Chenopodium album is known by many common names such as White goosefoot, pigweed, lambsquaters and Bathua (Hindi), Chandan betu (Bengali), Parupukkirai (Tamil), Pappukura (Telugu) and Katu ayamoddakam (Malyalam). This leafy vegetable is actually a weed that grows in waste places and with other cultivated crops. It occurs throughout the tropical regions of world. Human are consuming its leaves and seeds for time immemorial. In several countries this plant is cultivated for its seeds. There are many medicinal uses of goosefoot and used as home remedies.
In India the leaves are consumed as leafy vegetable and cooked like any other Saag, curd bathua raita and Bathua paratha. The leaves are boiled and eaten. The raita and Paratha of Bathua leaves are also tasty preparation. The dried leaves of goosefoot are ground to make powder that can be added to regular flour. In one cup regular flour you can add one-fourth goosefoot powder. Bathua seeds are edible. They are very nutritious and contain whole set of essential amino acids.
KINGDOM – Plantae – plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants DIVISION- Tracheophyta – vascular plants Infradivision- Angiosperm – flowering plants, angiospermsCLASS- Magnoliopsida ORDER- Caryophyllales FAMILY- Amaranthaceae – pigweed, amaranthes GENUS- Chenopodium L. – goosefoot SPECIES – Chenopodium album L. – common lambsquarters, lambsquarters goosefoot, white goosefoot, lambsquarters
Bathua or Goosefoot Seeds
Bathua seeds are ground to make flour that is used to prepare bread. The seeds are also cooked as rice and can be eaten with Dal. Nutritionally Bathua seeds are superior to wheat, rice, corn, millet and Buckwheat. The seeds are also prepared as soup, porridge, cakes, fermented beverage (known as Soora in Shimla), alcoholic drink (Ghanti) etc. The seeds are given to animals and poultry as supplements.
Seeds are also used medicinally for improving appetite, or treating parasitic infestation, as aphrodisiac, laxative and for improving general health.
Nutritional Value of leaves & Seeds
In per hundred grams of edible Bathua leaves there is about: Water 84 grams, energy 44 kcal, carbohydrate 7g, fat 0.8 g, protein 4.3 g, fibre 2.1 g, iron 4g, Calcium 280 mg, Phosphorous 81 mg, Vitamin A 11, 300 IU, thiamine 0.15 mg, Riboflavin 0.4 mg, niacin 1.3 mg and Vitamin C 90 mg.
In per hundred grams seeds of cultivated variety there is about: Energy 400 kcal, Protein 16 g, fat 7 g, carbohydrate 66 g.
Health Benefits of Bathua or Goosefoot
Goosefoot or Bathua leaves and seeds are very nutritious. They are non-toxic and consumed all across the world for centuries. Like any other leafy vegetable they offer innumerable health benefits.
10 important health benefits are given below.
- Bathua leaves are very good source of high quality protein, nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamin c and vitamin A. Its vitamin A content is comparable to carrots. About 2 cups of leaves provides 14, 000-16, 000 units of vitamin A (daily requirement is about 5000 units) and 60-130 mg of vitamin C (daily requirement is 70mg)
- The leaves are rich in fibre and have laxative properties which cures constipation. Due to this property Bathua is also useful in piles.
- Bathua seeds are rich in amino acids. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of the body and performs several important function in body.
- Bathua leaves are good source of potassium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
- Bathua is good for heart. It is considered heart tonic.
- Bathua leaves are good for liver, spleen and gall bladder. You may drink 10 ml juice of leaves for keeping digestive system healthy.
- The juice of Bathua leaves purifies blood.
- Bathua improves haemoglobin level.
- Bathua leaves juice is a traditional medicine for intestinal parasites. For this purpose 10-15 ml juice of leaves is added with pinch of rock salt and is taken three times a day after meals.
- Bathua improves appetite. You may use leaves as Salad with tomato, lemon juice and pinch of salt.
Side-effects, interactions and Precautions
Bathua leaves contain significant amount of oxalic acids. Oxalates are in highest in leaves followed by flowers and stem. Oxalic acid has tendency to bind with calcium and this reduces availability of calcium.
- The seeds of plant are abortifacient. They can cause abortion. So do not eat in pregnancy.
- The plant has anti-fertility effect.