Konjac

Botanical Name:Amorphophallus konjac
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Kingdom: Plantae
syn. A. rivieri; Japanese- konnyaku; Korean: – gonyak; Chinese- pinyin: ju ruò), also known as konjak, konjaku, devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam (though this name is also used for A. paeoniifolius), is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus.
Common Name: Devil’s Tongue, Voodoo Lily
Order: Alismatales
Tribe: Thomsonieae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Species: A. konjac

Habitat:It is native to warm subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia.

Description:It is a perennial plant, growing from a large corm up to 25 cm in diameter. The single leaf is up to 1.3 m across, bipinnate, and divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are produced on a spathe enclosed by a dark purple spadix up to 55 cm long.

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The corm of the konjac is often colloquially referred to as a yam, although it bears no marked relation to tubers of the family Dioscoreaceae.

Tuber about 10 in. across, flattish round. l. stalk 15 to 30 in. long, brownish green spotted white; blade large, 3-sect, ultimate segs. oblong-elliptic, cuspidate. Peduncle 2 ft. long. Spathe 8-12″ long, ovate, tube about 3″ long, pale green with greenish white spots, margin purplish, blade 8″ long, wide roundish-cordate, acute, green without, dark purple within, margin undulate.

It is very popular in Japan as a cooking supplement for soups and stew-like dishes. The tuber are raised and then cooked (usually cooking is also done on a commercial basis) or reduced to a substance somewhat stiffer than gelatin. The resultant material is pressed into blocks and sold like tofu in the grocery stores. The Japanese pronounce it cone-yuk. The name Amorphophallus is not generally associated with the product to the lay person.

The main substance in konjac is called Glucomannan which has a low caloric content but is rich in dietary fiber. Clinical study indicates the Glucomannan may be responsible for weight reduction and reducing cholesterol in those who have high cholesterol. It is eaten in Japan to clean the digestive tract of toxins.

Cultivation & Uses:
Konjac is grown in China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corms, used to create a flour and jelly of the same name. It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin.

In Japanese cuisine, konnyaku appears in dishes such as oden. It is typically mottled grey and firmer in consistency than most gelatins. It has very little taste; the common variety tastes vaguely like salt. It is valued more for its texture than flavor.

Ito konnyaku  is a type of Japanese food consisting of konjac cut into noodle-like strips. It is usually sold in plastic bags with accompanying water. It is often used in sukiyaki and oden. The name literally means “thread-konjac.”
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Japanese konnyaku jelly is made by mixing konnyaku flour with water and limewater. Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konnyaku is pale white. It is then boiled and cooled to solidify. Konnyaku made in noodle form is called shirataki  and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.

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Japanese historical novelist Ryotaro Shiba claims in a 1982 travelogue that konjac is consumed in parts of China’s Sichuan province; the corm is reportedly called moyu (??), and the jelly is called moyu doufu (????) or xue moyu (???).

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The dried corm of the konjac plant contains around 40% glucomannan gum. This polysaccharide makes konjac jelly highly viscous.

Konjac has almost no calories but is very high in fiber. Thus, it is often used as a diet food.

Fruit jelly
Konjac can also be made into a popular Asian fruit jelly snack, known in the U.S. as konjac candy, usually served in bite-sized plastic cups.

Perhaps due to several highly publicized deaths and near-deaths among children and elderly due to suffocation while eating konjac candy, there were FDA product warnings[1] in 2001 and subsequent recalls in the U.S. and Canada. Unlike gelatine and some other commonly used gelling agents, Konjac fruit jelly does not melt on its own in the mouth. The products that were then on the market formed a gel strong enough such that only chewing, but not tongue pressure or breathing pressure, could disintegrate the gel. The products also had to be sucked out of the miniature cup in which they were served and were small enough such that an inexperienced child could occasionally accidentally inhale them. Konjac fruit jelly was subsequently also banned in the European Union.

Some konjac jelly snacks now on the market have had their size increased so that they cannot be swallowed whole. The snacks usually have warning labels advising parents to make sure that their children chew the jelly thoroughly before swallowing. Japan’s largest manufacturer of konjac snacks, MannanLife, has temporarily stopped production of the jellies after it was revealed that a 21-month old Japanese boy had choked to death on a frozen MannanLife konjac jelly.[5] As of this incident, 17 children and elderly people have died from choking on konjac since 1995

Medicinal Uses:

Konjac is an all-natural, dietary source of 100% fiber obtained from the root of the Konjac plant in Asia.  And Konjac Root contains zero calories , so it’s an excellent addition to a sensible weight loss program.  Additionally, this herb has been shown to help reduce cholesterol, relieve constipation and regulate blood sugar in several clinical studies.
The main substance in konjac is called Glucomannan which has a low caloric content but is rich in dietary fiber. Clinical study indicates the Glucomannan may be responsible for weight reduction and reducing cholesterol in those who have high cholesterol. It is eaten in Japan to clean the digestive tract of toxins.

You may click to see :->Konjac Root (sold as Glucomannan)

Konjac Fibre Information

How to Grow Amorphophallus Konjac in Cold Climates

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjac
http://florawww.eeb.uconn.edu/198500882.html
http://www.viable-herbal.com/singles/herbs/s821.htm

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