Plums (Prunus domestica) are a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family, making them a close relative of apricots and peaches. Believed to have originated in western Asia, in Chinese mythology, plums symbolize wisdom, longevity and resurrection. Plums were found growing in North America and were one of the wild fruits consumed by Native American peoples. There are over 2,000 varieties and grow on every continent except Antarctica. The famed horticulturist, Luther Burbank developed the Santa Rosa plum, which now accounts for about one third of the domestic crop.

Plums are considered a tonic food for the brain, nerves and blood. Plums are antibacterial, antiviral, diuretic, and laxative. They have been used to treat liver disease, bronchitis, constipation, diabetes, flatulence, hemorrhoids, obesity, skin eruptions and tumors. Eating two plums daily improves digestion and helps curb bleeding gums. Plums help provide energy and are considered a tonic for the brain, nerves and blood. They are rich in vitamin C, B1, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. They do contain some oxalic acid, which if cooked, can inhibit calcium absorption, so are best consumed raw. According to Oriental medicine, because of the sour, liver stimulating properties, they help people that are emotionally repressed be more open.

Look for plums that are slightly soft. A prune, of
course is a dehydrated plum. Add plums or soaked pitted prunes to fruit salad, puddings, pies, jams and sauces and by themselves as a tangy snack. Those with ulcers and acute gastroenteritis should curb their intake of plums.

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Written by Brigitte Mars

Explore Wellness in 2021