Home Remedies


The following home remedies are based on the traditional oriental medicine of China and Japan. These remedies have been used for thousands of years to alleviate various imbalances caused by faulty diet or unhealthy lifestyle activities. They should be followed only after complete understanding of their uses. If there is any doubt as to whether one should use these remedies, please seek out an experienced macrobiotic counselor for proper education.


  Bancha Stem Tea

Use for strengthening the metabolism in all sicknesses. Use 1 tablespoon of tea to 1 quart of water, bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 4–5 minutes.


  Brown Rice Cream

Used in cases when a person in a weakened condition needs to be nourished and energized or when the digestive system is impaired. Dry-roast brown rice evenly until all the grains turn a yellowish color. To one part rice, add a small amount of sea salt and 3–6 parts water, then pressure cook for at least 2 hours. Squeeze out the creamy part of the cooked rice gruel through a sanitized cheesecloth. Eat with a small volume of condiment, such as umeboshi plum, gomasio (sesame salt), tekka, kelp, or other seaweed powder.


  Brown Rice Plaster

When the swelling of a boil or infection is not opened by a taro plaster, a rice plaster can be used to help reduce the fever around the infected area. Hand grind 70% cooked brown rice, 20% raw green leafy vegetables, and raw nori in a suribachi — the more grinding, the better. (If the mixture is very sticky, add water.) Apply the paste to the affected area. If the plaster begins to burn, remove it, since it is no longer effective. To remove, rinse with warm water to remove direct paste.


  Buckwheat Plaster

Draws retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body.


Mix buckwheat flour with enough hot water to form a hard, stiff dough. Apply in a 1/2-inch layer to the affected area; tie in place with a bandage or piece of cotton linen, and leave in place for up to 4 hours.


Special considerations for cancer cases: A buckwheat plaster should be applied in cases where a patient develops a swollen abdomen due to retention of fluid. If this fluid is surgically removed, the patient may feel better temporarily but may suddenly become much worse after several days. It is better to avoid such a drastic procedure.


This plaster can be applied anywhere on the body. In cases where a breast has been removed, for example, the surrounding lymph nodes, the neck, or, in some cases, the arm often become swollen after several months. To relieve this condition, apply ginger compresses to the swollen area for about 5 minutes, then apply a buckwheat plaster; replace every 4 hours. After removing the plaster, you may notice that fluid is coming out through the skin or that the swelling is starting to go down. A buckwheat plaster will usually eliminate the swelling after only several applications, or at most after two or three days.


  Burdock Tea (dried root)

Use for strengthening vitality. To 1 portion of fresh burdock shavings, add 10 times the amount of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer for 10 minutes.


  Carp Plaster

Reduces high fever, as in the case of pneumonia. Crush and mash a whole, live carp and mix with a small amount of whole-wheat flour. Spread this mixture onto oiled paper and apply to the chest. When treating pneumonia, drink 1 or 2 teaspoons of carp blood, only in the case where the carp has just been killed. Take the body temperature every half hour, and immediately remove the carp plaster when the temperature reaches normal.


  Carrot-Daikon Drink

To eliminate excessive fats and help dissolve hardening accumulation in the intestines. Grate 1 tablespoon of raw daikon and carrot. Cook in 2 cups of water for 5–8 minutes with a pinch of sea salt or 7–10 drops of tamari soy sauce.


  Daikon Radish Drink

Drink No. 1: May reduce a fever by inducing sweating. Mix 1/2 cup grated fresh daikon with 1 tablespoon of tamari soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger. Pour hot bancha tea over this mixture, stir, and drink while hot.



Drink No. 2: To induce urination. Use a piece of cheesecloth to squeeze the juice from the grated daikon. Mix 2 tablespoons of this juice with 6 tablespoons of hot water to which a pinch of sea salt has been added. Boil this mixture and drink only once a day. Do not use this preparation more than three consecutive days without proper supervision, and never use it without first boiling.


