Monday, 21 September 2015

The benefits and medical properties of Basella Alba ( Malabar Spinach, Bengali Cheera)

Basella Alba, commonly known as Vine Spinach, Malabar Spinach, Bengali Cheera  or Ceylon spinach is a tropical creeper plant with dark green broad leaves and fleshy purple or pink stems. It tastes similar to spinach, but has many more medicinal properties. Most of the people are unaware that this plant is a treasure chest of vitamins, minerals etc. This easy to cultivate plant is commonly found in the backyards and starts giving yield in less than 40 days. It has always been popular in Asian countries like India, China and Philippines, but now the value of this plant is being recognized in European and American countries and the succulent and tender leaves and stems are  used widely in cooking.  It is easy to cultivate and a small stem cutting planted in soil will achieve rapid growth in a short span, if proper irrigation is given.

Few month back, when I planted a small stem cutting in my garden, I never imagined it will grow so fast and will become a regular part of our daily meals. I love to add few leaves in my stir fries or grind them and add to my pasta. Fresh from the garden, without any trace of pesticide, they are packed with goodness of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

These heart shaped high fiber leaves  are not only easy to cook, but has very few calories with a decent protein content.  It is said to have more vitamin C than the normal spinach. It’s an excellent source of Iron, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, vitamin B6, Vitamin E, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, Thiamin and Niacin. The mucilage and roughage aids in smooth bowel movements and prevent adsorption of cholesterol. The antioxidant vitamin C, is inevitable for the healthy body functioning  as it increase our resistance against diseases. Another important property of Basella Alba is that it gives protection against Osteoporosis, as these leaves are enriched with calcium. Appropriate levels of Folate are very essential during pregnancy, so it is highly recommended that pregnant ladies include lot of these leaves in their daily diet. Optimum level of potassium will ensure that your blood pressure and heart beat level are maintained.

Laboratory experiments proved that feeding these leaves to rats and bulls increased their testosterone  levels, so Malabar Spinach may abet to counter male infertility. 

Another striking property is that chewing these leaves are known to expel the kidney stones. Numerous studies have proved that these leaves are capable of dissolving calcium oxalate crystals ( Most commonly found type of kidney stone). One more remarkable feature of this plant is it's anti inflammatory and anti fungal properties. It will be a wise decision to include these leaves as a part of your regular diet.

" Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food "

Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre


Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy . Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

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