What is rice water good for and how is it made

As its name implies, rice water is the starchy liquid obtained after boiling or soaking rice.

For centuries in Southeast Asia, especially in China and Japan, many benefits have been attributed to it, especially on the skin and hair. But how effective are its properties? Here we will review it.

Rice is the seed of the plant oryza sativa (also known as Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (also known as African rice).

It is an essential food in many cuisines around the world. This is reflected in the fact that it is the second most produced cereal worldwide (around 740 million tons) behind corn (around 1 billion tons).

However, experts point out that because corn can be used for other purposes, rice can be considered the most important cereal for human consumption.

Rice grains contain between 75 and 80% starch, whose function is to provide energy in the form of calories. They also offer vitamins, especially B and E, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidant compounds.

This important nutritional quality can also be found in rice water, so its use is associated with different health benefits:

against diarrhea

Rice water is one of the oldest home remedies for diarrhoea, so this effect has been researched for years.

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In a study published in British Medical Journal a group of experts provided rice water to more than 1,300 patients with diarrhea.

The authors observed that it decreased by 36% after the first 24 hours. To take advantage of these properties, it was necessary to drink between 2 and 3 cups daily.

Experts point out that its therapeutic action is due to starch, which, when in contact with the intestinal mucosa, causes it to absorb liquids, thus reducing liquid stools.

Hair care

Historically, rice water was used as a natural hair conditioner, especially the Southeast Asian region.

According to natural medicine, this preparation is capable of reducing the superficial friction of the hair and increasing its elasticity.

For this, the hair should be washed normally with shampoo. After rinsing well, rice water is applied and light massages are performed to stimulate blood circulation and absorption of nutrients. It is left to act for 15 to 20 minutes, and is rinsed again with warm water.

Some studies point to the possibility that the benefits of rice water on hair are due to one of its substances, inositol, which has been linked to hair strengthening and a better cell renewal process.

However, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of this treatment.

Facial tonic

Due to its high concentration of antioxidants, minerals, and easy preparation, rice water has become a popular home beauty treatment.

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From traditional medicine it is ensured that using it regularly can reduce spots or marks on the skin, such as lines and wrinkles.

It can also act as a moisturizer and softener, thanks to the fact that it stimulates blood circulation, and as an anti-inflammatory, when used cold.

Although it is often recommended to reduce facial redness and irritation caused by rosacea or sun exposure, there is no evidence to support its effectiveness.

How to make rice water

Preparing rice water is very simple and there are different ways to do it:


For this method you only need to use one part rice to six parts water. Rinse the grains well and place them in a clean container, then add the water to cover.

Let them soak for half an hour, strain into a new container, and you’re ready to use. It is advisable to reserve the preparation in the fridge so that it lasts longer. After a week, you should throw it away.


Many say that the best way to take advantage of the properties of rice water is by fermenting it. This is because there is evidence indicating that fermented substances have a higher concentration of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are useful substances to combat cell damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that increase the risk of many conditions.

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To obtain fermented rice water you must repeat the steps to make it soak, but instead of letting the rice rest for half an hour, do it for two days. Then strain and deposit in a clean container.


For this option you should cook the rice as you normally do, but using twice the amount of water.

Once the rice is done, turn off the heat, but let it sit in the water for five more minutes before straining. With this, the aim is to obtain the characteristic whitish water.

When it cools you can use it without problems, remember to keep what is left in the fridge to be able to use it for longer.

To remind:

Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.

Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, but first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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