Spinach (Palak) – Uses, Qualities, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Spinach (palak) is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable. It is used widely for culinary purposes and also possess medicinal value. As a vegetable, it is eaten raw or cooked. Tender leaves are used raw in salads. As a medicine, it is used to treat diabetes, urinary calculi, asthma, inflammation of liver, constipation etc. It is a good antioxidant and energy booster.
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Botanical Name – Spinacia oleracea
Family – Chenopodiaceae

Vernacular Name

Hindi Name – Paalak shaaka, pala
Kannada Name – Paalakya
Bengali Name – Paalang shaaka
Marathi Name – Palakh, Paalak
Gujarati Name – Paalakhani Bhaji
Tamil Name – Vasaielakirai, Pasalai
Telugu Name – Mathubucchali

Medicinal Qualities

Taste – slightly pungent, sweet
Veerya (potency) – cold
Bhedini – laxative
Guru – heavy to digest
Santarpana – nourishes
Ruksha – dry in nature (Ch. Su 27)
Effect on tridosha
Increases vata and kapha dosha
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According to Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, Palakya is slightly pungent and sweet in taste, It is wholesome to the body and cold in potency. It treats raktapitta and acts as grahi and is highly nourishing in nature.

Uses

Mada – intoxication
Shwasa – asthma
Rakta pitta – bleeding disorders

Palak Home Remedies

Sanskrit Verses

Traditional uses

Vatala – can increase Vata Dosha
Sheeta – coolant
Shleshmala – can increase Kapha Dosha
Bhedini – can cause laxative effect
Guru – heavy to digest, rich in nutrition

Indicated in
Mada – intoxication
Shwasa – respiratory disorders of Pitta origin
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Morphology, Distribution

Morphology
Spinacia oleracea is a glabrous green erect herb, growing up to 30 – 60 cm in height. Stem is smooth and succulent. Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-hastate in shape, lower leaves are long petioled. Flowers small, yellow green in color.

Distribution
Spinacia oleracea is known to be originated from south-western Asia. It is now found to be grown in most parts of the world.
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Wrong foods for Spinache

Green leafy vegetables should not be consumed along with milk, as per Ayurveda. Hence, avoid milk soon after taking Palak dishes.

Nutritional Value

Palak is a rich source of vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, iron, folate, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber (A)

Pharmacological Activity, Phytoconstituents

Pharmacological Activity
Spinacia oleracea possess Anthelmentic, Antioxidant, Hepatoprotective and anti cancer activity. (B)

Phytoconstituents
Spinach is a rich source of carotenoid (lutein, β-carotene and zeaxanthin), p-Coumaric acid, ascorbic acid, proteins, vitamins, minerals, vitamin B-complex, ascorbic acid, flavonoids and apocyanin, nitrogenous substances, hydrocarbons and iron sesqui-oxide. Seeds contain glycoprotein-bound hexosamine. Roots contain spirasaponins. It also contains patuletin, quercetin, saponin, catechol, sterols, oxalates and nitrates.
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Research

Anti-inflammatory activity – A study conducted to evaluate anti-inflammatory activity of methanolic aqueous fraction of Spinacia oleracea leaf have proved significant anti inflammatory activity.
Anti diabetic Activity – A research done to evaluate anti-diabetic activity of Spinacia oleracea leaves in normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats have found that ethanolic and aqueous extract of Spinacia oleraceae possess significant antihyperglycemic activity.
Hepatoprotective Activity – A study conducted to investigate hepatoprotective property of methanol extract of Spinacia oleracea against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity in rats have showed that it possesses significant antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Manoll Capsule – It is a natural anti-oxidant and immunity booster.
HiOra – K Toothpaste – Ayurvedic toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Sanskrit Synonyms, Categorization

Sanskrit Synonyms
Palakya, Vaastukaakaara
Churika, Chiritachada
Kshurapatrika, Suputra, Snigdhapatra
Graamina, Gramyavallabha

Classical Categorization
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Shaaka varga
Raja Nighantu – Moolakaadi varga
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Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Subkingdom – Tracheobionta
Superdivision – Spermatophyta
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Subclass – Caryophyllidae
Order – Caryophyllales
Family – Chenopodiaceae
Genus – Spinacia L.
Species – Spinacia oleracea L.
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