Japanese ume plum has been used in Japanese and Chinese medicine. Although the current understanding of the active components is limited, it is suspected that Japanese ume plum contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage and may be able to reduce a person’s chances of getting cancer. The inhibition of carcinogen formation is another factor that make the plums beneficial to health, according to the "Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention."
Japanese ume plum juice concentrate was found to help improve the ability of blood flow through the body. Bainiku-ekisu, the fruit juice concentrate of Japanese ume plum was found to promote a healthy environment for the formation of smooth muscle cells in the heart in a study published in 2002 in “Life Sciences.” It was also found to protect heart cells from the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species are a natural byproduct of cellular metabolism that are highly reactive in the body and can be damaging to cells.
Human Influenza A
Japanese ume plum extract has also been found to protect against the flu, according to a study published in the “Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin” in 2005. However, it was only found to be protective against getting the flu before being exposed to the virus. It did not have an effect on reduction of flu-like symptoms after it was already contracted. The researchers suspect that the efficacy of the plum extract has to do with its lectin-like qualities, which allow it to bind to substances in the blood, preventing it from infecting its host.
Japanese ume plum has also been observed to reduce infection and inflammation in cases of people with chronic atrophic gastritis caused by helicobactor pylori infection. Helicobactor pylori is a bacterium that causes the inner lining of the stomach to become chronically inflamed, and causes ulcers. A study published in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in July 2010 found that less helicobactor pylori were present in the stomach through tissue biopsy in a sample of 68 adults.
- “Life Sciences”; Fruit-Juice Concentrate of Asian Plum Inhibits Growth Signals of Vascular Smooth Muscle cells Induced by Angiotensin II; Hirotoshi Utsunomiya et al.; Dec. 27, 2002
- Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin: In Vitro Inhibition of Human Influenza A Virus Infection by Fruit-Juice Concentrate of Japanese Plum (Prunus mume SIEB. et ZUCC)