Known as the favorite energy boosting food of the famous cartoon character Popeye, water spinach is among the highest ranking healthiest foods in the world. Water spinach is a famous leafy green vegetable whose sweet and mucilaginous succulent leaves and stems are widely used in salads and stir-fries.
Aside from its culinary uses, the water spinach has a plethora of health benefits that is considered a universal magic potion for hundreds of years among the Southeastern Asian cultures, and now the rest of the world has caught on because of its ability to treat everything from hemorrhoids to insomnia.
Botanical Name and Family of the Water Spinach
Water spinach is botanically known as Ipomoea aquatica. It belongs to the Convolvulaceae or the Morning Glory family and has been referred to as kangkong, river spinach, water convolvulus and water morning glory.
What Is Water Spinach?
Water spinach is a tropical plant that is semi-aquatic in nature. It grows well in moist soil. It is widely found in East and Southeast Asia and used as a vegetable in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand and Chinese cuisine. This plant is classified as a noxious weed in the U.S.
Many of us would assume that the water spinach is related to the spinach vegetable, but it’s actually closely related to sweet potatoes.
Similar to other dark green vegetables, water spinach is considered a powerhouse of nutrients that benefit your body as well as your skin and brain.
Active Ingredients Found in Water Spinach
This green leafy herb contains the following nutrients, minerals and vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Amino Acid
Health Benefits of Water Spinach
Water spinach has been used in traditional Indian medicine as a carminative to deal with flatulence. It has been used in fever, inflammation, jaundice, liver complaints and to treat a chronic cough, cold and bronchitis.
Water spinach is also used for the following health benefits:
- Anti-aging benefits
- Boosts immunity
- Prevents heart disease
- Reduces ingestion and constipation
- Lowers cholesterol
- Treats anemia
Recent studies have shown that this herb is capable of reducing blood sugar levels in animals. Some studies have also found evidence of promising action against Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Use Water Leaf
The shoots and leaves of this herb are commonly used in cooking in the form of stir-fries; they may also be consumed raw. You can also grind the leaves in a mixer or grinder and place in a muslin sieve to drink its juice.
Side Effects of Water Leaf
Water spinach is considered safe for general use and there are no reported side effects. Even though there are no known side effects, more research still needs to be concluded. Nevertheless, make sure you talk to an herbal practitioner or doctor to ensure using water spinach would be beneficial for you.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Manvar MN, Desai T R. Phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Ipomoea aquatica. Indian J Med Sci 2013;67: 49-60