|How the Media Boom Started, and How Kameyamado was Part of It.
Prior to spring 2002, nigari was thought of as nothing more than a coagulant for tofu. However, it all changed when a rumor started on Internet bulletin boards that nigari had some connection with the relief of hay fever symptoms, and the nigari specialist dealer Kameyamado was swamped with product orders and questions about nigari. We received and displayed on our web site a great many wonderful reports from customers who had actually used and benefited from nigari. By and by we took the ideas, experiences and FAQs coming to our website and made a pamphlet called “Nigari Communication”, which we bundled with our products. Nigari spread itself by word of mouth, and was also featured on TV and other mass media. And Kameyamado’s nigari caused ripples nationwide.
In January 2003 we published a book called “Life with Nigari, from Today” based on our small pamphlet, “Nigari Communication”. Since then we’ve been interviewed for various books and magazines about nigari as well as having our company appear in a great many other publications.
Kameyamado has from the beginning built itself as a company through the participation of our customers, and we will constantly strive to incorporate our customer’s ideas and suggestions into our products. With “Kameyamado is always by your side” as our catchphrase, we hope to support and enhance our customer’s health and lifestyles through the virtues of nigari.
|Excerpt from The Japan Times Online: Millions in quest for 'miracle cures' By Masami Ito
Nigari? Yes, this new face on the health-market block is now to be found in supermarkets and drugstores nationwide. Once only regarded as the additive that makes soymilk solidify into tofu, nigari is now regarded as every bit as beneficial as the tofu itself.
In general, there are two types of nigari. One is a powdered form principally composed of magnesium chloride; the other -- now widely available -- is a liquid form derived from the water left after sea salt has been extracted from saline. It is rich in minerals such as magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium chloride.
In Japan, tofu has been a staple food for centuries, but due to the long-standing Government Monopoly in Salt Law, people were not free to make salt. As a result, nigari did not become readily available until 1997, when the law was repealed. But even then, nigari remained off most people's radar.
"Nigari really took off after 'Omoikkiri Terebi' featured it in the spring of 2002, presenting it as being high in magnesium, which helps burn off fat and promotes the excretion of excessive fluids and body waste," says Tatsuya Kosaka, head of Nigari Kenkyu-jo (Nigari Research Institute).
"However," he cautioned, "drinking too much nigari will cause diarrhea, because the magnesium sulfate in it is also used in laxatives."
As well as appealing to weight- and digestion-conscious buyers, though, nigari's appeal is enhanced by the diverse ways in which it can be taken. For instance, a few drops in a glass of water, juice or coffee taken a couple of times a day is said to clean the body from the inside, while a few drops in miso soup, rice (before it is cooked) or stew will seemingly work just as well -- though too much and all you'll taste is salt. In addition, a cup of nigari poured into your bathtub may well (as it has for many) work wonders for rough, scuffy heels.
"It is difficult to generalize about the number of drops to take in a day," says Kosaka, "because the concentration of nigari differs from one maker to another. The ideal amount of our nigari products is three drops five times a day."
Nigari Kenkyu-jo claims that taking nigari bestows various medical benefits upon those with conditions such as hay fever, atopic dermatitis and, of course, constipation, since -- as Kosaka stresses -- nigari's main effects occur in the intestines. This, he explains, is because the human gut has naturally occurring "good" bacteria that aid digestion, such as lactobacillus bifidus, and harmful bacteria such as colon bacillus, that can cause bowel cancer. Hence, as nigari helps to clear out the intestines, the bad germs that thrive on festering, constipated material are expelled along with that material. Kosaka claims this strengthens the immune system and so helps protect the body from allergies, regular colds and even food poisoning.
"Nigari is not something you take to cure a disease," says Kosaka. "But as it helps strengthen the immune system it works to prevent illness."