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Family Aizaoaceae
Tetragonia expansa

Xin xi lan bo cai

Scientific names    Common names   
Spinacia oleracea Baguio spinach (Engl.) 
Tetragonia tetragonioides Espinadas (Tag.)  
Tetragonia expansa Murr. Espinacas (Span.)
  New Zealand spinach (Engl.)
  Xin xi lan bo cai (Chin.)

New Zealand spinach is an annual, spreading herb growing to 50 centimeters high. . Leaves are succulent, triangular to oval in shape, 3 to 6 centimeters long and 2.5 to 4.5 centimeters wide. The flowers are small and yellowish green.

Recent introduction to the Philippines.
Extensively cultivated in the Baguio area.

Parts utilized
Leaves, stems, tops and seeds.

Excellent source of vitamin C, E, K and nitrates.
Contains saponins, including oxalic acid.
Shoots contain much saponin.

Pleasant tasting.
Considered antiscorbutic, anticancerous.
Juice of leaves and stems considered tonic, diuretic, laxative, depurative.
Raw leaves as salad are digestive and cleansing of the GI tract; also calmative and appetizer.

A common vegetable.
Leaves and tops eaten as spinach.
Excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B.
Used for pulmonary and intestinal afflictions.
Gastrointestinal complaints and fatigue.
Used for scurvy and anemia.
Useful for suppressed menses, anthritis, intestinal catarrh, and diarrhea.
Seeds in infusion are laxative in dose of 30 grams in 1 liter of water.
In Brazil, used as an antiscorbutic and for treatment of pulmonary and intestinal afflictions.
Other possible benefits
Consumption of fresh leaves associated with decreased risk of stomach cancer.

Concerns !
May have hypoglycemic effects.
Formation of insoluble oxalate crystals of concern in patients with kidney damage.
Contains vitamin K and might alter coagulation therapy.

Anti-inflammatory: Of the 100 methanol extracts from spices studied, hop, stevia, cinamon, tumeric, mate, mint, New Zealand spinach, watercress, tomato and radish seedling showed marked inhibition of inflammatory activity induced by TPA in mice.

Microbial Contamination of Organic Vegetables: Study was an investigation on the microbiological quality of organic vegetables, and whether the use animal manure with liquid foliar biofertilizers resulted in microbial contamination.
Effects of Blanching, Freezing and Freeze-Storage on Shoots and Leaves: Study showed significant losses with blanching on total protein, L-ascorbic acid among others. Freezing for 3, 6, and 9 months did not have statistically significant effect on preservation of chemical components.


Last Update June 2011

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Inhibitory effect of edible plant extracts on 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced ear oedema in mice

Microbiological quality of organic vegetables produced in soil treated with different types of manure and mineral fertilizer / Braz. J. Microbiol. vol.37 no.4 São Paulo Oct./Dec. 2006 / doi: 10.1590/S1517-83822006000400025
The Effect of Blanching, Freezing and Freeze-Storage on Changes of Some Chemical Compounds Content in New Zealand Spinach / Monica Grzeszczuk et al / Vegetable Crops Research Bulletin • Volume 66, Volume 66 / 2007 / DOI 10.2478/v10032-007-0012-x

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