Grown in parts of Asia, such as at the base of the Japanese Alps, konjac is a root vegetable. The use of konjac in traditional medicine and as a nutritious food dates back centuries.  More recently, the benefits of konjac for healthy, radiant skin–a longtime staple in Japanese skincare— have gone global.  But what is konjac? And what is konjac used for today?  Read on for all the answers you need to the question: what is konjac?

Konjac is a High Fiber Food

Konjac may also be called elephant yam or konjaku. It is a plant that has a starchy root, known as the corm, which resembles a large potato. The corm is very high in glucomannan, a soluble dietary fiber.  Konjac is used to make noodles, rice, flour, jelly, and dietary supplements. 

To date, the root has shown promise as a dietary supplement to help lose weight. The reason?  Dietary fiber is filling, helping to prevent overeating. Moreover, studies point to konjac as helpful in relieving constipation and reducing high cholesterol. Research further suggests that a combination of konjac and ginseng may also help to control diabetes. 

Traditional Medicine

Konjac has been used in traditional medicine in Japan, China, and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Specifically, a gel has been used to provide relief via detoxification from conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • Blood Disorders
  • Breast pain
  • Burns
  • Cough
  • Hernia
  • Tumors

What is Konjac Used for in the Beauty Industry?

The fibrous nature of the root, which become colorless, odorless, elastic sponges when dried, were originally used for bathing infants. The all-natural, gently exfoliative sponges boasted remarkable water retention and were naturally alkaline, preventing dry skin. 

It wasn’t long before the incredibly gentle cleansing and exfoliative benefits of sponges were recognized as good for adult skin as well.

Today, the answer to what is konjac used for in the beauty and skincare industry has one simple answer: to make sponges. 

Konjac sponges are vegan, sustainable, natural, and gentle. They are entirely free of preservatives and synthetic ingredients including additives, antibacterial agents, coloring, petroleum, pollutants, and toxins.  They are used to gently cleanse and exfoliate a variety of skin types and conditions, including:

  • Acne
  • Aging skin
  • Dry skin
  • Dull skin
  • Eczema
  • Inflammation
  • Rough Skin Texture 

Sponge Varieties

As the use of konjac sponges grew in popularity, organic farmers in Japan began infusing the sponges with a variety of all-natural oils, extracts, and powders to target specific skin concerns. Today, premium quality sponges are available in varieties, including:

  • Original—purely konjac
  • Charcoal – infused with charcoal powder
  • Green Tea – infused with green tea powder
  • Cherry Blossom – infused with cherry leaf extract
  • White peach – infused with peach leaf extract 
  • Yuzu – infused with yuzu powder
  • Wild mint – infused with Hakka (Japanese Mint) extract
  • Camellia – infused with Tsubaki (Camellia) extract

Where to Buy Authentic Japanese Konjac Sponges

The original Japanese konjac sponges are still grown at Yamamoto Farms in Saku City, Japan. They have been grown using traditional methods at the base of the Japanese Alps for more than 30 years. To purchase authentic Japanese konjac sponges, shop one of our approved retailers. If you’d like more information about private label and wholesale opportunities for your hotel, spa, skincare clinic, or other retail business, please send us a message.