Exploring the Therapeutic Wonders of Yunohana and Baifan: Traditional Healing Methods from Japan to China

The Japanese call it “Yunohana,” while in traditional Chinese medicine, it’s known as “Mingfan” or “Baifan.” Dr. He’s journey in Japan specifically took him to Beppu’s area with the most intense geothermal activity to observe its production method. This method, unchanged since the Edo period, involves mining, and it’s designated as an important intangible folk cultural property in Japan.

High-temperature steam erupts from the Earth’s core and is guided through stone-made channels or clay pipes to the flat ground bed about 40 centimeters below the “Yunohana” hut. Inside, horizontally and vertically arranged stone “lecterns” are set up, surrounded by small stones on the perimeter and top to maintain the temperature around 35°C. Iron- and aluminum-containing blue clay, about 10 centimeters thick, is spread on top. After several days, filamentous crystals, known as “Yunohana,” form.

As the steam rises through the stone channels in the hut, it cools and liquefies into water. Meanwhile, coexisting hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide gases oxidize into sulfuric acid. These sulfuric acids rise through capillaries to the elements such as iron and aluminum in the blue clay, forming sulfates and crystallizing on the surface.

Japanese research on the efficacy of “Yunohana” includes treating neuralgia, rheumatism, lumbago, shoulder pain, athlete’s foot, eczema, and prickly heat. Traditional Chinese medicine’s use of “Baifan” is even more extensive, with external applications for detoxification, insecticidal effects, and alleviating dampness and itching, while internal consumption can stop bleeding, diarrhea, dispel wind and phlegm, and cure prolonged diarrhea, rectal bleeding, menometrorrhagia, and seizures.

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