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Konjac plant—How is it used?

What is it?

Konjac is a type of plant belonging to the family of Amorphophallus that can be found in areas of tropical and subtropical locations.  Places such as eastern SE Asia and India in particular. It is known essentially for its corm, a structure looking like some soft of funky tube-like object.  The prize is the root where it is process to be used in food products.

Glucomannan a type of fiber that can be used as thickener compromises 40 percent of the corm. Many health benefits supposedly comes from as it is known for detoxing the body, helps fight against tumors, relieves digestive issues and alleviating joint pain.  It is used in traditional medicine.

Other so call benefits are treatment of weight, helps against elevated cholesterol and constipation.

Uses in China

Konjac was used intensively as a food source during times of famine in such countries like China. It has been recorded in ancient text and chronicles as a source of food.  It was also prescribed as medicine and possibly processed as a paste for the skin or for ingesting.  It was used to treat coughs, asthma and colds.  So how far back in history can the plant be traced?  Apparently 2 thousands years ago, during the Han dynasty.  

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In the countries of Japan and China, it was also used as mentioned earlier as a food source.  It was consume as a form of Jelly or made into flour. 
   
In parts of China such as Sichuan it was used sometimes as a substitute for tofu.  It actually called konjac tofu. 

Uses in Japan

The dietary fibers of the Konjac Yam can also be used as a type of healthy noodle called shirataki or can made into rice.  It is flavorless but can easily absorb other flavors.  In other areas other than food, you will find cleaning products made out of the plant.  For example in Japan you can purchase baby sponges that are made out of Konjac.  Apparently it has been used as a sponge for over a hundred years.  What is great is that it is 100 percent biodegradable and natural.  It is also GMO and Fragrance free.

Issues?

Glucomannan gives the feeling of fullness when consumed and will use lots of water in your body.  The problem lies when the fiber gets stuck for example in the area of the esophagus, where it could potential cause the person to gag or worse, choke.  It is recommend drinking lots water when consuming the fibers.  It will depend what form is consumed that you should be concerned. 

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