Drink No. 3: To help dissolve fat and mucus. In a teacup, place 1 tablespoon fresh grated daikon and a few drops of tamari soy sauce . Pour hot bancha tea over mixture and drink. It is most effective when taken just before sleeping. Do not use this drink longer than one week unless otherwise advised by an experienced macrobiotic counselor.


  Dandelion Root Tea

Strengthens the heart and small intestine function and increases vitality. One tablespoon of root to 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes.



Helps to prevent tooth problems, promotes a healthy condition in the mouth, and stops bleeding anywhere in the body by contracting expanded blood capillaries. Bake an eggplant, particularly the calix, or cap, until black. Crush into a powder and mix with 30–50% roasted sea salt. Use daily as a tooth powder or apply to any bleeding area (even inside the nostrils in case of nosebleed, by inserting squeezed, wet tissue dipped in dentie into the nostril).


  Dried Daikon Leaves

Used to warm the body and treat various disorders of the skin and female sex organs. Also helpful in drawing odors and excessive oils from the body. Dry fresh daikon leaves in the shade, away from direct sunlight, until they turn brown and brittle. (If daikon leaves are unavailable, turnip greens may be substituted.) Boil 4–5 bunches of the leaves in 4–5 quarts water until the water turns brown. Stir in a handful of sea salt and use in one of the following ways:



Dip cotton linen into the hot liquid and wring lightly. Apply to the affected area repeatedly, until the skin becomes completely red.



Women experiencing problems in their sexual organs should sit in a hot bath to which the daikon leaves liquid described above with the addition of 1 handful of sea salt has been added. The water should come to waist level, with the upper portion of the body covered with a towel. Remain in the water until the whole body becomes warm and sweating begins. This generally takes about 10 minutes. Repeat as needed, up to ten days. Following the bath, douche with warm bancha tea, a very small pinch of salt, and juice of half a lemon.


  Ginger Compress

Stimulates blood and body fluid circulation; helps loosen and dissolve stagnated toxic matter, cysts, tumors, etc.


Place a handful of grated ginger in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the ginger juice into a pot containing 1 gallon of hot water kept just below the boiling point, if you boil, you will lose the power of the ginger. Dip a towel into the ginger water (preferably a 100% cotton towel), wring it out tightly, and apply, very hot, directly to the area to be treated. A second, dry towel can be placed on top to reduce heat loss. Apply a fresh hot towel every 2–3 minutes until the skin becomes red.


Ginger compress


Special considerations for cancer cases: The ginger compress should be prepared in the usual manner. However, it should be applied for only a short time (3–5 minutes maximum), to activate circulation in the affected area, and should be followed immediately by a taro potato or potato plaster. If a ginger compress is applied repeatedly over an extended period, it may accelerate the growth of the cancer, particularly if it is a more yin variety. The ginger compress should be considered only as preparation for the taro plaster in cancer cases, not as an independent treatment, and applied for several minutes only. Please seek more specific recommendations from a qualified macrobiotic advisor.


  Ginger Sesame Oil

Activates the function of the capillaries, circulation, and nerve reactions. Also relieves aches and pains. Mix the juice of grated fresh ginger with an equal amount of sesame oil. Dip cotton linen into this mixture and rub briskly into the skin of the affected area. This is also helpful for headache, dandruff, and hair growth. 


  Grated Daikon

A digestive aid, especially for fatty, oily, heavy foods and animal food. Grate fresh daikon (red radish or turnip may be used if daikon is not available). Sprinkle with tamari soy sauce and eat about 1 tablespoon. You may also use a pinch of grated ginger.


  Green Magma Tea

Young barley-grass powder. Good for reducing and melting fats, cysts and tumors arising from animal foods. Pour hot water over 1–2 teaspoons and drink. Consult a qualified macrobiotic counselor for length of time to use.


  Kombu Tea

Good for strengthening the blood. 


Drink No. 1: Use one 3-inch strip of kombu to 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes.


Drink No. 2: Dry kombu in a 350° oven for 10–15 minutes or until crisp. Grate 1/2 teaspoon kombu into a cup and add hot water.


