Jugyeom (Korean: 죽염), also known as bamboo salt, is a form of salt. It is prepared by packing bay salt in a thick bamboo stem, and baking it nine times on high temperature using pine firewood. This baking method transforms bay salt into what is considered a health food product. During the baking processes, the impurities in the bay salts are either removed or neutralized while its inorganic contents, such as calcium, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc are increased; allowing the finished product to contribute to ion balance.
A bamboo stem is filled with bay salt produced from the west coast, sealed with red clay, and baked in a kiln with pine tree firewood. The baked salt lumps, hardening after baking. It is taken out, crushed, and repacked in the bamboo stem for the next cycle. During baking the salt absorbs the bamboo constituents that bring a distinctive sweetness, which is called Gamrojung flavor. Baking darkens the salt. The ninth baking process uses the highest temperature, over 1,000℃. Afterwards the bamboo salt contains blue, yellow, red, white and black.
Well-baked bamboo salt, with a temperature above 1,500℃, is called “purple bamboo salt” because of its unique purple color, which indicates the best quality. While the quality of bamboo salt cannot be solely determined by color, its crystal structure and hardiness is definitive.
In Korean folk medicine, trace elements in the yellow clay and bamboo are thought to make this form of salt more healthy. Historically, jugyeom has been used as a digestive aid, styptic, disinfectant or dentifrice.
A study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine suggests that Purple Bamboo Salt may prevent the growth of oral cancers in mice.
Traditional use in disease treatment
According to The Universe and God's Medicine by Il-hoon (In-san) Kim in 1981, jugyeom can be used to treat:
- Inflammation: esophagus, stomach, spleen, duodenum, small and large Intestines, rectum, etc.
- Ulcer: stomach, duodenum, small and large Intestines, rectum, etc.
- Others: chronic dyspepsia, dyspeptic ailment attributed to eating meat, acute gastroenteritis (vomiting an diarrhea), food poisoning, indigestion, esophagus tumour, gastroptosis, mouth tumor, tongue tumor, skin (cutaneous) disease, eczema, athlete's foot, external wound, dysentery (bloody flux), dysentery with diarrhea (that becomes white with mucus), eye diseases and symptoms from pollution.
- Inflammation: pneumonia, bronchitis, nephritis, bladder, liver, meningitis, etc.
- Cancer: lung, bronchus, bladder, liver, ozena (empyema), tympanitis, gall bladder, etc.
- Others: heart disease, tuberculosis, cirrhosis, etc.
In the 2012 film Masquerade, bamboo salt caused a silver spoon in a bowl of soup to turn black, but before this explanation was discovered, the event caused the king to believe people were trying to poison him.
- Bitterman, Mark (2016). Bitterman's Craft Salt Cooking. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4494-8377-7. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
- John Shi, Chi-Tang Ho, Fereidoon Shahidi (ed) Asian functional foods, CRC Press, 2005 ISBN 0-8247-5855-2 pages 574-575
- Acton, Q. Ashton, ed. (2013). Issues in Food and Health (2013 ed.). Atlanta, Georgia: ScholarlyEditions. p. 558. ISBN 978-1-490-10944-2. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
- Kim, Hyung-Min; Ju, Jaehyun; Moon, Phil-Dong; Han, Na-Ra; Jeong, Hyun-Ja; Park, Kun-Young (2018). "13. Health Benefit Effects of Jukyeom (Bamboo Salt)". In Park, Kun-Young; Kwon, Dae Young; Lee, Ki Won; Park, Sunmin (eds.). Korean Functional Foods: Composition, Processing and Health Benefits. CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-3516-4369-6. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
- Zhao X, Deng X, Park KY, Qiu L, Pang L (2013). "Purple bamboo salt has anticancer activity in TCA8113 cells in vitro and preventive effects on buccal mucosa cancer in mice in vivo". Exp Ther Med. 5 (2): 549–554. doi:10.3892/etm.2012.848. PMC 3570125. PMID 23403521.
- In-san Kim. The Universe and God's Medicine.