Spinach is a leaf vegetable.

botanical information:

    Botanical name: Spinacia oleracea

    Common name: spinach

    Use the botanical name when ordering seeds (bulbs, etc.) or when looking up information in the library. Common names vary by nation, culture, and region, and sometimes the same common name is applied to different plants.


    Origin: Spinach was first cultivated in Persia (now called Iran). The Chinese refer to spinach as the herb of Persia. Spinach was introduced into northern Africa through Syria and Arabia. In 1100 the Moors introduced spinach to Spain, where it spread through Europe. Spinach is now grown in most temperate regions of the world.

part used:

    Part Used (food): leaves

    Part Used (herb): Seeds, leaf, and the aboveground parts of the plant.

Information courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

nutritional information:

    Spinach is a source of protein.

    Spinach is a source of calcium, copper, iodine, and iron.

    Spinach has about twice the amount of iron per serving as other iron-rich green vegetables. Iron enters the body as either heme iron or nonheme iron. All of the iron in plants is nonheme iron, which absorbs into the body slowly. Mixing vitamin C with spinach can increase iron absorption. Only about 10% of the iron in spinach gets absorbed into the human body. Because spinach has a high levels of oxalate, it can actually remove iron from the body.

    Spinach has a great deal of calcium, but the human body can only absorb 5% of the calcium in spinach (as contrasted with being able to absorb half of the calcium from broccoli). The high oxalate content of spinach decreases the absorption of calcium. Oxalate can contribute to gout and kidney stones, especially if combined with excessive vitamin D.

    Fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and several vital antioxidants. Spinach is a source of folic acid (and was the source of the first purified form of folic acid). Boiling spinach destroys the folic acid. A half cup of spinach has about one half the recommended daily supply of beta carotene.


    Spinach is a food that increases sexual energy and enhances fertility.

    Eating a half-pound of strawberries or spinach has as much antioxidant effect as high doses of vitamin C, helping the body defuse oxygen radicals that can damage cells, as reported by Ronald L. Prior and Guochua Cao of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Women were fed juice made from strawberry and spinach extracts from 8 to 10 ounces of fresh produce. Drinking red wine increased the antioxidants circulating the blood by 15%. Drinking the strawberry or spinach juice or 1,250 milligrams of Vitamin C resulted in a 20% increase.

    Spinach helps keep the liver clean and healthy.

nutritional value per 1 oz (28.35 gm.):

    See also Chinese herbalism below for Chinese gender and Chinese flavor.


    Reason to choose organic:
    Spinach has the number eleven (11) highest pesticide load of 45 common fruits and vegetables studied in 2006 by the Environmental Working Group and is therefore a prime candidate for switching to organic. The EWA explains, “While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.”
    According to USDA and FDA tests on commercially grown foods collected between 2000 and 2005, spinach has a 70.0% (percentage) of samples tested with detectable pesticides, a 31.2% (percentage) of samples with two or more pesticides, a 1.1 average number of pesticides found in a sample, an average of 1.240 parts per million of all pesticides found, and 24 different pesticides found in use growing spinach. These toxic pesticides don’t apply to organic foods.


    Storage: Eat spinach within a week (seven days) of purchase.

    According to some jazz musicians, Popeye the Sailor Man eating spinach with a pipe was a metaphor for a guy smoking cannabis in order to win the love of a woman (Olive Oyl). Olive Oyl also stood for small family farmer and Bluto stood for big business.

spinach flowering

health care uses:

    Health Notice: Attempting to be an amateur doctor is potentially dangerous to your health. This web page is not professional medical advice. Nothing on this website should be considered as a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice. Persons should seek the advice of qualified health providers. Self-medication should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care. Please confirm all self-medication with your doctor or health care professional. See the article on healing for recommended healers.

Chinese herbalism:

    Chinese gender: yin (cool)

    Chinese flavor: sweet

external care:

    External skin care: Spinach whey in Rhonda Allison Skin Brightening Enzyme: “Exfoliates and lightens unwanted pigmentation. Enzyme mask is crucial for brightening complexion and lightening pigmentation, removing excess skin buildup, and adding brightening support. Softens and digests unwanted skin cells, and aids in the suppression of melanin. After cleansing apply thin layer and leave on skin for 20 minutes. May be used 1-3 times a week.” Rhonda Allison Skin Brightening Enzyme

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