  Kuzu (Kudzu) Drink

Strengthens digestion, increases vitality, and relieves general fatigue. Dissolve a heaping teaspoon of kuzu powder in 2 teaspoons water and add to 1 cup cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to the simmering point, and stir constantly, until the liquid becomes a transparent gelatin. Stir in 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce and drink while hot.


  Lotus Root Plaster

Draws stagnated mucus from the sinuses, nose, throat, and bronchi. Mix grated fresh lotus root with 10–15% pastry flour and 5% grated fresh ginger. Spread a 1/2-inch layer onto cotton linen and apply the lotus root directly to the skin. Keep on for several hours or overnight and repeat daily for several days. A ginger compress can be applied before this application, to stimulate circulation and loosen mucus in the area being treated.


  Lotus Root Tea

To aid in coughs and dissolving mucus. Grate 1/2 cup fresh lotus root, squeeze the juice into a pot, and add a small amount of water. Cook for 8–10 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt and drink hot.


If using dried lotus root, cook in 1 cup of water for 12–15 minutes, add a pinch of sea salt or tamari soy sauce, and drink hot.


  Mugwort Tea

Good for ridding the body of worms and for jaundice. One tablespoon mugwort to 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 5–10 minutes. Use carefully, so as not to create constipation.


  Mustard Plaster

Stimulates blood and body fluid circulation and loosens stagnation. Add hot water to dry mustard powder and stir well. Spread this mixture onto a paper towel and sandwich between two thick cotton towels. Apply this “sandwich” to the skin area, leave on until the skin becomes red and warm, then remove. After removing, wipe off remaining mustard plaster from the skin with towels.


  Nachi Green Tea

To help dissolve and discharge animal fats and reduce high cholesterol levels. Place 1/2 teaspoon tea into the serving kettle. Pour 1 cup hot water over the tea and steep for 3–5 minutes. Strain and drink 1 cup per day.



Used to strengthen the heart and stimulate heartbeat and blood circulation. Crush a raw egg and mix with 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce. Drink slowly. Use only once a day and for no more than three days.


  Raw Brown Rice and Seeds

Will help eliminate worms of various types. Skip breakfast. Then, on an empty stomach, eat a handful of raw brown rice with half a handful of raw seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower, and another half handful of chopped raw onion, scallion, or garlic. Chew everything very well, and have your regular meal later in the day. Repeat for two to three days.


  Roasted Barley Tea

Good for melting animal fat from the body. Roast barley in a skillet, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until a fragrant aroma is detected. To 1 portion barley, add 10 times the amount of water . Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes. This is a very nice summer drink and may also aid in the reduction of fever.


  Roasted Rice Tea

Good for all sicknesses. Prepare using the same method as for roasted barley tea. This is also a good tea for reducing fever.


  Salt Bancha Tea

Used to loosen stagnation in the nasal cavity or to cleanse the vagina. Add enough salt to warm bancha tea (body temperature) to make it just a little less salty than sea water. Use the liquid to wash deep inside the nasal cavity through the nostrils or as a douche. Salt bancha tea can also be used as a wash for problems with the eyes, sore throat, and fatigue.


  Salt Pack

Used to warm any part of the body. For the relief of diarrhea, for example, apply the pack to the abdominal region. Roast salt in a dry pan until hot, then wrap in a thick cotton linen pillowcase or towel. Apply to the troubled area and change when the pack begins to cool.

Salt pack

  Salt Water

Cold salt water will contract the skin in the case of burns, while warm salt water can be used to clean the rectum, colon, and vagina. When the skin is damaged by fire, immediately soak the burned area in cold salt water until irritation disappears. Then apply vegetable oil to seal the wound from air. For constipation or mucus or fat accumulation in the rectum, colon, and vagina, use warm salt water (body temperature) as an enema or douche.


  Scallion, Onion, or Daikon Juice

Neutralizes the poison of a bee sting or insect bite. Cut either a scallion or daikon or their greens and squeeze out the juice. (If you cannot obtain these vegetables, red radish can be used.) Rub the juice thoroughly into the wound.


