When David goes to Japan he always brings me something cool. Or somethings cool. I am so lucky and I love it! One of the best cool things from a recent trip is bamboo charcoal. Although we have lived in Japan I hadn't seen this amazing product before. It can be used in many different applications - from face towels that are touted to emit far infrared rays to improve blood circulation, to humidity and odor control, to water purification, and beyond. The product claims are more than interesting for sure. The white charcoal slices that he brought home are being put to use in our house as water purifiers and I am very happy with them (please note that no lab tests have been carried out on the water produced -consequently my happiness is based purely on taste - aesthetic and actual). According to all the research that I can find this white charcoal bamboo is practically magical in the abilities it possesses. Check this out:
- absorbs impurities and chlorine from the water
- studies done at Kyoto University show that far infrared rays emitted from the charcoal break the water molecule clusters into smaller, more organized groups creating an 'energy water' that improves health. (really? I guess...)
- alkalizes the water (from pH 7 to pH 7.3)
- apparently bamboo charcoal water contains more oxygen due to the presence of more negative ions.
- releases minerals (potassium, calcium, iron) to the water.
- bamboo has a microstructure that makes it a unique and efficient natural filter.
I can't substantiate these claims but I can say that the water tastes a lot better than tap water - and Calgary is supposed to have pretty good water! We drink a lot of water. It is the beverage of choice in our house. Although I may simply be picky I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur - laugh at me! And although I can't verify the 'science' I am willing to take a gamble that it is all true. Who wouldn't want it to be, after all?
As well as tasting better, a cool pitcher at the side of the sink looks a lot better than our old Brita did (as awesome as Brita is).
The care and feeding of your bamboo charcoal is quite simple.
1. Brush off the brand new charcoal slice with a soft brush.
2. Boil in tap water for 5 minutes. Let cool. Then dry.
3. Put one or two slices in the pitcher of your choice, let sit for 8 hours and enjoy.
4. Boil again once every week.
5. Replace after 3 months of use.
The used slices can be crushed and added to garden soil; it will aerate and revitalize the soil - holding and releasing moisture as needed along with minerals.
As if all this isn't enough, adding a slice to a pot of uncooked rice during the cooking process results in fluffier, better tasting rice that has all the advantages of 'devoid of chlorine, bad odor and toxic substances'. Seriously! we all need some.
It took a while for me to glean all of this from the Japanese usage pamphlet that came with the product - being as the way I 'read' Japanese is by looking at the accompanying cartoon-pictures. (David reads it well but is busy so it can take a while for me to tease it out of him.) At any rate, I love this stuff and love having a pretty pitcher of water by my sink. Sometimes I use the white pitcher, sometimes glass, and sometimes a special hammered aluminum one that Merin bought when we went to New York and carried all over Manhattan one afternoon and then home as carry-on.
(If you want some bamboo charcoal slices and are not planning a trip to Japan, just google it. There are several sources that supply by mail. I would advise the Japanese-made product over what comes out of China. Just my preference.)