon festival in the summer - a time when we pay our respects to ancestors. Visits are made to the family grave, cleaning it and offering flowers and incense to console ancestral spirits.



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The holiday was originally a time to visit loved ones' grave sites and pay homage to the ancestors. The Japanese would also take the time to renew their lives by cleaning their homes and making life changes such as starting or finishing school or a new hobby. Today Shunbun no Hi is a national holiday and the majority of Japanese will have the day off work to celebrate with their families. Many people will return to their homes they originally come from to spend the day with their families. The day is celebrated to bring in the spring season and to appreciate the nature blooming after a long winter. Some people will still visit their loved ones' grave sites, sweep the gravestone clear of debris, and often leave offerings of food or fresh cut flowers. The holiday is also special to farmers and agriculturalists as a day to pray for good luck and fortune for the crops they may grow in the upcoming season.



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Following Vernal Equinox Day, days gradually get longer and nights shorter. There's an old saying that the chill of winter finally disappears after Shunbun no Hi, and temperatures do get higher from around this time. Cherry blossoms - the most popular symbol of spring in Japan - begin to bloom, first in the south and then in the colder parts of the country in the north.

Japanese Folklore Remedies

TRADITIONAL JAPANESE REMEDIES


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CHILLI PEPPER FOOT BATH - Togarashi - for Cold Feet

Togarashi or red chilli peppers can be used to warm up your feet and stimulate circulation.

  • Add hot water to a bowl or foot bath and add some dried red chilli peppers to it.
  • Sit and soak your feet in the water for about 10 mins.
  • Pat dry with a towel, and moisturise.
  • Also chilli peppers are used to line the shoes in winter


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GINGER TEA - Shoga no yu for - Colds, Flu, Arthritis, Nausea, and General Health

  • Grate half a teaspoonful of fresh ginger root into a cup.
  • Add boiling water and some honey if desired.
  • Wait until ginger sinks to bottom of cup, then drink.
  • Can drink this concoction daily.

In the traditional remedy for shoga no yu, the thickener which is called kuzu - a type of arrowroot starch - is used to make a more glutinous tea, and gives the feeling of having a more warming effect on the stomach. Cornstarch could be used as a substitute.


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LEEK WRAP - Negi - Sore Throat

Wrap a piece of raw leek loosely in a muslin cloth and tie up the cloth like a scarf so that the leek part is on the front of the neck. Wear overnight for best relief.


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YUZU PEEL BATH - For relaxing - Yuzu no Kawa

Add the peeled strips of Yuzu fruit to the bathwater when you start to run the bath. Leave in the bath while you bathe. Grapefruit or tangerines can be used if you can't find Yuzu. All citrus fruits aromas have a calming effect on the senses. It is the Japanese custom to wash yourself clean with soap and water, or shower before you get into the bath, as baths are thought as a place for relaxing, and not for washing off the dirt.


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Nightingale Droppings - Uguisu no Fun

Mixed with water and used as a face mask for SKIN CARE skin lightening, dark spot reducing and general beautifying treatment.

NOTE Uguisu no fun is not readily available due to changes in the bird laws of Japan in 2012. Which affect the Japanese nightingale or uguisu


Disclaimer.

These recipes are based on traditional Japanese folklore remedies for everyday ailments and are for your interest only and are not medical claims. If you would like to try them do not use on small children or frail or elderly people. We bear no responsibility for their use.









These pages and contents are © Copyright 20016 © Natural Japanese Beauty, Japan.

Rice Bran Cleansing Oil

Rice Bran Cleansing Oil -

Uses rice bran for cleansing while nourishing your skin.

Rice Bran Oil does not dry out your complexion but leaves it feeling cleansed and smooth.

Removes all make-up including dark eye make-up without the need for harsh rubbing or abrasiveness.