  Sesame Oil

Use to relieve stagnated bowels or to eliminate retained water. To induce the discharge of stagnated bowels, take 1–2 tablespoons raw sesame oil with 1/4 teaspoon ginger and tamari soy sauce on an empty stomach. To eliminate water retention in the eyes, put a drop or two of pure sesame oil (it is best to use dark sesame oil if available) in the eyes with an eyedropper, preferably before sleeping. Continue up to a week, until the eyes improve. Before using the sesame oil for this purpose, remove impurities by boiling it and then straining it through a sanitized cheesecloth.


  Shiitake Mushroom Tea

Used to relax an overly tense, stressful condition and help dissolve excessive animal fat. Soak a dried black shiitake mushroom cut in quarters. Cook in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes with a pinch of sea salt. Drink only 1/2 cup at a time.


  Tamari Bancha Tea

Neutralizes an acidic blood condition, promotes blood circulation, and relieves fatigue. Pour 1 cup hot bancha twig tea over 1–2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce. Stir and drink hot.


  Tofu Plaster

More effective than an ice pack to draw out fever. Squeeze the water from the tofu, mash it, then add 10–20% pastry flour and 5% grated ginger. Mix the ingredients and apply directly to the skin. Change every 2–3 hours, or sooner if plaster becomes very hot.


  Taro Potato (Albi) Plaster

Often used after a ginger compress to collect stagnated toxic matter and draw it out of the body. Peel off potato skin and grate the white interior. Mix with 5% grated fresh ginger. Spread this mixture in a 1/2- inch-thick layer onto fresh cotton linen and apply the taro side directly to the skin. Change every 4 hours.


Albi (taro) plaster


Taro potato can usually be obtained in most major cities in the U.S. and Canada, from Chinese, Armenian, or Puerto Rican grocery stores or natural food stores. The skin of this vegetable is brown and covered with “hair.” The taro potato is grown in Hawaii as well as the Orient. Smaller taro potatoes are the most effective for use in this plaster. If taro is not available, a preparation using regular potato can be substituted. While not as effective as taro, it will still produce a beneficial result. Mix 50–60% grated potato with 40–50% grated green leafy vegetables, mixing them together in a suribachi. Add enough wheat flour to make a paste and add 5% grated ginger. Apply as above.


Special considerations for cancer cases: The taro plaster has the effect of drawing cancerous toxins out of the body and is particularly effective in removing carbon and other minerals often contained in tumors. If, when the plaster is removed, the light-colored mixture has become dark or brown, or if the skin where the plaster was applied also takes on a dark color, this change indicates that excessive carbon and other elements are being discharged through the skin. This treatment will gradually reduce the size of the tumor.


If the patient feels chilly from the coolness of the plaster, a hot ginger compress, applied for 5 minutes while changing plasters, will help relieve this. If chill persists, roast sea salt in a skillet, wrap it in a towel, and place it on top of the plaster. Be careful not to let the patient become too hot from this salt application.


  Ume Extract

Good for neutralizing an acid or nauseous condition and diarrhea in the stomach. Pour hot water or bancha tea over 1/4 teaspoon of ume extract.


  Umeboshi Plum 

Neutralizes an acidic condition and relieves intestinal problems, including those caused by microorganisms. Take 1/2–1 umeboshi plum with 1 cup bancha tea. Or you may bake the whole plums. If you are using powder, add a tablespoon to 1 cup hot water.



Strengthens the blood and circulation through the regulation of digestion. Pour 1 cup bancha tea over the meat of 1/2–1 umeboshi plum and 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce. Stir and drink hot.


  Ume-Sho-Bancha with Ginger

Increases blood circulation. Same as above, but add 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger juice and pour 1 cup hot bancha tea over, stir, and drink.


  Ume-Sho-Kuzu (Kudzu) Drink

Strengthens digestion, revitalizes energy, and regulates the intestinal condition. Prepare the kuzu drink according to the instructions for Kuzu Drink and add the meat of 1/2–1 umeboshi plum. One-eighth teaspoon fresh grated ginger may also be added.