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Gorosoe Village
Painted Maple Saps

The saps from the painted maples, a broad-leaved kind of Aceraceae are called Painted Maple Saps.  The Painted Maple Saps are slightly sweet and cool and have subtle flavor.  It has almost no color, but is slightly translucent.  The saps contain sugar, iron, magnesium, manganese and Vitamins A, B and C being alkali with the acidity of pH 7.  Painted maples are broad-leaved tall trees of Aceraceae.  The shape of the leaves resemble that of Japanese maples, but the leaves are thinly divided into five cuts and become yellow in autumn.  The trees grow up to 20m in height and 2m in circumference in the moist lands of Korean mountains.  The saps are collected by making Y-shaped grooves with knives on the trunks of those with the circumferences bigger than 30cm, inserting a leaf and hanging a bottle to collect the saps that slide through the leaf.  These days, the trees are connected by plastic pipes to collect the saps into a single unit.  The saps drop from the trees in droplets and 3.6~9L of saps is collected from a tree.  A week around the start of the spring generates most saps, but today, they are collected from late Feb to mid Mar.  The saps do not come out when it is cloudy, snowy, rainy or windy.  The ideal weather for the collection is clear and no-windy day with the temperatures dropping to -2~3°C at nights and rising to 5~8°C during the day.  When the daytime temperature reaches above 12°C or drops below zero, the saps do not come out.  The reason why the saps flow out is because the stem experiences pressure change.  When the temperature drops at night, the tree trunk contracts to suck up the saps from the roots into the steps and when the temperature rises during the day, the water and air inside the tree trunk swells like a balloon.  When the tree bark is cut at this very time, the saps flow out.  Baegun Mountains of Gwangyang, Jeonnam first started to collect painted maple saps.  The following legend is descended in Baegun Mountains.  It was when National Priest Doseon, the initiator of Fengsui, was meditating in Baegun Mountains.  He tried very hard for a long period of time and finally achieved the nirvana.  However, when he tried to stand up, his knees were paralyzed from a long-time sitting.  When he grasped a tree branch to let himself up, he broke the branch.  The saps sprang from the broke branch and he drank it all.  Then he could start to move his knees again.  Since then, the efficacies of painted maple saps were widely introduced.  Another legend says that when Shinra and Baekjae were fighting in Jiri Mountains thousands of years ago, a soldier tasted the sweet and cool saps from a tree that was scared by an arrow.  When he gave it to wounded soldiers, they could relieve the thirst and recover faster.  Since then, they were used to heal the wounds of arrows or swords.  Painted maple saps never cause upset stomach and attract you as you drink more and more.  Those who drink much drink up to 18ℓ a day and for maximum effect, one should drink it for a week 18ℓ a day.  The saps are better when collected from thicker and older trees.  Saps from older trees have darker colors and stronger flavors.  Painted maple saps are good for stomach and intestine diseases, neuralgia, weak physical constitutions, diabetes, hemorrhoids, permanent lesions, skin diseases, urological diseases and many small infections of new mothers.  In particular, painted maples are called Good-for-Bones Tree in Chinese as they are extraordinarily good for neuralgia or arthritis.  It is also good to add other herbs and boil the sap or make wine or punch with the sap.  The instructions are as follows:


○ For neuralgia, add garlic and Pollack in the sap and boil it or chop Schizandra chinensis vines and them to the saps to boil it for good taste and fast relief.  

 ○ For stomach and intestine diseases, add same amounts of chopped mountain-ash, dried branches of European bird cherry trees, Acanthopanax sessiliflorus, thorny ash trees and Populus maximowiczii to the sap and boil it.  This is good for many diseases such as neuralgia, arthritis, lower backache and palsy.   

 ○ For neuralgia, beriberi and arthritis, add chopped Anhyranthis Bidentatae Radix, Chinese Pea Tree, Clematis berries and Trichosanthes kirilowii root to the saps and boil it.  

 ○ The collection process of painted maple saps is as follows:
 ① Make a hole on the tree bark with a drill.  
 ② Location of the hole: within 1m from the surface
 ③ Size of the hole: diameter 1.2cm or less and depth 1.5cm or less
 ④ Number of the holes: chest-high diameter 10cm or less – do not collect, chest-high diameter 10-30cm – one, chest-high diameter 30cm or bigger - two
 ⑤ Insert a hose or a silicone top (cork) in the hole for collection.  
 ⑥ Remove the hose or silicone top right after collecting and cover the hole with germicide such as Formalin or Dimethyl-4, so no bacteria can enter.  
 ⑦ The hose should be sanitarily managed and remove all wastes such as branches or glands after collecting.

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