Bot san day, kudzu or kuzu. Asian kitchen and healthy food lovers have certainly already come across this product. You can find small packages of this white, squishy, thin powder (or pearls) – the kuzu powder – in shops specialising in ecological food. Made from the roots of the kuzu plant, it is usually quite expensive. It thickens when mixed with warm liquid and is, therefore, an excellent additive to sauces, desserts and soups, just like a starch. But that is not its most important feature. Kudzu is above all considered an essential element of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, in which it is called „longevity powder” and is considered to be an excellent, versatile medicine. It is served in Vietnamese cafes as a refreshing drink, the powder dissolved in cold water (which is important, as it prevents the drink from thickening) with a drop of lime or grapefruit juice and sugar, depending on the local taste. But its action is much wider: most importantly, it alkalizes the organism. The Western diet – rich in dairy products, meat, sugar, simple carbohydrates, black coffee and tea or strong alcoholic drinks – acidifies our bodies, turning them into an ideal environment for the development of all kinds of diseases. Because we do not eat enough alkaline products, such as fruits and vegetables, our diet lacks balance. This is where the white Asian powder comes in handy.
The refreshing kuzu removes heat from an overheated stomach (acidifying products, overeating, alcohol – all these contain an aspect of heat, the excess of yang) and liver, detoxicate the body by helping it get rid of toxins. For this reason, it is an excellent remedy for alcohol poisoning. You should just incorporate a small glass of this white liquid into your menu on those heavy weekend mornings. It will also help you fight headaches, allergies and all kinds of discomfort caused by a feeling of excessive heat inside the body (spots, rashes, acne – these are also symptoms of heat). In Vietnam, apart from bot san day, you will also come across the more popular bot san – a powder made from cassava roots known as tapioca. Although both these products come from a similar plant, the one found in Japan – from which the actual kuzu is made – is said to have a better, stronger effect. I myself have a big stock of it in my cupboard. I dissolve two spoons of it in a glass of room temperature water add freshly squeezed lime juice and drink it first thing in the morning (especially in the hot weather, Summer, in the tropics).
2 tsp kudzu powder
1 cup water (room temperature)
juice of half lime
drop of honey/maple syrup (optionally)
Mix the kudzu with water, add lime juice and sweetener and drink in the morning before the breakfast or during the day to cool your body (I don’t recommend this drink for Winter because of those cooling properties).